With a dance craze sweeping the nation thanks to television programs like Fox's So You Think You Can Dance and ABC's Dancing With the Stars, the Studio West School of Dance is offering a chance for Tucsonans to witness a live ballroom-dance performance expo.
The third annual Summer Dance Expo is the result of an idea to provide a place for ballroom dance professionals and amateurs to be critiqued, says Linda Lowell, the manager of Studio West.
"Surrounding area dance schools, including schools from Phoenix, have the chance to perform in a competition-like atmosphere," Lowell says. "I hired Jenell Maranto, an American-style dance champion, to talk into a tape recorder (while watching the) performances."
Lowell says she plans to transcribe the recordings and give them to the dancers. The positive and negative feedback will help the dancers look at ways to change their routines for the better, she says.
Lowell says the expo will begin with the smooth dances: the foxtrot, waltz, tango, quick-step and the Viennese waltz.
"After lunch, we have a country-Western segment, and finally, the rhythm dances: salsa, samba, cha-cha and a lot of Latin dancing," Lowell says.
The professional and amateur students performing will include dancers of all ages, including three students in their 80s.
"The event is open to the public, and because of the new TV shows like Dancing With the Stars, people will recognize the styles of ballroom dance," Lowell says.
If time permits, expo organizers will offer general dancing, with participation from attendees. At the end of the day, local professionals will perform a special show, she says.
Spectator tickets are $5 for Summer Dance Expo 2007. For more information, call 747-9464, or visit summerdanceexpo.com.
For music connoisseur Gerald Massoud, there is seemingly no instrument he's unable to tackle. The UA music major is the leader of Studio Jazz, a smaller take on the UA Studio Jazz Ensemble, the music school's performance troupe.
Massoud began his music career playing the trumpet in middle school. His private high school's small jazz band provided him with the opportunity to learn the entire brass section. But the departure of the electric bass player encouraged Massoud to try his hand at yet another instrument.
"I went on to study bass at the University of North Texas," Massoud says.
He transferred to the UA to play the upright bass and got involved with the Jazz Ensemble, and then began Studio Jazz.
"We have been playing together for about two years," Massoud says.
Members of the small project, who have filtered in and out during the past two years, include pianist Will Parker and saxophonist Robert Gibboni, both UA students. The group performs at middle schools and high schools as part of the Opening Minds Through the Arts program. They also play gigs all over campus.
"We play at every event that is jazz-oriented at the UA," Massoud says. "The group plays jazz standards, like songs by Duke Ellington."
Massoud encourages those who attend their free concert Sunday to bring their instruments and play along.
"Live music is a state of mind. We feed off the audience, and they feed off of us," Massoud says. "We are just students trying to have fun."
The performance is free, and adjacent cafes and restaurants in Geronimo Plaza will provide outdoor seating. For more information, call 622-8613.
UA professor of philosophy Shaun Nichols tackles issues about free will and its relation to philosophy.
A number of philosophers claim that there is no free will, Nichols says. His recent endeavors with experimental philosophy and free will, among cognitive theories of imagination and cultural evolution, raise many questions about moral responsibility and whether free will actually exists.
Nichols received a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and holds a doctorate from Rutgers University. He has taught at the University of Utah and the College of Charleston in South Carolina. He's published a number of books and articles relating to philosophy and psychology.
"It seems plausible that the universe is determined, but if that is the case, it seems, then, that there is not enough free choice," Nichols says.
Nichols has been teaching at the UA for a year and began thoroughly researching--through experimental philosophy--how people interpret free will and how it affects their judgments. In the past year, he has performed experiments where people are asked to imagine a universe where scientists are correct about determinism--in other words, that there is no free will.
"It is emotionally upsetting to people when participants examine how they would treat one another if there were no such thing as free will," he says.
Nichols says that this lecture will be his first to a non-academic audience and that a discussion will be held shortly afterward.
Nichols' lecture is free and open to everybody. For more information, call 648-7231.
A group of three photographers, who happen to be neighbors, share a love for natural photography and the desert they live in.
Ian Fritz, Sky Jacobs and Bill Moeller collaborated for an exhibit that captures the natural world on film. This exhibit gives Fritz and the others the chance to showcase their talents and passion, he says.
"The three of us all live on the same street. We are all environmentalists who enjoy hiking and nature," Fritz says. "There is definitely a natural theme reflected in our photography."
Fritz says many of the photographs focus on landscapes, animals and the Southwest.
"Some people might be interested in some of the photographs of the saguaro fruit harvest that we shot in June," he says.
Fritz got his start in photography at a young age, following in his photographer father's footsteps. The aspiring artist took some photography classes, but is mostly self-taught and takes photographs as a hobby.
Fritz, Jacobs and Moeller say they have a close relationship with the Southwest, and are excited to present their work to Tucsonans who value nature.
"The exhibit is for anyone who appreciates and desires to participate in the natural world," Fritz says. "The photography is about finding something beautiful in our surroundings."
Those who attend the opening reception can meet the photographers. Admission is free, and the exhibit will be on display at Bentley's through Sept. 15. For more information, visit the photographers' Web sites: Fritz at ianfritz.com, Jacobs at skyjacobs.com and Moeller at new.photos.yahoo.com/nortonkingman.