Video: BANDALOOP Brings Vertical Dance to Holy Cross in Awe-Inspiring Performance

Crowds gathered to see troupe’s unique, gravity-defying performance on the side of a campus building
September 27th, 2017 by 

BANDALOOP, pioneers in vertical dance performance, brought their artistry to the College of the Holy Cross on Sept. 9 — specifically, to the façade of the Hogan Campus Center. Students, faculty, staff, and members of the Worcester community filled the Hogan Oval with lawn chairs and picnic blankets to watch in awe as four dancers propelled themselves down the side of the building and launched into an ethereal performance that seemed to defy gravity.

“The emotions they expressed in their choreography definitely made it a surreal performance and experience,” says Edith Mensah Otabil ’19, who also participated in the off-the-ground technique workshop held by the BANDALOOP artists during their residency at Holy Cross.

During the three hour-long workshop, students got a behind the scenes look into BANDALOOP’s unique re-imagination of dance — a combination of intricate choreography, dynamic physicality, and climbing technology — and even worked on exercises in the air themselves.

“This workshop made me recognize that dancing in the air is not as easy as they make it seem,” shares Mensah Otabil, who explains that the effortlessness of BANDALOOP’s performance is a result of many years of discipline and dedication.

While her fear of heights made her hesitant to sign up, Mensah Otabil was looking to do something out of her element.

“I thought to myself, ‘what is better than getting instructed by world-renowned dancers?’ Absolutely nothing!” she recounts.

The dance troupe has performed around the world on skyscrapers, bridges, billboards, cliff faces, and now at Holy Cross, where their three 15-minute performances were accompanied in part by live music performed by the music department’s Brooks Scholars, led by cellist Jan Szeraws-Müller, artist-in-residence at the College.

This was the first performance BANDALOOP has choreographed with live music in a while, making it one of the most memorable, Roel Seeber, the staging director and BANDALOOP dancer, told Mensah Otabil.

The collaborative performance activated the first-ever Festival of the Arts at Holy Cross, a one-day event celebrating the arts across campus, and was sponsored by Arts Transcending Borders.

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