April 18, 2012

Dancing in the air

A new type of dance opened in Harbach Theatre last Friday, April 13. Instead of limiting themselves to the ground, four dancers took to the air, creating movement high above the stage. The concert was the conclusion of the Aerial Dance Chicago’s week-long residency at Knox. The free performance, which lasted about an hour, had the audience gasping at aerial feats of skill.
Each of the six pieces performed featured one or two dancers from the company, with the solos choreographed by the individuals who danced them. Of the eight-member company, four dancers performed at Knox.
Much of the aerial dance style has echoes of ballet and lyrical movement qualities but relies almost entirely on acrobatic skills. For this performance, dancers flipped and twisted and tied themselves up in large silks hanging from the ceiling. They often hung suspended and relied on the fabric’s support as their limbs twisted and turned several feet above the stage floor.
One piece featured two female dancers on the same trapeze. In another, a woman hung by a bungee cord and used the stage floor for momentum to bound in every direction while still managing to move to the rhythm of the music. The final piece involved two women on and off a circular trapeze.
Knox students in attendance were clearly impressed by the dancing and happy to have the professional company present at Knox.
“It’s so empowering,” junior Kate LaRose said.
Senior Emily Berkson said, “I think it’s cool that they can do things with the apparatuses without them looking like tricks. They blend in with the movement so it looks flawless.”
Aerial Dance Chicago’s next show, “Garden of Souls,” will open in Chicago at the Ruth Page Center of the Arts on May 17.

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