October 16, 2018

VSU Theatre and Dance Presents “Fall Dances” Oct. 18-21

"DIVERGE" will feature aerial silks choreography, a first for VSU Theatre and Dance.

Fall Dances 2

One piece in "DIVERGE" will explore the story of a girl struggling with mental illness.

Fall Dances 3

"PIHOS A Moving Biography" will feature movement inspired by football and combat as it tells the story of Pro Football Hall of Famer Pete Pihos.

VALDOSTA — From football-inspired movement to haunting dances to aerial silks choreography, Valdosta State University Theatre and Dance will enchant and inspire audiences when it presents “Fall Dances” October 18-21 in Sawyer Theatre.

Performed by VSU Repertory Dancers, “Fall Dances” is a dual program presented in alternating performances.

“DIVERGE,” a series of new dances choreographed by VSU dance professors Sarah Wildes Arnett and Geoffrey Reynolds, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 20.

“PIHOS A Moving Biography,” a documentary dance/film performance created by dance professor Melissa Pihos, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21. 

The pieces in “DIVERGE” encompass a wide range of styles — ballet, contemporary, tap, hip hop, jazz — and will take audiences through the full spectrum of emotions, the choreographers said.

“All the dances have a way of diverging from what’s expected,” Arnett said. “There’s a ballet piece set to rock music. Another piece is a duet I originally choreographed for a male and female that I’ve reworked for two females to convey a different dynamic and message. We are even integrating aerial silks and contemporary dance in a piece, which is a first for our program.”

Reynolds’ piece, a full narrative presented in three movements, tells the story of a girl struggling with mental illness who is haunted by her dreams of fear.

“Mental illness is something that we as a society are starting to recognize more,” he said. “We are allowing people time and space to deal with it. We’re a little more tolerant than we used to be. I hope this piece provides an escape while also giving the audience something they can relate to on a deeply personal level.” 

The other half of the program, “PIHOS A Moving Biography,” uniquely combines contemporary dance and film sequences to tell the cinematic story of Melissa Pihos’ father, Pete. Audiences will journey through Pete’s extraordinary life, from his father’s murder when Pete was just 14 years old, to his time fighting in World War II, where he stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, to his years playing for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1947 to 1958, to his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970, to his intense battle with Alzheimer’s disease, which ultimately claimed his life in 2011 when he was 87 years old.

“He was an amazing man,” said Pihos, who spent four years creating “PIHOS A Moving Biography” during her time in graduate school from 2007 to 2011. “He did things that most people would never survive. I wanted to honor his memories since he was losing them.

“I want audiences to see what Alzheimer’s really does to someone. You don’t really see what it looks like a lot of times when you’re on the outside. People keep it in the family, and you can feel really alone. I want people to become more aware of it. 

“I also hope the performance makes people think about their loved ones. It’s important to spend time with them and share memories with them while you still can.”

The performance will be accompanied by a silent auction featuring signed memorabilia from the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Jeremy Rice, Lawrence Taylor, and Carl Eller. A signed item from country star Brad Paisley will also be for sale. All proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

Individual tickets for “Fall Dances” are $17 for adults, $14 for senior citizens, $11 for children and non-VSU students, and free for all VSU students with a valid 1Card. Tickets for groups of 10 or more people at a single performance are $10 per person.

Tickets may be reserved by calling the VSU Theatre and Dance Box Office at (229) 333-5973 between the hours of 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday or by visiting www.ticketreturn.com 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The VSU Theatre and Dance Box Office is located on the first floor of the Fine Arts Building, at the intersection of Oak Street and Brookwood Drive, and may be reached by calling (229) 333-5973. Sawyer Theatre is located on the first floor. 

VSU Theatre and Dance is committed to fostering excellence within its theatre performance, theatre production, theatre management, musical theatre, and dance programs while also contributing to the lifelong learning and cultural development of the citizens of South Georgia, North Florida, and beyond. Its 2018-2019 performance season continues throughout the fall and spring semesters with “House of Desires,” “Tortoise vs. Hare 2: This Time It’s Personal,” “Intimate Apparel,” and “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”

Contact VSU Theatre and Dance at (229) 253-2914 to learn more. 

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