Each year students, faculty, staff and visiting artists in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre’s dance program create a number of works. This weekend, audiences have the chance to see a selection of some of the most memorable pieces from the 2017–18 season at the school’s SpringDanceFest production at the Paul V. Galvin Playhouse.
“We were really excited to use SpringDanceFest as a platform to highlight the breadth of performance and creativity in the dance area,” said Assistant Professor Marcus White, who is the co-artistic director for this year’s show with Professor of Practice Melissa Britt. “There are so many different types of bodies doing a variety of practices, and we wanted this annual event to celebrate dance at ASU.”
One way SpringDanceFest is showcasing the wide scope of dance at Arizona State University is through an expanded intermission. During intermission, a “Get Up and Dance Break” will give audiences a chance to watch, experience, and participate in interactive performances if they want.
“We were interested to find ways for people to move their bodies and to center the amazing work of some of our student-led initiatives,” White said.
Friday’s dance break, curated by the Urban Arts Club undergraduate organization, features live music and dancing. The Salsa Club and Devil Dance Sport bring social/partnership dances to SpringDanceFest on Saturday, and Sunday’s slot includes screenings of two dance films created by students.
In addition to spotlighting student clubs and the student dance films during the dance break, SpringDanceFest features student work as part of its regular program.
Tiffany Velazquez, an undergraduate dance major, choreographed a piece called “Nogitivity: Heartbreak – Falling in Love.”
“My piece is utilizing movement, spoken word, live singing, to gain greater understanding of the psyche’s shift from positive mindset to negative mindset,” said Velazquez, who used conversations with peers and her experience dealing with extreme negativity and finding positivity to create the piece. “I ask the question: Is maintaining a positive or negative mindset a choice?”
SpringDanceFest also showcases faculty work and pieces choreographed by guest artists.
“The faculty give a prime example of taking what you know, creating a personal connection, expanding on that knowledge, and molding the knowledge so others can relate as well,” Velazquez said. “And the guest artists that came this year were versatile and aimed to satisfy dance forms that students are passionate about.”
Karen Schupp, assistant director of dance in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, teams up with Heather Landes, director of the School of Music and a flute player, for a short and intimate work featuring dance and Astor Piazzola's "Tango Etude No. 4.” “Jazz Savory Suite,” choreographed by guest artist Melanie George, will be the first jazz work to be included in SpringDanceFest. George, the founder of the Jazz Is... Dance Project, visited ASU this semester for a short residency where she taught master classes and worked with dance students.
Velazquez said seeing dance work created by her peers and mentors this year and being a part of some of that work has helped her grow as an artist, and she’s excited to see memorable pieces from the season on the stage this weekend.
“The dance works I have had the opportunity of being a part of challenged my technique skill and equally challenged my artistic voice,” Velazquez said. “There is so much to gain from this program and you can see the artists here listening to their education.”
When: 7:30 p.m. April 20–21; 2 p.m., April 22
Where: Paul V. Galvin Playhouse, ASU's Tempe campus.
Admission: $16 for general admission; $12 for ASU faculty, staff and alumni; $12 for seniors; $8 for students. Purchase tickets online or call the Herberger Institute box office at 480-965-6447.