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“Into the Wind” draws upon the expertise, creativity of many

U-M Dance Professor Jessica Fogel is no stranger to multifaceted, multidisciplinary collaborations, but when she first proposed her latest project called “Into the Wind,” even she did not anticipate it would include so many individuals, institutions and moving parts.

“‘Into the Wind’ has been one of the most wide-ranging and complex projects I’ve ever taken on in terms of the diversity of the collaborators and the cross-regional connections. There have been many strands to integrate,” Fogel said.

What started as a U-M effort involving faculty and students from several U-M departments, including the School of Music Theatre & Dance, the School of Natural Resources & Environment, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and LSA, grew to include partners from Grand Valley State University’s dance and natural resources departments, and members of the Muskegon, Michigan community.

The August 22 and 23 performances in Muskegon that featured dance students, alumni and faculty from the two universities, sought to do more than entertain.  They were designed by Fogel to inspire dialogue about wind as a source of energy.

The complexity of the production and the importance of the issue were what attracted some students to the project.

“It’s not just navel gazing or just history. It’s information that is relevant to now. Finding renewable energy sources is hugely important,” said Nola Smith, recent graduate from New York.

Shawn Bible, U-M alumnus and Grand Valley faculty member, said he was drawn to the project because of his experience working as a student with Fogel, and the many possibilities presented by creating wind-inspired choreography.

“Allowing my students to work closely on a project like “Into the Wind” is an enriching experience on all levels,” Bible said. “Being inspired through movement and directed by scientific research that could someday save our planet was a direct bridge between academia and life beyond.

“Engaging students in research that speaks to their lives as people inspires and sparks an imagination that I am thrilled to help guide.”