14 Nov 2018


Tracing The Roots of  The Vertical Dance Forum

Creation and Momentum 

Vancouver International Vertical Dance Summit 2019

Vertical Dance is - Dance in Suspension...the Form and Synergy of Rock-Climbing and Dance Mesh as One
Julia Taffe describes vertical dance as dancing with prosthetics...
the harness and ropes - extensions of the body

Tracing The Roots of the Vertical Dance Forum

One can see the correlation in the fluid movement of an exceptional rock-climber scaling the side of a cliff to the lightness and grace of a dancer.
Thirty years ago Fabrice Guillot, a professional rock-climber and competition route setter from France began collaborating with contemporary dance company, Roc in Lichen, and experimenting with stylized climbing sequences. Fabrice and French climbing icon, Antoine Le Menestrel, partnered to eventually co-found Compagnie Retouramont.

Their high level mountain climbing experience opened the doors to start creating dance routes on urban monuments, churches and castles, where they began to sew their unique choreographic seeds.

The energy and community of climbers and dancers collaborating and uniting their disciplines was exploding simultaneously in several locations worldwide. The beauty and allure of dance in suspension - free of constraint - was a contagious magnetic force.
Images of Vertical Dance Company, Retouramont
Image of Vertical Dance Company, 'Roc in Lichen'
The First-Ever Formal Gathering of
Vertical Dance Artistic Directors 
Ireland, 2014
In response to an invitation to collaborate with a Hungarian circus association in 2013, Julia Taffe, Aeriosa's Founder and Artistic Director, wrote of a GRAND SCALE VERTICAL DANCE FLOCK manifesting in cities throughout Canada and Europe. Her proposed vision, though unfulfilled at the time, found its way to Fabrice's desk months later.

Curious about her idea, Fabrice invited Julia to take part in conversations with some European vertical dance peers. Some scintillating Skype sessions ensued, and during one of these, choreographer, Chantal McCormick, of Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Theatre, offered to host a face to face three-day meeting in Ireland.

In November 2014, the first-ever formal gathering of vertical dance artistic directors took place at:

The Univeristy of Limerick Irish World Academy of Music and Dance

Seven Vertical Dance Directors, each from a different country, participated in this consequential meeting. Initiated by Retouramont and carried by the desire and momentum of all seven artists, 

The Vertical Dance Forum (VDF) was born...
Creation & Momentum
The artist-driven Vertical Dance Forum (VDF) network is a place where reflection on vertical dance practice, creative collaboration, exchange and communication is central.

The goal of the Forum is to promote the art of vertical dance by encouraging international cooperation and creativity.

Currently, the VDF is undertaking seven international meetings, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union along with the generous support from the artists, community partners and volunteers.

Between 2017 and 2019 each artistic company is designing and hosting the meeting that is taking place in their country.

One objective of the VDF events is to provide choreographers the time to understand and compare the challenges, opportunites and rewards of running vertical dance companies.

Another aim is sharing knowledge with the next generation of vertical artists through physical exploration, professional training and mentorship.

A third objective is community building by engaging the public in symposia, seminars, round tables and digital publications.

Various Discussion Topics Throughout The Events

What defines vertical dance 
How does one find permission to dance on structures, landscapes and architecture
How to define one’s work and this young art form to the pubic and funders
Where to find dancers
How to deal with regulators unfamiliar with the art fom
How to manage risk, and what safety measure should be in place
How vertical dance stimulates cultural partnerships between artists and the social, civic, educational, science and business sectors  

How to create shared authorship with dancers and choreographers

Dancing respectfully in nature and shared spaces of the urban commons
7 Companies - 7 Events
Host Company:  VDKL Vertical Dance Kate Lawrence
Bangor Wales
July 24-30, 2017

Host Company:  Il Posto
Venice Italy
October 30 - November 4, 2017

Host Company: Fidget Feet
Limerick, Ireland

June 13-19, 2018

Host Company:  Histeria Nova
Zadar, Croatia

September 15 - 21, 2018

Stunning 3-minute video recap of the latest VDF workshop; Histeria Nova's New Territories, in  Zadar Croatia
Feature workshop: 'Safe Practices and Rigging Techniques for Vertical Dance' 
led by Aeriosa Safety Director, Colin Zacharias
Host Company: Gravity & Levity
Eastleigh, England

January 21- 25, 2019

Host Company: Retouramont
Paris, France
May 13 - 19, 2019
Host Company: Aeriosa
Vancouver, Canada

June 10 - 15, 2017

Beautiful Partnerships and Exciting Outcomes

Establishing the VDF has carried these seven artists beyond discussion to real friendship and creative collaboration. This network has opened the doors for Aeriosa to present the first gathering of international vertical dance artists in Canada!

Aeriosa is proud to announce we will be hosting the... 

Vancouver International Vertical Dance Summit
June 10 - 15, 2019
Schedule of Events

VIVDS takes place June 10th - 15th, 2019​
The 7 International Vertical Dance Forum Artistic Directors together with the Aeriosa team, will be sharing their tremendous depth of knowledge throughout the week through various workshops for professional artists as well as hosting public symposia and special events. 

Who It's For 
Professional dancers, circus artists and vertical dance specialists are invited to attend a six-day intensive program offering introductory, intermediate and advanced level workshops. ​

The Week Overview
  • Daily Group Warm-Up
  • Safety and Risk Management for Performers and Technicians
  • Masterclasses
  • Vertical Dancers Training Methods
  • Creative Labs
  • Floating Formations
  • Dancing with Trees
  • Dancing with Architecture
  • Dancing on Tall Towers
  • Aerial Dance Theatre
The week will culminate in 'The Gathering Flock' public performance on a 100m skyscraper with shared-authorship choreography by the VDF artists.

Public are invited to film screenings, artist talks and roundtables scheduled throughout the week.

Schedule (subject to change)
June 9  Participant Orientation and Welcome Reception 
June 10 - 15  Advanced & Intermediate / Beginner Intensives

Advanced Program (Full Day)
9:00am - 10:00am Group Warm Up
10:15am - 1:00pm Morning Workshop
1:00pm - 2:00pm Lunch Break with Film Screenings / Artist Talks
2:00pm - 5:00pm Afternoon Workshop
5:00pm - 6:00pm Dinner Break
6:30pm - 9:30pm Dance on Tall Tower

Intro & Intermediate Program (Half-Day)
9:00am -10:00am Group Warm-Up
10:15am - 1:00pm Morning Workshop
1:00pm - 2:00pm Lunch Break with Film Screenings / Artist Talks
Participants are welcome to watch afternoon / evening rehearsals

Early Registration For Advanced Program
$850 + gst with a $300 deposit before February 28, 2019
$990 + gst if registering after February 28, 2019

Early Registration Fees For Intermediate / Beginner Program
$400 + gst with a $300 deposit before February 28, 2019
$490 + gst if registering after February 28, 2019

Click here for Registration
VIVDS is co-presented by Aeriosa and SFU Woodward's Cultural Programs with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, The Province of British Columbia, The City of Vancouver and the Vertical Dance Forum, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
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