Aerial Dance Class to Present Spring Term Performance The performances will take place live and online on May 20 and 21 at 2:30 p.m.
The students in Washington and Lee University’s Spring Term course, Aerial Dance, will present two final performances for the W&L community on May 20 and 21 at 2:30 p.m. The performances will take place on the exterior wall of Wilson Hall, and they will be livestreamed for the general public.
W&L’s Spring Term is comprised of immersive four-week courses where students explore topics in depth through intensive daily study and practice. Aerial Dance is taught every four years by Jenefer Davies, professor of dance and author of the textbook “Aerial Dance: A Guide to Dance with Rope and Harness.” In the course, students explore dance in flight as they don full body harnesses and perform 50 feet above the ground. With walls as their dance floors, students are engaged in aerial technique that pushes the boundaries of traditional dance as it explores dance space that’s usually reserved for flocks of birds.
“Aerial dance is exciting not only because of its beauty and its challenging nature, but also because it is evolving, which means that the students contribute to the international research and development of the form,” Davies said.
Washington and Lee is one of the first colleges in the country to offer an academic program in aerial dance and, though silks and bungee courses are offered during fall and winter, Spring Term aerial dance is the jewel in the crown.
“We work five hours a day for four weeks,” Davies said. “That’s not a lot of time for the exploration and development of such a complex art form, but the students are dedicated and their excitement is palpable.”
Rehearsing in masks because of COVID-19 has made the physically demanding class even more challenging this term, but “the students are fearless and have risen to every challenge,” Davies said.
The class meets in the Johnson Theatre, which has been transformed so students can rehearse on the walls. The week of the show, professional rigging company ZFX will travel to Lexington to rig the rooftop of Wilson Hall, where the performance will take place.
Because of COVID-19, the live performance is open only to the university community, but the general public can view the performance live online at https://livestream.com/wlu.