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The training in aerial arts utilizes the curriculum established by Rebekah Leach/Julianna Hane of Born to Fly Productions and is executed on lyra (hoop), trapeze, sling, silks (fabric), and corde lisse’ (rope) with specialty apparatuses introduced at the advanced level. Aerial Arts training enables students in the performing arts to infuse their theater and dance training with another physical form that borrows from and expands upon traditional dance and aerial performance. The training enhances body awareness, upper body strength, core engagement and use of the hamstring and gluteal muscles, and is focused on the transformation of aerial skills into an artistic medium that incorporates movement in the air as well as on the ground.
Students will learn foundational skills in a progressive format. DA 131 Intro to Aerial Arts concentrates on proper body alignment and engagement along with strength building utilizing four apparatuses: lyra, single point trapeze, sling, and silks. DA 231 Aerial Arts I is a more rigorous practice introducing complex, higher-level skills and the use of corde lisse’. Students in DA 331 Aerial Arts II examine aerial theory concepts such as Belay Theory, Beat Theory, Drop Theory, Wrap Theory, etc., and apply these concepts across all apparatuses. Students at the intermediate/advanced level use improvisation and problem solving to create additional approaches to moving on each apparatus. Proficiency and consistency of skill as well as instructor approval is required to move on to the next level aerial course and training.
Aerial work requires athleticism but also allows the student to demonstrate dynamic skills, shapes, and a seamless flow of movement. The development of skills and artistry in aerial arts across multi-apparatuses presents additional career opportunities for students post-graduation as numerous dance and entertainment companies are specifically looking for performers with aerial training. The aerial program offers classes from beginning to advanced levels, and students have the opportunity to perform choreographed aerial works during informal class showings, mainstage dance concerts, and the annual River Campus Summer Arts Festival.