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'Fall Forward!' to showcase ASU talent in dance, music and digital media

ASU's School of Film, Dance and Theatre kicks off their MainStage season

"Fall Forward!" dancers perform on Oct. 5, 2015. 

"Fall Forward!" dancers perform on Oct. 5, 2015. 

The ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre is set to kick off its 2016-17 MainStage season this Friday with “Fall Forward!”, an annual event that showcases the talents of ASU students and faculty in the fields of dance, music and digital media.

The event will include brand new performances and installations created by ASU faculty and local artists. Assistant director of dance Mary Fitzgerald said with all the combinations of different artistic mediums, “Fall Forward!” offers something for everyone.

“The unique combination of live music, dance, design and media in this program should appeal to a broad audience,” she said in a press release. “The pieces feature some of our most gifted student performers, who share the stage with local professional artists. The audience will have a full experience of physically charged dance, music, film and visual design.”

The works presented are infused with existential themes of time, space and humanity’s place in it. Performing in the choreographed piece "now." by clinical associate professor Melissa S. Rex, is junior dance student Nicky Shindler. She said the show will not only combine different mediums and themes, but also different styles of dance.

“We have a very diverse cast,” she said. “We have some urban dancers, we have some modern, ballet … our talent is very full. I’d say we’re a very creative group of students and faculty, which is awesome.”

Although the event will prominently feature dance works such as “Distensions of Empire” by associate research professional John Mitchell will also focus on music and visual art. Mitchell said his piece, which will include his group Thornapple, is experimental music with an emphasis on improvisation, along with randomly generated computer animation.

Mitchell said the themes of his work differ from the more existentially themed works, with his being more an explicit political commentary.

"'Distensions of Empire' comes out of a poem by Ezra Pound that has to do with relating the British Empire and the Roman Empire,” he said. “The end of the British Empire and the Roman Empire, how empires get spread out and then crumble. It causes me to consider the state of the American empire.” 

Tiffany Ana López Ph.D director of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, said that of all of the different artistic disciplines displayed in this year’s “Fall Forward!” much can be learned from the art of dance.

“I think we live in a world where often we don't get the opportunity to be present, and dance is something that allows you to be present with your feelings and respond to what you feel on stage,” she said. “Another reason is that we live in a world with a lot of crisis, and often that crisis has us feel a sense of disconnection from our own bodies and the social world, and dance is an incredibly important art form because it demands that you be present.”

“Fall Forward!” will be held at the Paul V. Galvin Playhouse on ASU’s Tempe campus on Sep. 30 and Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m and Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets for students are $8 and are available at Herberger Institute Box Office.

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