ASU Dance presents a season focused on creativity and collaboration

October 13, 2021

The School of Music, Dance and Theatre’s dance program announces a return to live performances with the 2021-22 season. In selecting this season, faculty members focused on taking innovative approaches, presenting unique collaborations and providing opportunities for underrepresented artists. 

“We are actively working on building more equity in dance,” said Keith Thompson, associate professor and assistant director of dance in Arizona State University’s School of Music, Dance and Theatre. “Dance is shifting, and ASU is leading the way.” Woman dancing in a white dress as it twirls around her body. The 2021-22 ASU dance season focuses on original, collaborative works.

In “Emerging Artists I,” Kathy Luo will present her MFA dance project, “Out of the Blue.” Luo uses a unique approach to contemporary dance-making. She frequently uses collaborations with musicians to create compositions that fit the theme and mood of her movement. She credits the combination of her undergraduate training in China and her graduate education at ASU for her fluid, creative style. In “Emerging Artist,” Luo worked with ASU student pianist and composer Nicholas Turner. Six dancers and three musicians are part of the dance project, which gives audiences a close-up view of the work and allows them to participate in the experience more intimately than in traditional concert dance. 

Mary Fitzgerald, professor and artistic director of dance, said this creativity is a hallmark of students in the school.

“Our students are really remarkable,” she said. “They have a lot of beautiful ideas and insights to share as performers and creators.”

Students in all three areas will work together this fall to present the collaborative, multidisciplinary work “Healing Wars” by Herberger Institute Professor Liz Lerman. The production, which will be directed by Thompson, uses words, movement and music to tell the story of hurt and healing of war. 

“This was a way to bring us all together,” Fitzgerald said. “A lot of collaborations have been happening across the three areas for years.”

One way ASU dance has been collaborating with and involving the community is through the “Sol Series” community events. The School of Music, Dance and Theatre is thrilled to bring back the “Sol Power” festival in November. This three-day event is held on the Galvin Plaza and showcases Arizona’s hip-hop culture, including DJs, emcees, graffiti artists and dancers. Part of this year’s festival will be the dedication of Nelson Fine Arts Center Room 28 to honor Marcus White, assistant professor of dance at ASU and an artist committed to the Black radical tradition, who died unexpectedly in May 2020. In the spring, the series will continue with “Latin Sol,” a celebration of Latin dancing and culture. 

ASU dance emphasizes art-making and creativity in every aspect of the program. SpringDanceFest is a carefully curated program where audiences can experience outstanding faculty and student work, including premieres by guest artists. Students also have opportunities throughout the year to showcase their work at “Transitions,” undergraduate and graduate project presentations and informals. 

“Our curriculum is both expansive and inclusive at the graduate and undergraduate level,” said Karen Schupp, associate professor and assistant director of dance. “Our program is focused more on devising than slipping into a role.”

2021-22 dance season

“Emerging Artists I”
By Kathy Luo, MFA student          
7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 and 30
2 p.m. Oct. 31
Margaret Gisolo Dance Theatre 

“Healing Wars”
By Liz Lerman
Directed by Keith Thompson
Co-production with music, dance and theatre  
7:30 p.m. Nov. 5, 6, 12 and 13
2 p.m. Nov. 7 and 14
Galvin Playhouse Theatre 

“Sol Power”
Nov. 18-20
Galvin Plaza 

Undergraduate project presentations
7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 and 19
Margaret Gisolo Dance Studio Theatre

10:45 a.m. Dec. 3 and April 29
Margaret Gisolo Dance Theatre 

“Transitions Projects I”
7:30 p.m. Feb. 4
2 p.m. Feb. 5
Margaret Gisolo Dance Studio Theatre 

“Transitions Projects II”
7:30 p.m. Feb. 5
2 p.m. Feb. 6
Margaret Gisolo Dance Studio Theatre 

Graduate project presentations
7:30 p.m. Feb. 24 and 25
Margaret Gisolo Dance Studio Theatre

“Latin Sol” 
April 8-10
Bulldog Hall; Student Pavilion 

7:30 p.m. April 22 and 23
2 p.m. April 24
Galvin Playhouse Theatre

Tickets are available online three weeks in advance through the Herberger Institute box office. Ticket prices and venues vary. All ticket sales are online only. There will be no in-person sales at the events. Please purchase tickets in advance; guests who do not have a ticket at the door will be directed to purchase them online.

All attendees at performances are required to adhere to ASU policies, which are consistent with CDC guidelines for colleges and universities. Face coverings are required in School of Music, Dance and Theatre indoor performance spaces. University COVID-19 information can be found at

Lacy Chaffee

Media and communications coordinator, School of Music, Dance and Theatre


ASU’s Next-Gen Cybersecurity event elevates student voices for a conversation on digital trust

October 13, 2021

“At the root of cybersecurity is trust.” 

That powerful summary statement came from Hallie Schukai, an Arizona State University junior majoring in computer science. Her insights — along with the ideas, trends and tips surfaced by fellow student panelists — were shared at the University Technology Office’s (UTO) Next-Gen Cybersecurity event, a kickoff for ASU’s Think! Campaign during October’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month.  Screenshot of people in a Zoom chat. Download Full Image

The central theme that emerged was the importance of digital trust — the background of confidence that users have in their place and security in a virtual world — in the field of cybersecurity.

Rethinking the meaning of cybersecurity

ASU Chief Information Security and Digital Trust Officer Donna Kidwell led the conversation during the event, setting the stage for the perspective of keynote speaker Michael Palmer, chief information security officer at Hearst. His advice in the context of building trust laid the groundwork for conversations to come.

“I'd say the most important thing for me is building relationships,” Palmer said. “The other thing I would (advise) is really trying to be a good storyteller.”

The five-student panel, moderated by UTO Executive Director of Digital Trust Initiatives Timothy Summers, expressed the importance of telling one’s story. 

To start, the students offered their insight into the general perception of cybersecurity, since a true sense of what the field entails is a key foundation to any education on the topic.

“I thought cybersecurity was solely about hacking,” Schukai said, explaining that the reputation of cybersecurity has become extreme, depicted in an often “scary” way in the media.

ASU Chief Information Security and Digital Trust Officer Donna Kidwell.

“But a lot of people don’t think much about cybersecurity because they don’t think they’re worth targeting,” said Christopher Earles, who majors in computer science with a focus in cybersecurity.

This reveals a problem with equity, or a level playing field for a diverse set of people, in cybersecurity impact. 

“I used to think equity was present in the indiscriminate way people attack,” Earles said.

But his perspective changed when he saw particular demographics targeted in different ways.

Schukai added that many groups, such as the elderly and low-income people with little access to internet information, are particularly affected by phishing scams, which use fake links that appear to be legitimate communications from organizations like the IRS.

Building digital trust

So what are the ways in which these risks can be mitigated? Or as Schukai put it: “How can we log into Facebook or social media with trust in that link going to the verified website?”

“Transparency and trust are really valuable,” said Seong Jung, a junior majoring in applied computing with a focus in cybersecurity. Jung described a three-step approach that companies or institutions take only some or none of: They need to communicate security concerns, devise solutions and implement them.

From that organization side, transparency in data collection is also important.

“When we sign terms and conditions and read them, what do they actually say?” asked Claire Kenison, a major in business data analytics. “All these free services are not really free,” Kenison added, explaining that the selling and use of data is one of the defining problems in cybersecurity.

Individuals can also take steps to protect their information from attackers.

“I need to shout out that there’s free access to LastPass for everyone (at ASU),” said Harsh Tekwani, a junior majoring in computer information systems and business data analytics.

LastPass, a tool that manages passwords, was one of the recommendations for solid cybersecurity practices from the students. Another was the use of browsers with extensive security features; Schukai uses DuckDuckGo; Jung, Firefox.

Kenison also pointed out that many services let you log in to other sites or apps with the same information, so keeping them separate can remove the risk of a chain reaction of breaches. Earles supported that concept by saying it’s not a good idea to use the same password for everything.

Educating everyone on the value of cybersecurity

All of these ideas can cohere into the support of digital trust. Equity, organizational transparency and individual best practices, as identified by these students, are central to it. 

Going forward, education can help us achieve these goals.

“Consider who’s most vulnerable to these kinds of attacks,” Jung said, giving a call to action to his cybersecurity-oriented audience to have conversations with vulnerable groups about protecting their information.

Schukai gave a positive outlook to the future of cybersecurity, which often can be talked about in scary, negative terms: “Faith in good people, good organizations and good motivations keep it all spinning!”

Watch the student panel discussion

Check out the fireside chat with Donna Kidwell and Michael Palmer

Editorial specialist, University Technology Office