The University’s Aerial Arts and Acrobatics team performed their Fall Showcase Saturday, presenting a series of visually stunning individual and collaborative pieces in Alumnae Hall. Audience members cheered and applauded throughout the show, which was split into two acts.
Opening with a Shrek-themed performance by Elizabeth Clifton ’21, Emma Dennis-Knieriem ’21, Sean Garrett ’18 and AJ Marks ’22, the showcase continued with individual pieces — save one other group performance — for the duration of Act I. After the intermission, Act II resumed exhibiting the group’s remarkable display of strength and skill with an array of partner and individual pieces, before ending with two group pieces. Performers displayed their aerial expertise on the lyra — a ring suspended from the ceiling — silks and trapeze, along side floor acrobatics.
“Shades of Blue” by Alisa Caira ’22, a Herald opinions columnist, and “Flower Dance” by Claudia Yun GS both utilized contrasting lights in the second act, allowing for a striking transition between their performances. Following Caira’s blue lit stage, Yun’s piece was washed in pink and purple spotlights, opposing the more melancholic tones of Caira’s performance on the lyra. Crediting Charis Edwards ’21, the lighting and sound technician, for crafting the piece’s atmosphere, Yun said that she intended to have “something tropical and floral” to complement her melodic piece.
As a first-time performer, Yun described the process behind creating her trapeze performance: “It was actually a very quick decision. … I wrote down all the moves that I wanted to do, and then once I had the list, I tried to figure out which should go first and which should go after.” For Yun, deciding on her choreography preceded her music selection of “Flower Dance” by DJ Okawari. By contrast, Riki Fameli ’23, also a first-time performer, said that he found it easier to choose the music for his solo lyra performance first and then fine tune his choreography to the music’s rhythm.
This variation in the creative processes of first-time performers provides insight into the diversity of the approaches of the artists that the club has recruited this semester. Clifton, one of the directors of the Fall Showcase, remarked that they “brought in a lot of new people this year” as part of the club’s attempt to hold “a bigger production for the fall than we typically do.” Selling tickets to the performance, upgrading to a larger venue — Alumnae Hall instead of Ashamu Dance Studio — and holding an open audition, speak to the executive board’s determination to “go bigger.”
Clifton was impressed by the level of dedication all the performers showed this year, especially by the new recruits: “People seem very dedicated this semester … and willing to learn new things. We have a fair number of people with dance experience which is exciting because they can add that into their routines.”
Yael Braverman ’20, the executive board’s publicity chair, echoed Clifton’s sentiments as she remarked that the showcase “differed a lot” from previous years, and that the new initiative to expand the winter show is something “we hope to continue in the future.”
As a performer herself, Braverman explained how this show was different for her personally as well, as she “helped more with planning and organizing it (as well as performing) which made it a lot of fun. Before I was more excited for my routine but this time I was really very excited about everyone who went on.”
Clifton, too, expressed these sentiments: “its exciting when people are like ‘oh this isn’t going to work out’ and then they realize that … they’ve created something very beautiful.”
This effort was appreciated by the audience, who responded enthusiastically throughout the show and gave a standing ovation at its conclusion. Connor Kalāhiki ’23 described himself feeling “dumbfounded by the pure talent and skill that was showcased. … Each moment brought with it suspense, thrill and exaltation.”