Dance Genre Buzz: Aerial Dance


Dance Education Series

Genre Buzz – Aerial dance

Aerial modern dance is a sub-genre of modern dance first recognized in the United States in the 1970s. The choreography incorporates an apparatus often attached to the ceiling, allowing performers to explore space in three-dimensions. The ability to incorporate vertical, as well as horizontal movement paths, allows for innovations in choreography and movement vocabulary.

Aerial modern pieces, whether solo or ensemble, often involve partnering. The apparatus used has its own motion, which changes the way a dancer must move in response. The introduction of a new element changes the dancer’s balance, center, and orientation in space.

Aerial modern dancers gather annually at the “Aerial Dance Festival” in Boulder, Colorado since its inception in July 1999. Here, workshops, performances, and discussions bring together dancers, gymnasts, circus artists, and other aerial enthusiasts to showcase their own works and learn about new developments in technique and technology.

An early influence on aerial modern dance, Terry Sendgraff, is credited with inventing the “motivity” trapeze. Terry Sendgraff actively performed, choreographed and taught in the San Francisco Bay Area from the early ’70s until announcing her retirement in 2005, at the age of 70.

The motivity trapeze came about as a result of an exploration on a low-hung circus trapeze. The ropes twisted together, causing the apparatus to spin. By formalizing this, hooking both ropes to a single point of attachment, Ms. Sendgraff used the apparatus to spin, twist, as well as fly in a straight line and in a circle.

Another example of aerial modern dance are the site-specific works of Joanna Haigood of the Zaccho Dance Theatre, and Amelia Rudolph of “Project Bandaloop“. Rudolph’s work is based on careful research of the history, architecture and societal impact of found spaces, and the translation of these memories into the movements performed in that space.

Project Bandaloop combines rock-climbing with dance in performances that scale and/or descend canyons, rock walls, and tall buildings across the world. Video of their outdoor work is sometimes integrated into indoor performances, projected onto screens or trampolines behind the dancers on stage. Enjoy this video of their work.

View more dance videos on Video Dance TV.

View the Video Playlists of:

Site Specific Dance

Aerial Dance & Trapeze

There is no regular amateur communities of aerial dancers. Nevertheless some people do on suitable parties where there are appropriate objects for climbing like dance or climb poles or stages dances with elements of aerial dance. As these form of dances are dangerous and possibly destructive, such dances are nearly always forbidden. Other forms of aerial dance practised by amateurs are non-erotic tabledances where someone dances on multiple tables or similar objects without touching the ground or where the act of getting on or off the stage or table is part of the dance or dances performed on objects the dancer climbed on before.

Genre Buzz Source: Excerpts from Wikipedia

More about Dance Genre Buzz:

Each month, a new dance style is celebrated. View videos and learn about the heritage and history of different dance styles. Discover innovators of the dance, trends, variations, and current events for each dance genre featured.

Participate in Dance Genre Buzz:

Help Dance Parade New York support the dance community. Share information on each dance style we feature, including dance classes, events, competitions, and other productions, such as film and video productions. Teachers, participants, and enthusiasts are welcome to share their network and experience with our audience to support dance education, online and on the dance floor!

By, Dawn Paap

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One Response to “Dance Genre Buzz: Aerial Dance”


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