As I write this, yet another fierce storm is hurling waves and slamming clouds like water balloons. Some critters are hibernating and others are just hunkering down. One inscrutable, disheveled primrose is blooming in my garden. A boisterous flock of sparrows and corovids stops by for birdseed every morning. As the pandemic continues to spread, winter and common sense are coaxing us back into our dens. Roosting is what we can do to help ourselves and others. Let’s lean into it.
Watching Record Twenty Twenty, the brand new film by Joanna Haigood and Mary Ellen Strom, has reinforced my belief that storytelling and dreaming are vital tools for healing. I was honoured to be invited to contribute to this international collaboration marking the 40th anniversary of Zaccho Dance Theatre and the 4th San Francisco Aerial Arts Festival. Seeing the finished work for the first time and listening to the other artists in the panel discussions, I am profoundly moved. The film is a series of vignettes showing each artist working where they are with what they have. What emerges through our different experiences are collective themes: sensitivity, sorrow, connection, love, strength and renewal. I came away feeling energized and hopeful and I think you will too. Wishing you peace and joy.
Take good care! Julia Taffe, Artistic Director, Aeriosa
Aerial Arts Video Now Online ~ Record Twenty Twenty Presented by San Francisco Aerial Arts Festival & Zaccho Dance Theatre
In this innovative and collaborative video project, Zaccho Dance Theatre brings together 16 international aerial artists to tell a collective narrative during this time of uncertainty and social chaos. Taking place on mountain tops, old forts, bridges, and in gardens, this work reveals an intimate perspective of the world we are navigating. For blind and visually impaired audience members, Zaccho Dance Theatre partners with Gravity Access Services to offer audio described versions of their videos. Audio description is an audio track spoken by a professional audio describer to audience members with visual impairments to provide clear and engaging descriptions of meaningful visual details of the video.
Julia Carr ~ Creator of The Doorway Dance Sessions
A doorway to where.....? A magical place? Indeed!
The Doorway Dance Chronicles first began with the seed of Aeriosa's spring conditioning zoom sessions. The proposal for other dancers to lead sessions was put on the table and Julia Carr accepted the opportunity. Everybody has some kind of doorframe in their dwelling and she mused it was a tangible and unusual space in which to explore dance.
The creative exploration was fun and using Zoom as a creative tool became an enticing challenge. There were breakout rooms to choreograph in small groups, a video recording tool, the ability to witness each other and offer feedback. Turns out there are many variations to doorframe dimensions and characteristics! It was the satisfying connection and physically creative inspiration Julia Carr was seeking.
As many Aeriosa dancers are also parents of small children, creative rehearsals had to be kept to a maximum of 1.5 hours and the entire process was accomplished within 8 sessions. Learning to compile, edit video and address online music permissions were new skills and challenges. Julia Taffe paired Julia Carr with Tim Matheson, who has been Julia Carr's photographic mentor for a number of years. This pairing made the project possible.
Though Zoom fails to bring the exacting quality of moving together in time with the music and there are sound delays and glitches, this tool has helped Julia Carr stay connected to physical practice in a community of people that inspire her during these very strange times ~ and for this she is grateful.
Join Aeriosa Dance Society in donating to #POWERSHARE: A Fund for Black, Indigenous & Racialized Artists. In the wake of COVID-19, the Sector for Equity and Anti-Racism in the Arts (SEARA) has established the fund to support BC-based BIPOC artists facing financial hardship.
Dangling Aeriosa snowflakes brought magic and wonder to Granville Island on this snowy winter's eve. Winterruption, a festival interrupting the cold dark short days of winter, brings people out of their homes and together into public spaces for the sole purpose of enjoying beauty and art! Aeriosa dancers performed Cold Heart Warm Hands under the Granville Street Bridge, to the delight of the audience below.
Dancers: Julia Taffe, Julia Carr, Lisa Gelly Martin, Cara Siu Dancing Between the Pillars, Under the Granville Street Bridge Photo by Colin Zacharias
Inspiration In The Arts
Aeriosa has danced on the Granville Street Bridge on several projects. The bridge has now been further transformed by Debra Sparrow's artwork which is Blanketing The City.
Debra Sparrow Debra Sparrow is a xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) weaver, artist and knowledge keeper who is committed to reclaiming and passing on Indigenous knowledge, art and culture through generations and communities. She has dedicated 30 years of her life to her art.
Debra designed the logo for the Canadian Men's Hockey Team for the 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Games in Vancouver, BC. Her work is also showcased at the Royal BC Museum, the Vancouver International Airport and the Museum of Anthropology.
Photo From The Vancouver Mural Festival Website
Blanketing The City Debra has been a lead initiator of conversations surrounding cultural protocol and honouring the visual presentation of arts and culture of the first peoples of this land.
If you have not yet seen this stunning mural in person, consider visiting Granville Island this holiday season to see the painted weaving designs on the pillars under the Granville Bridge. This is the largest installation of Musqueam art in Vancouver!
What is your connection to Aeriosa? I met Julia Taffe, Artistic Director of Aeriosa, over 20 years ago through Amelia Rudolph, founder of dance company, Bandaloop. Julia had come to California to study with Bandaloop at an outdoor workshop and I was there. I have also had the honour and pleasure of dancing with Julia professionally on a very tall building in the state of Texas.
What are the online zoom classes you have been developing with/for the Aeriosa dancers? I have been teaching zoom classes for Aeriosa company members / guests for the last six months. The classes have sparked my interest in creating conditioning exercises that best prepare our bodies for the experience of vertical dance.
What is the most interesting piece of art you've seen/experienced? A very difficult question, as there’s so much art! One thing that does stand out in my mind is listening and seeing John Legend sing Georgia on my Mind, at two in the morning. It was just him and the piano - so moving...
What is one special thing about the place in which you grew up? There was lots of space for a small child to be in a natural environment with the ability to roam freely and have adventures.
What is one of your favourite things to do?
One of my favourite things to do in addition to dancing is cooking! I really enjoy creating with my hands and believe that also flows into visual arts. Did I mention I have a dog?! I love my dog and being with my dog and all things related to dogness :)