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Dance Annual celebrates collaboration, innovation

February 16, 2010

A spectacular climax to a year of passionate exploration, innovation and creativity, The Dance Annual 2010 commemorates new dance works that challenge audience perception and demonstrate some of the breadth of practice currently happening in the dance field.

 “The Dance Annual 2010 promises a 90-minute, fast-forward look at the power of dance to make us laugh, cry, think and re-examine the world we live in,” says Simon Dove, ASU Herberger Institute School of Dance director. “The concert connects a diverse range of dance making – from dance on screen to large-scale, high-tech production – from Tango to hip-hop.”

Curated by a panel of School of Dance faculty and students under Dove’s artistic leadership, the series brings together faculty, visiting artists, and graduate and undergraduate students, March 5–7 at the Paul V. Galvin Playhouse on the ASU Tempe campus.

 “This school is all about nurturing individual creativity, which generates some extraordinary and powerful new ideas,” Dove says. “Dance is a potent and direct form of communicating this new knowledge and these new ways of thinking about the world.”

It is this type of creative support that helped Rebecca Ferrell conceptualize Copy and Paste, her Dance Annual presentation, which samples 24 hours of television to explore the lingering stereotypes of women in the media. Ferrell chose her theme after examining her own life. While she currently is a second year MFA dance student, most of her friends her age are getting married, starting families and buying houses. Settling in after her move from Virginia to Arizona, she began watching more television and became interested in the different types of roles that women play.

“Todd A. Raviotta, my video director and editor and I, decided to capture 24 hours of TV and create a film of the assortment of clips,” Ferrell says. “I then created movement based on these roles and my struggles with what was important to me in my life. Creating Copy and Paste not only gave me an opportunity to choreograph a solo, but forced me to focus on an issue I was struggling with in a more genuine way.”

A number of Ferrell’s fellow dancers share her need to express an authentic voice in their works and demonstrate it thoughtfully in The Dance Annual 2010 program lineup. Two hundred pounds of flour is incorporated into School of Dance Professor Mary Fitzgerald’s performance, which examines the dignity and overwhelming nature of physical labor. Society’s love of animals and its desire for eating them is expressed in a powerful duet by Ashley Ramsey, a first-year MFA student. Third-year MFA student Sammy Stephens Jr., draws from his first love, hip-hop, in a piece that celebrates the power of the individual.

“Each piece is unique, and showcases a wide range of choreographic works,” Ferrell says. “From humorous pieces, to dances full of athleticism, to works about social and political issues, there is something for everyone to enjoy.”