If you’ve been waiting for a dance company to think outside the box, look no further than BANDALOOP––this company thinks in another dimension. The dancers perform “vertical dance,” a unique blend of modern dance with rappelling off high rise buildings that allows for creative use of aerial space and more free-flowing movement.
Legend holds that vertical dance was born in 1970, when Trisha Brown sent a man walking down the side of the building. As a style, vertical dance performance goes still relatively unknown, despite enjoying a healthy presence in the San Francisco bay area. Still, since 1991, BANDALOOP has performed for nearly half a million people.
Because BANDALOOP’s performance style necessitates a strong vertical structure, they search out interesting buildings on which to dance, with the aim of making each performance site-specific. Typical sites include atriums, museums, billboards, skyscrapers, and natural stone or granite cliffs. They have performed from Seoul to São Paulo and Verona to Vienna, and, notably, at Yosemite National Park.
Their most recent performances include showings in St. Louis, Rochester, and––most recently––Monterrey, Mexico for the Santa Lucia festival. Performance structure varies, but duets (such as “Two Point,” the centerpiece of their recent nautical-themed Harboring performance in San Francisco) are common, as are narrative pieces that relate stories via dance.
“They say what we do is death-defying,” says Amelia Rudolph, BANDALOOP’s founder, choreographer, and artistic director, of how audiences perceive aerial art. “I’d say it’s life-affirming.”
Thematically, their works aims to celebrate the vitality of the human experience and human communities while incorporating a sense of environmental awareness. Of course, the best way to experience moving art is to watch it in action––check out examples of BANDALOOP’s work in the video below, or catch them live at the ASU Gammage Gala on October 12th in Tempe, Arizona.