Check Out Boulder’s Annual Aerial Dance Festival

This month, Frequent Flyers celebrates the 25th anniversary of its Aerial Dance Festival with peerless performances that pay tribute to the past, present, and future of gravity defiance.

Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance performer
Photo by Scott Redheffer.

Aerial dance, according to the woman who wrote the book on it, is “the ultimate feeling of freedom.” Nancy Smith, founder and artistic director of Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance, coauthored the first book on the topic in 2008—20 years after founding one of the country’s first aerial dance companies in Boulder. Currently celebrating its 35th anniversary, Frequent Flyers is now both a professional aerial dance company and a robust training platform offering everything from community classes to the country’s only certified professional training course. These two arms unite at the international Aerial Dance Festival.

Peerless Performances

Taking place from July 30 to August 11, the Aerial Dance Festival is a celebration of being up in the air. Since its launch in 1998, the festival has brought together artists, gymnasts, and students from all over the world every summer for performances, workshops, and connections. “You won’t find this breadth of breathtaking artists and performances in aerial dance anywhere else in the world,” says Smith. “It is an exemplary exposition.”

For the festival’s 25th anniversary edition, performances honor the past, present, and future of aerial dance. “Many people think aerial dance originated from the circus, but really, it comes from post-modern dance,” explains Smith.

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During the Showcase Performances on August 4, 5, and 6, the Frequent Flyers trace the lineage of aerial dance in a tribute to Terry Sendgraff, the “mother of aerial dance.” Another artist focuses on the future by using AI to create an immersive backdrop of video projections for their performance. Intimate Encounters, held on July 31 in the Frequent Flyers cavernous studio, is a chance for the performers to showcase the mechanics of their favorite moves and answer questions from the audience.

Rise to the Occasion

The festival also includes robust and diverse course offerings where you can learn the fundamentals of contortionism, fly on the twisted trapeze, swing from the silk, and do so much more. “There is this near weightless moment when you are swinging that we all want to experience,” says Smith. “I encourage everyone to try it. At our school, we have students ages five to 72.”

Frequent Flyers’ Aerial Dance Festival is your opportunity to ascend new heights by embarking on a personal voyage of self-discovery through the festival’s courses or by securing tickets to the Showcase Performance.