It’s been 8 long years since a flood destroyed University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium, which brought – among other things – topnotch ballet companies to Iowa. The new Hancher – built near the site of the old one but on higher ground, we’re promised – will be back in business next fall and dance fans, in particular, should be thrilled.
First up: The world premiere of a new “Nutcracker” on Dec. 1-4 danced by Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet. I don’t usually get psyched about ballet chestnuts but this is a new version that promises to be interesting, with choreography by of-the-moment Christopher Wheeldon (former New York City Ballet principal/choreographer) and sets by children’s author/illustrator Brian Selznick (“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” which was made in to the Oscar-winning movie “Hugo.”) Tickets go on sale for Hancher donors (I think I’m one of them….) on April 25 and everyone else on June 10. I’m eager to see what else Hancher has on tap!
Since 2008, Hancher has still operated with music and theater performances at alternative sites around Iowa City but dance performances, I gather, were harder to relocate – the original Hancher had a state-of-the-art dance floor that I’m assuming the new one will have as well.