Fall Forward! celebrates dance with faculty, alumni, student works

Annual show from School of Film, Dance and Theatre kicks off season of events

Poster image with two dancers performing

Fall Forward! opens the School of Film, Dance and Theatre's fall season.


Each year the School of Film, Dance and Theatre kicks off its season of events with Fall Forward!, a dance production featuring a range of new works created by Arizona State University faculty and guests. This year’s Fall Forward! opens this Friday at the Paul V. Galvin Playhouse. 

“It’s really a celebration,” said Mary Fitzgerald, associate professor in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. “It’s an opportunity for us to share our research with the community and also for us to dance together.”

Fitzgerald, who was recently named a finalist for the 2018 Phoenix Mayor’s Arts Awards, teamed with dance faculty Eileen Standley and Rob Kaplan for a piece called “Ubiquitous.” 

Kaplan, a composer, multi-instrumentalist, professor and musician in dance, said the piece started when he was improvising with looping gadgets and guitar and exploring how “something that’s present is now the past, but it’s also present because I’m playing over it.”

He shared the idea with Fitzgerald and Standley, and they created “Ubiquitous.”

Taking her cue from the definition Siri gave for “ubiquitous,” Standley said the piece plays with “appearing, disappearing and being everywhere at the same time.”

Kaplan composed and is performing the music for the piece, and Fitzgerald and Standley will be dancing.

“The whole time Eileen and I are having this conversation with Rob,” Fitzgerald said. “But we’re also going to have a lot of cameo appearances from other faculty and … little surprise moments for the audiences.”

The show will be different with each performance.

“The nature of the technology is such that what gets caught in the loop is unique to that moment, and it’s never the same twice,” Kaplan said.

“The gaps — the places where we don’t know what’s going to happen — I think that’s some of our favorite places,” Standley said.

“Ubiquitous” is one of seven pieces that will be showcased at the Galvin Playhouse on ASU’s Tempe campus this weekend.

Other pieces include “ATMOS” by B-boy and multidisciplinary artist YNOT and a bachata dance choreographed by David Olarte, lecturer in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre.

“Bachata is a Dominican-style type of dance, and it is being fused and distressed and taken apart from using contemporary and modern techniques,” Olarte said. “Myself and my partner Carla (Leon), we’re really looking at just flipping the end of what bachata dance looks like onstage. We’re giving it our own twist and our own voice.”

The program also includes “Mass: Sacred and Profane,” an excerpt of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers” that is being presented by the School of Music and guest collaborators at ASU Gammage in November. 

Fitzgerald said she hopes audiences respond to the entire show with “delight and curiosity.”

“I want people to love dancing,” she said. “If we can make them want to dance, then I think we’ve been successful.”

Fall Forward!

When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28-29 and 2 p.m. Sept. 30.

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.

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