If you see people in the Dallas Arts District this weekend standing still, mouths agape, with their eyes cast to the skies, don’t worry.
Stop and look up with them at the aerial ballet of six dancers suspended from a 19-story building in an often-described death-defying yet life-affirming vertical dance.
On Thursday, on the east-facing wall of the Hall Arts Building, high above the Texas Sculpture Walk, aerial artists with the vertical dance performance group Bandaloop went step by step and floor by floor through one more rehearsal.
They will perform midday Friday at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Hall Arts Hotel and Residences and offer three full performances Saturday during the Dallas Arts District’s block party.
“The fly time. It's really amazing to be able to fly through the air,” said performer Roel Seeber, who has been a dancer with Bandaloop for nine years.
He says he hopes an audience gets from his performance what the performance always makes him feel.
"You know I hope that they get some of the joy that I get out of this. We all need that feeling of joy and freedom in our souls. And I hope we can bring that to people," he said.
"As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to do it, immediately,” said dancer Jessica McKee, who admits that her extensive dance training never really accounted for the fear of heights.
"When I first started aerial dance I was nervous to climb to the top of a ladder. And that has definitely changed,” she said.
Now, what was once scary is now in her words, addictive.
"It's the physical sensations I have in my dreams. Being able to fly. The ability to feel like you're flying in space is tremendous."
Bandaloop aerial artists have been flying for nearly three decades now. Their performances are staged in theaters, on buildings, on towers, and on mountainsides all over the world. In Yosemite National Park the dancers performed on a cliff face 2,500 feet in the air.
This weekend marks their second trip to Dallas, with founder and artistic director Amelia Rudolph still excited to share her original vision with audiences.
“A sense of joy, a sense of wonder,” Rudolph said. “A moment when the show is going on, they have a moment where they kind of can't believe what they're seeing, not in like a ‘Ripley’s Believe it or Not’ sort of way, but in a change of perspective sort of way. Like I didn't know dance could be that way, that kind of feeling.”
So, if this weekend you see six elegant artists suspended from the side of a 19-story building, don't be alarmed. You can call it death-defying. They call it life-affirming: one intricate death-defying, life-affirming movement at a time.
Bandaloop will perform three times Saturday during the Dallas Arts District block party which runs from 1 to 7 p.m. Bandaloop will perform at 3, 5, and 6 p.m.
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