Gliding around, dancing on walls, falling with style — the members of BANDALOOP do it all. The world-renowned troupe visited Fairfield on Sept. 9 as the start of the ‘16-’17 season for the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.
“We were really looking for sort of something to kick off the season with a celebration and get people out of the Quick Center into the community and do something different,” said Executive Director of the Quick Center Peter Van Heerden. “[BANDALOOP is] an amazing company.”
And a celebration it was.
The flawless choreography smoothly bridged dance and aerial jumps to create a coherent, well-rehearsed number that made the dancers appear as if they were defying the natural laws of gravity themselves. The dancers, though few in number, brought about a whole new view of the term dance, as their quick steps and arabesque jumps left the entire audience in awe of their immense talent and fearlessness.
“We take dance out of what can be a somewhat elite and cloistered place and bring it to the streets literally and figuratively,” said Amelia Rudolph, the artistic director and founder of BANDALOOP. “What we do is statistically much safer than driving.”
Besides their awe-inspiring performance on the side of the Bannow Science Center, BANDALOOP has also performed on mountains, even taller buildings than the ones on campus and water towers all around the world.
“My artistic vision was modest when I began [BANDALOOP] — to make experimental dance and share reflections about the world we live in through the medium … we activate public spaces with the work and bring people together for the sole purpose of sharing an art experience — often in a location they would not expect to find one,” said Rudolph.
Rudolph originally started the company “to bring together the worlds of climbing and dance [and] to celebrate the power and vulnerability of natural spaces and to bring dance to new audiences.”
As the years have come and gone, though, “this vision is still at that core of what I do as an artist, but now the work has social, political and environmental elements that have burgeoned from the practice of doing the work experience, often in a location they would not expect to find one,” said Rudolph.
However, members of the company do more than just perform at dizzyingly terrifying heights.
“When I founded the company, I did not know that twenty five years later we would be performing and teaching regularly all over the world.”
“I have taught and choreographed with Destiny Arts Center in Oakland for 20 years, bringing challenge, bravery, grace, discipline and joy to Oakland youth, many of whom are underserved,” said Rudolph of her other accomplishments. “The work we do in the mountains [also] continues to define BANDALOOP.”
The group’s performance brought together both the town and the University, as many Fairfield residents in addition to University students were in attendance.
“If you look out on the lawn there’s a couple hundred people from the community sitting out here [watching BANDALOOP],” said Van Heerden. “They’re on [the] University campus, so it’s a beautiful thing.”