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America's Got Talent: Fighting Gravity

Updated on October 16, 2012

Fighting Gravity

Fighting Gravity has been compared to breath taking vegas shows such as Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group.
Fighting Gravity has been compared to breath taking vegas shows such as Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group.
"The Awakening" featured 50 women expressing their struggle with drug addiction, abusive relationships, treatment and forgiveness through dance.
"The Awakening" featured 50 women expressing their struggle with drug addiction, abusive relationships, treatment and forgiveness through dance.

The Beginning

The original group was formed in early 2009 to compete for an annual university wide philanthropy talent show competition called Anchor Splash. The show was held in order to benefit an organization called “Service for Sight” which catered to visually impared people in the community. These frat boys from Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Virginia Tech, prove that America's Got Talent as they have struck an artistically unique balance between several performing arts: narrative dance, black light dance and the most obscure to Americans, Buranku or Japanese puppetry. For more fighting gravity links including video of their performances, and how they do it, scroll down, otherwise, keep reading.

Narrative dance is a pretty simple concept, basically telling a story through dance without the use of words. Ballet is probably the most easily recognized form. Many people don’t know that hula dancing actually is a form of narrative dance. Then again, most guys have a hard time keeping their eyes on the girl’s hands to begin with. The dancers use their hands to tell a story in a Polynesian version of sign language. Throughout Southeast Asia, the narrative dance is fairly common as a way for indigenous people to preserve their cultures with dances such as the tinikling dance on the Philippines telling the story of the tinikling bird that constantly evades traps set by farmers trying to protect their crops.

Blacklight Dance

Black light dancing has been a bit of craze in the states and in the more technologically advanced countries. Most people are at least a little familiar with the use of black light by Blue Man Group. It basically involves a dancer or dancers wearing bright or otherwise fluorescent colors and dancing various styles such as hip-hop and techno with embellishments such as glow sticks or fluorescent body paint.

If you like dance, you may be interested in checking this out

Showing the uncostumed body of a Bunraku puppet doll and how three puppeteers attend a single doll    The Society for International Cultural Relations, Tokyo, 1935
Showing the uncostumed body of a Bunraku puppet doll and how three puppeteers attend a single doll The Society for International Cultural Relations, Tokyo, 1935

How'd they do that?

Ok the most fascinating part of Fighting Gravity is the art of bunraku. Most people how know anything about Japanese theater are more familiar with kabuki. I was first exposed to bunraku when I lived in Japan some years ago. It’s really fascinating art wherein the puppet master can spend 40 years training and preparing to become the sensei, a term not just reserved for martial arts as it literally means “one who has gone before.” Often times, the entry level gakusei or student will spend his first ten years just learning to move the puppets feet. Each puppet on stage is controlled by a team of puppeteers. The puppeteers, all clad in black are accepted as not being part of the story are a simply ignored by the audience.

Fighting Gravity raises the standards as they increase their cohesion and showmenship wowing audiences yet again.  Thier next showing will be in the America's Got Talent Semi-finals. 

See below for their performances to date. 

NOTE:  In the last one, the act actually starts at 1:55 into the video in case you just can't wait.

More Fighting Gravity


Gregg Curtin, Travis Dalrymple, Phil DeVerna, Aaron Drew, Andy Farrell, Rob Grimm, Danny Kang, Brian Lusher, Shawn McDonough, Jordan Powers, Wes Schoeb, Caleb Sharp, Brett Sposa

Fighting Gravity: Official Webpage

Fighting Gravity: Facebook

Fighting Gravity: Bloopers

AnchorSplash 2009 Virginia Tech

Courtesy Clicks Welcome

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Depends on how thick the plastic is. I had the iron on high and conuted to 20 slowly each time. test it out. You may need more or less time. Let it cool some before you pull the paper off. if the paper isn't waxed enough (aspect of the paper), the paper will stick to the plastic and have to be torn off. My paper roll came from Home Depot $9

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      it better. I too say the same in our casosrolm when there is a disconnect!Recently I have adopted the Responsive Classroom' approach to teaching in our own casosrolm. The students have responded 100% with enthusiasm and energy. At the end of the day, a student asked, Why didn't we do math today? I explained to him that we did in fact do math' today; he didn't recognize the discovery learning as doing math' He simply said, Oh! Can we do it that way everyday? Learning (and teaching) is fun again!

    • Lance Crowe profile imageAUTHOR

      Lance Crowe 

      6 years ago


      That sounds like fun, you'll have to post telling everyone how it goes.

    • profile image

      Gert Huttinga 

      6 years ago

      Gonna try this out on a Celtic Halloween festival in Holland. The history about the Japanese art form of bunraku came in quite handy!

      Thnx for the article!

      Greetings from Holland

    • Lance Crowe profile imageAUTHOR

      Lance Crowe 

      8 years ago

      Thanks, Mango.

      Thanks for such kind words. You sound eloquent and well read, I look forward to checking out some of your hubs.

    • Mango Muse profile image

      Jen Dotter 

      8 years ago

      hm...very interesting indeed. You shed light on their raw talent and creativity, while subtley pointing out the relevance and vitality of art and music in the world. A job well done and great choice of topic. Enlightening. Thank you Mr. Crowe

      -Mango Muse

    • Lance Crowe profile imageAUTHOR

      Lance Crowe 

      8 years ago


      It seems like you're more entertained by my Random Musings category and that's cool. It really is a change of pace, which is why I write it. I don't know what I'll write about next so I won't give you my word one way or the other. Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great writing as always. I found this article to be lighthearted and a nice change of pace.I really liked how you explained each of the different mediums that were used to create the visually stunning performance. I was happily surprised to see that you mentioned the tinikling and the backstory of that dance. Will you be writing more articles similar to this in the future?


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