Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance brings air show to Sweet Briar stage

January 23, 2017 | By Jennifer McManamay
Frequent Flyer dancer Angela Delsanter will perform with the dance company at Sweet Briar College Feb. 2. Photo: heathergrayphotography

Frequent Flyer dancer Angela Delsanter will perform with the dance company at Sweet Briar College Feb. 2. Photo: heathergrayphotography

Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance will perform at Sweet Briar College on Thursday, Feb. 2. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. in Murchison Lane Auditorium at Babcock Fine Arts Center.

Frequent Flyers Productions is a nonprofit teaching and performance company founded 29 years ago by artistic director Nancy Smith. The group is a pioneer in aerial dance — a form of modern dance incorporating a suspended apparatus such as a metal hoop, piece of fabric or rope. The use of an apparatus gives the dancer another dimension to operate — the ability to move up and down, as well as side to side.

The tricky part is making it look easy, but that’s what Frequent Flyers do, says Kat Buniak, at senior at Sweet Briar from Austin, Texas. Buniak took classes at the company’s studio in Boulder, Colo., during the summer of 2015. She interned in the office to pay for them.

“The audience will be amazed at how effortless they make their performances look. They save the best tricks for last!” says Buniak, noting the company incorporates various apparatuses in its shows.

Laura Burgamy, shown performing a rope solo, will appear with Frequent Flyers at Sweet Briar College Feb. 2. Photo: Nancy Smith

Laura Burgamy, shown performing a rope solo, will appear with Frequent Flyers at Sweet Briar College Feb. 2. Photo: Nancy Smith

Buniak took several classes at the Boulder studio and worked with the low-flying trapeze, silks and the lyra. She also participated in the company’s international Aerial Dance Festival, a first-of-its-kind annual event that Frequent Flyers started in 1999.

Buniak has continued developing her skills on the lyra at Sweet Briar, incorporating the metal hoop into a number of performances.

“The hardest part was building up the strength,” Buniak says. “I had to start from square one, just like everyone else. In the end, I found that I wanted to pursue the aerial arts. I fell in love with it.

“I love having the audience [members] on the edge of their seat, wanting more. I want the audience to fly away with me in a sense.”

The Sweet Briar performance will include a “collection of pieces from Frequent Flyers’ repertory,” according to the program. “There is no overarching theme, rather an opportunity for the audience to experience the magic of aerial dance in all its depth and breadth.”

The company of dancers and choreographers will be on campus Jan. 29-Feb. 2. They will teach four master classes using aerial apparatuses to intermediate and advanced modern dance students. Smith also will guest-teach a dance composition class on choreographing aerial dance, in addition to talking to students about her career as a performer and choreographer, teacher, and nonprofit founder and director.

Frequent Flyers Productions has performed all over the United States and twice for Cirque du Soleil in Montreal, Canada. For information about the company, go to www.frequentflyers.org.

Tickets for the Feb. 2 performance go on sale Monday, Jan. 23. Seating is general admission. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for students and free for members of the Sweet Briar community and children younger than 12. Reserve tickets at boxoffice@sbc.edu or (434) 381-6120. Visit frequentflyerssbc.bpt.me to purchase tickets in advance by credit card.

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