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Herberger College Dance rocks the fall season with Afro-Caribbean concerts

ASU visiting artist Nora Chipaumire, of the New York dance company Urban Bush Women.
Photo by Bartlomiej Barczyk

October 11, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. - ASU Herberger College Dance will be the cultural hot spot in the nation this November as it hosts an international dance conference and two concerts melding Afro-Caribbean and contemporary dance performed by international artists.

Live drumming and audience participation will pump up the volume at the Herberger College when renowned Los Angeles dance troupe Viver Brasil, Nora Chipaumire of Brooklyn’s Urban Bush Women Dance Company, and Modesto Amegago of Agbe Nunya West African Drummers perform in Rhythms of Life: Drums and Dances from AfricaNov. 3-5. Arizona performers include the Cuban Connection, Liberian group Decontee and Sule Greg C. Wilson. Media artists Patricia Clark and Philip Mallory Jones will show their videos Através de mi ventanaand First World Order in the lobby and throughout the concert.

Viver Brasil is known for concerts that fuse passionate Afro-Brazilian dance, stunning costumes and exuberant live percussion and vocals. The Associated Press has called Chipaumire “a defiant boxer staring down an unseen enemy.”

“This concert is going to rock – you won’t be able to stop dancing,” says Pegge Vissicaro, interim dance chair and mastermind of the fall schedule. 

New Yorker Chipaumire has been at ASU teaching student dancers new choreography for another MainStage concert,Moving Ground, Nov. 16-19. A remarkable solo dancer who was born in Mutare, Zimbabwe, during the second war of liberation, Chipaumire creates provocative and politically relevant multimedia dance work. 

“Nora’s emotional and forceful choreography draws from many sources, including tribal, societal and modern technique,” says MainStage Dance artistic director Elina Mooney. “Moving Ground is our reaction to war and conflict. Addressing anger brings a desire for connection between people and the environment.”

Chipaumire has inspired a diverse concert of original choreography by students Francesco Caban, Cerrin Lathrop, Aaron McGloin and ASU faculty member Shouze Ma. 

Both concerts complement ASU’s hosting of the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD) 38th annual conference Nov. 2-5, convening international scholars and performers who examine the history and migration of dance cultures.

Among the line-up of lecturers is Allegra Fuller Snyder, daughter of pioneering design scientist Buckminster Fuller, and co-founder of the nation’s first dance ethnography program at UCLA. Steven Feld, a documentary sound artist best-known for his ecological recordings and work on the Planet Drum music project with the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart, also will speakConference day passes are available at

A CORD conference free event will feature Yaqui Pascola Merced Maldonado of Guadalupe. Maldonado is a ceremonial dancer and storyteller who will relay the tale of the sure-footed “chivato” (goat), which the Yaqui consider a metaphor for becoming a good dancer.

MainStage Dance concert tickets are $7-$20 and available through the Herberger College Box Office, 480-965-6447 or online at

Rhythms of Life: Drums and Dances from Africa
Nov. 3-4, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 5, 2 p.m. 
Dance Studio Theatre, PE East 132, 551 E. Orange St.

Moving Ground
Nov. 16-18, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 19, 2 p.m.
Dance Studio Theatre, PE East 132, 551 E. Orange St.

Congress on Research in Dance (CORD) 38th annual conference
Nov. 2-5, Arizona State University Tempe Campus
Day passes and details at:

Allegra Fuller Snyder Lecture
Nov. 3, 8:30-9:30 a.m., Memorial Union, Pima Room 218.

Steven Feld Lecture
Nov. 4, 9-10 a.m., Memorial Union, Pima Room 218.

Merced Maldonado Presentation
Yaqui Pascola dancer and storyteller, Nov. 3, 12:30 p.m., ASU Hayden Library

The Department of Dance is a division of the Herberger College of Fine Arts at Arizona State University. Dance Teachermagazine says “the top-notch dance program graduates dancers who aren’t merely accomplished technicians, but critical thinkers and socially conscious advocates of the art form as well.”  To learn more, visit

Media Contact:
Denise Tanguay