In this 2-hour workshop facilitated by dance artists Mary Fitzgerald and Jessica Rajko, participants will engage in various movement activities using the environment and natural surroundings as an impulse for creativity and trans-disciplinary composition. We will explore a multisensory approach to the creative process that draws upon sight, sound, proprioception, and touch to examine our relationship to the urban desert. Throughout this experience we will consider the following questions: How do we observe, engage with and draw inspiration from our surroundings? How do we compose place-based work that is reflective of and sensitive to that place? How does place influence an experience? How is place a multisensory experience?

Participants who take this workshop will come away with methods for:

  1. Engaging place as part of the creative process
  2. Developing new content inspired by urban desert environments
  3. Creating site-specific and site-adaptive work from a movement-based perspective
  4. Facilitating work in the area of creative placemaking.

Date: March 26 at 5-7 pm

Location: Nelson Fine Arts Center Plaza (outdoors), Arizona State University


5-5:20 pm: Brief introduction to the facilitators and discussion about current site dance practices and multisensory approaches to place-inspired composition.

5:20-5:30 pm: Simple movement warm-up (no prior experience necessary)

5:30:6:15 pm: Experiential exploration of site. This will involve simple movement activities that “document” the environment through the filter of particular senses. This process will serve as the impetus for creating short compositions with partners.

6:15-6:45 pm: Brief sharing of work.

6:45-7:00 pm: Closing discussion about questions that emerge and possible applications of this process to other disciplines.


No fee is required to participate in this workshop.

Please register by emailing Mary Fitzgerald  or Jessica Rajko by March 25, 2015.

Space is limited to 25 participants.


MARY FITZGERALD is a dance artist and educator whose creative work includes choreography (with and without interactive media), socially engaged arts practices, and dance film. She was a member of Kei Takei’s Moving Earth for nearly ten years, performing and teaching internationally. She has been a guest artist for numerous professional companies and dance programs in the U.S and abroad, and her choreography has received funding from the Ministry of Culture in Mexico, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Fitzgerald is a winner of the 2005 Arizona Choreography Competition, and received an Artists Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts in 2006. For the past 16 years she has been active as a socially engaged arts practitioner, partnering with youth organizations throughout the Phoenix area. These partnerships have been recognized with the President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness and received funding from Dance/USA, ASU/Motorola, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

JESSICA RAJKO an interdisciplinary artist whose work integrates dance-based movement practices with interaction design. She has collaborated with artists such as Mary Fitzgerald, David Therrien and Casey Farina and performed in work by Ashleigh Leite, Nora Chipaumire and Charlotte Boye-Christensen. She is the co-founder and co-director of urbanSTEW (, a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and expand the relevance of digital arts in the community. As part of urbanSTEW, Rajko has developed artist workshops, curated arts festivals and created interactive installation and performance work. Rajko received her MFA in Dance and Interdisciplinary Digital Media at Arizona State University in 2009 and her BA in Dance and Psychology at Hope College in 2005.

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