17 Oct Vertical Dance
This discipline, born from the encounter between climbing and dance, started to grow in the 1970s and 80s.
The fundamentals of vertical dance are mainly based on one of the essential technical elements: the harness, but also the ropes and all the safety and anchoring elements as well as the climbing equipment that allow its development, its expression, its style.
Vertical dance can be performed on a theatre stage, but above all, in every public and environmental spaces adapted to it. Which allows it to meet other arts such as theatre, circus, video-projection, live music, painting, literature.
It invites us to discover new perceptions, images and sensations of the world around us, since it has the specificity to offer its audience, through performances, a new relationship with space and the urban or natural volumes in which it is performed. Vertical dance creates connections between people and spaces, where dance hardly exists.
This discipline calls for both body control and space awareness to where it is practiced. The concept of letting go is an important aspect of understanding this dance in the different aerial spaces, as the usual reference points are completely reversed. The encounter with the high stage locates the dancer in an unknown, vertiginous space where the challenge of heaviness is mixed with games with gravity… a whole world to explore and tame!
The spaces used for practice can be exploited in a three-dimensional way. The bottom and the top, horizontality and verticality, the near and the far, the surface and the void. These different factors bring the dancer into direct confrontation with the supports, partners for their artistic games. The experience of apprehending spaces in all its dimensions allows to play on another spatiality giving the feeling of defying the rules of gravity.
The harness, the central tool of this practice, opens up as many possibilities as it sets constraints. The rules that emanate from it offer several possibilities: a new consciousness of balance, reference points in space, supports and materials. By combining it with the ropes or elastics that support the dancer’s body to the structure, new possibilities of lifts, suspensions, volumes and figures appear.
The supports in vertical dance are an important basis for this practice. It changes our relationship to gravity and to the atmospheric pressure that we bear. This adaptation is necessary to re-understand space, time, the relationship with the other and energy in this dance.
More precisely, vertical dance imposes a new support, a new dynamic base with the use of a harness. It strongly emphasizes the role of the pelvis in order to make the spine free and mobile and to allow the body to find its alignment. The abdominal and scapular belts are then very much solicited, the pelvis becoming an equally important support as the feet when we are standing on the ground. The feeling of the centre of gravity and the weight of the body are altered, as well as the way we move.
This discipline opens up a real and completely new relationship to space and the environment, as it allows you to dance and to spread your body in all directions and on all levels.
Learning this discipline does not require any pre-requisites but it is important to have a minimum of knowledge about body’s structure and its possibilities, as it is physically engaging. It also requires a great deal of mental attention in order to ensure one’s own safety and the partners one. It can be practiced at low and high heights, against a vertical surface, on the middle of a stage as well as sitting in the void, suspended by a rope or by elastic bands, allowing very different qualities of movement in space. Many possibilities are available and are constantly emerging thanks to the ingenious minds of the artists who exploit it and simultaneously enrich its diversity.
If you love to dance and have always dreamed of flying, then vertical dance will give you the opportunity to explore a whole new world, where new experiences of the body in movement will allow you to gather sensations that are still unknown.