I spent the 4th of July week teaching in Salt Lake City, my old stamping ground! Back in 2008-10, I was the owner of an aerial studio (Revolve Aerial Dance), which is now known as Aerial Arts of Utah. I was thrilled when they invited me back to teach a week-long adult intensive with Elizabeth Stich, my co-artistic director from back in the day.
We began the week by teaching 4 skills classes - silks, trapeze, rope, and lyra. By day 3, we did “Wild Card Wednesday,” covering sling improvisation and trapeze beats. Thursday and Friday were sequence review/creation days to prep for the final showing on Friday afternoon.
Even though it’s been years since Elizabeth and I taught together and our styles have evolved, it was amazing how similar our sequences were. I noticed that several shapes in the fabric sequence Elizabeth taught were in the same order as the lyra sequence I taught. We also found several parallels between the trapeze and lyra sequences, and pointed out “themes” throughout the week that could be traced through all of the sequences. The creation days also made this week special. We decided to combine sling with fabric in one piece, and trapeze/lyra in the other piece.
For the trapeze/lyra piece, we took the original sequences Elizabeth and I taught and found moments where the sequences related to each other. We began calling this process, “coordination.” It was incredibly fun to coordinate two sequences that were built separately and make them work together as a unified piece.
For the sling/fabric piece, we took the fabric sequence and translated it onto the sling. The students then performed the same choreography, but on two different apparatuses. This structure became known as “translation,” which is the same process as translating a statement from one language to another.
If you are developing a performance piece and you want to experiment with different sequences and apparatuses, give coordination and translation a try, and let me know how it goes!