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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Soaring to Minnesota State University, Mankato

Acclaimed percussive dance "project" set for MSU, Mankato's Ted Paul Theatre.

By Tanner Kent, Mankato Free Press

The Flying Foot Forum — a percussive dance company whose work has been highly acclaimed nationwide since its found­ing in 1991 — is perform­ing at Minnesota State University on Wednesday.

The performance is called “An Evening of Percussive Dance and Percussion,” and is a stripped- down version of the company’s typically grandiose productions.

Instead, the performance is part of Flying Foot’s “Percussion Project.”

In “Percussion Project,” the company takes a new and unusual approach to the idea of percussive dance as performance, music and the­ater.

Three performers and guest artist Mary Ellen Childs make all the percus­sion themselves, through foot-stomping, tapping, slap­ping and movement.

The event is described as “an evening of work that is more intimate than most of the company's work, paring down to three performers, a sleek, elegant, bare bones style, and an almost purely abstract concept.”

Since its founding by Joe Chvala, the Flying Foot Forum has created numer­ous original percussive works that have toured both nationally and international­ly from New York City to Paris to Russia. The mission of the Flying Foot Forum is to re-imagine the potential of all forms of percussive dance and percussion and explore their full range of dramatic and musical possi­bilities.

While most percussive dance companies concen­trate on one or two tradi­tional forms of percussive dance, the contribution of the Flying Foot Forum is its dedication to expanding the definition and the applica­tions of percussive dance.

The company creates new hybrid dances using them to explore ideas and narrative material. Through its forum of percussive arts, they have found that percussive dance and percussion are versatile, malleable and expressive art forms that are equally potent as the main focus of a work or as one element in an inter- disciplinary collabo­ration.

This idea has led the company into a range of work that has mixed percus­sive dance with theater, video, music and other per­forming arts. Historically, they have created a wide range of pieces that deal with universal ideas and issues, creating multi­faceted characters, while telling unusual tales in new ways. In recent years, the company has concentrated on artistic and choreograph­ic collaborations.

To view the entire story or to read more local and area news, visit the Mankato Free Press website at 

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