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Press Releases Modern World Collides with Nordic Lore in Walker Art Center’s Commission/World Premiere of Between the Fire and Ice (Mjollnir II) by Joe Chvala and The Flying Foot Forum with Special Guest Ruth MacKenzie

“Fierce, exhilarating dancemaking.” —Mike Steele, Star Tribune

The intricately layered percussive footwork of the Flying Foot Forum, the driving industrial rhythms originally created by Savage Aural Hotbed, the unearthly vocals of Ruth MacKenzie, and live music performed by Peter O’Gorman and Eric Jensen stir up a rich and resounding theatrical brew. A reworking and expansion of the Flying Foot Forum’s 1995 signature work Mjøllnir, Between the Fire and Ice is more timely than ever. Between the Fire and Ice will be performed on Saturday, December 10, 8 pm; Sunday, December 11, 2 and 7 pm; and Thursday–Saturday, December 15–17, 8 pm, in the Walker Art Center’s William and Nadine McGuire Theater. Grounded in ancient Nordic and Teutonic lore, it visits a subconscious realm where our modern world collides with pagan antiquity. This powerful explosion of mythic archetypes and darkly spectacular images addresses issues of survival, greed, and global imbalance. Contains adult content and may not be suitable for young children.

Joe Chvala is the founder and artistic director of the Flying Foot Forum. He has spent most of his career based in New York City, Gothenburg Sweden, and since 1990, Minneapolis. During this time, he has worked as a director, choreographer, writer, composer, performer, designer, and teacher for opera companies, experimental and non-experimental theater companies, concert dance venues, performing arts academies, and universities. The range of Chvala’s work has been described as “somewhere between Sammy Davis, Jr. and Samuel Beckett” and has earned him such titles as “Fred Astaire on acid” and “the Agnes DeMille of tap.”

Chvala founded the Flying Foot Forum in 1991. Since its inception, it has been one of the most prolific dance companies in the Twin Cities, gaining recognition from the local, national, and international arts community. Over the years, the company has created numerous original percussive works that have toured from New York to Paris and from the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival to Little Falls, Minnesota, meeting with sold-out houses, standing ovations, and rave reviews.

In addition to the many works he has choreographed for Flying Foot Forum, Chvala has choreographed and directed for a variety of theater and dance companies including the Ordway Music Theater in St. Paul, the Minnesota Opera, The Guthrie Theater, The Children’s Theatre Company, Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, Chanhassen Dinner Theaters, Park Square Theatre, the Walker Art Center, and Zenon Dance Company.

Chvala has held the Cowles Chair in the Dance Department of the University of Minnesota four times and is currently a member of its adjunct faculty. He has received numerous choreographic and interdisciplinary fellowships and grants from such organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts Minnesota, the Minnesota Dance Alliance, and the McKnight Foundation. He is also the recipient of Ivey and Sage awards for theater and dance.

Ruth MacKenzie is a singer and composer whose recent works include presenting fairy tales and myths for the stage using music, dance, and narrative. Her musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen for The Children’s Theatre Company was the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ top choice for theater plays in 2002 and part of the season in which the theater won the Tony Award for Best Regional Theater. Kalevala: Dream of the Salmon Maiden, an award-winning production which she created, composed, and performed, was produced by the Guthrie Theater. Most recently she was the composer for The Children’s Theatre Company’s Hansel and Gretel, and composer/performer for Ragamala Dance Theater’s Bhakti. As a folk and blues singer, she has performed throughout the United States and Europe. MacKenzie has received many awards for her work, including the 2004 McKnight Fellowship for Artists in Composition.

Supported with funds from the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund and the Doris Duke Fund for Jazz and Dance.

Supported in part with funds from The McKnight Foundation, the Target Foundation, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) from an appropriation by the Minnesota Legislature, and John and Sage Cowles.

Tickets to Between the Fire and Ice are $22 ($18 Walker members) and are available by contacting the Walker Art Center box office at 612.375.7600 or walkerart.org/tickets.

_Between the Fire and ice (Mjøllnir II)_Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum

Photo: Ed Bock

Between the Fire and ice (Mjøllnir II) Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum

Photo: Warwick Green