Project Bandaloop at Orange County Pergorming Arts Center
When I think about dancing I think about performers that will move around, spin, freeze, elegantly turn and jump so as to give the impression they are flying. But when performers literally bring dance to new heights, I cannot do anything else but wonder how does this feel. Project Bandaloop are those who make you wonder about this, as they are those who very seldom perform on classical theater stages, preferring to bring their performances in high places that offer amazing settings for their routines.
After performing on Yosemite’s El Capitan, a Norwegian fjord, a rock face in the Italian Dolomites and the wall of the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, Project Bandaloop bring their dances onto more common places, as the Orange Counting Performing Arts Center is. Here, they are presenting until Saturday their newest work, the world premiere of “IdEgo,” a piece commissioned by Orange County Performing Arts Center to launch its new season. The idea of having them back for an inaugural moment belongs to Judy Morr, executive director of OCPAC, who thought about this in 2007, when she first saw the group’s performance.
The Project Bandaloop are also going to present another of their work, “The Ninth Second,” as a revised performance from their repertoire. Both performances belong to the aerial dance movement, a type of dance that has its roots in experiments undertaken by rock climbers such as Antoine le Menestrel in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Nowadays, the movement is more acute in Northern California due to the Sierras, which are very near, and of the spirit of environmentalism. Among Project Bandaloop, one of the most established aerial dance group in the world, there are other companies who can offer similar performances and inspired themselves from rock-climbing. Some of them are: Zaccho Dance Theatre, Capacitor, AscenDance and Flyaway Productions.
Project Bandaloop started as a combination of love for climbing and love for dance and dance rituals of choreographer Amelia Rudolph, in 1991. Since then, the group has performed in various countries and in various locations, their routine being supervised by the choreographer and supported by people and other aids to avoid accidents. For every rehearsal and for every performance, riggers stand at the top of the buildings, making sure the performers are safely strapped into their harnesses and ropes.
However, Project Bandaloop‘s performances are not just simple dance routines performed high up; their performances always use other different artistic media to tell a story, to reveal a message. This world premiere “IdEgo” is inspired, as the name tells it, from Sigmund Freud‘s description of the human psyche. The performance looks deep into the relationship between the individual and the community, using, in order to present this examination, an interplay of vertical dance, spoken and sung text, lighting effects, video, set design and music. In this way, they will appeal to every kind of personality, trying to deliver their message to as many people as possible.
Simply spectacular, their dance high up in the sky shows that performing arts can draw inspiration from every day life and remain amazing. Moreover, as there is a story they tell every time they go up there, their performances not only attract through setting, but also through consistency of message.11