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Undergraduate Research Project Management System

Aerial Fabric Aspirations

Status Complete
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 07/01/2008
End Date 06/30/2009
Funding Source Undergraduate Research Grant
Funding Amount
Community Partner Aerial Angels
Related Course
Last Updated 01/11/2010 10:45PM
Keywords aerial arts


  Tom Skore

Student Researchers
  Anthony Oliva


Aerial Arts in performance are a magnificent thing to behold. When I see these amazing feats of strength and physical awareness, I am not just inspired to train my body to move in such a specific and communicative way, but to make this rewarding art form more accessible to other performing artists throughout Alaska. Simply stated, my project is a study of Aerial Arts with a focus on storytelling via aerial fabric, body language, and physical communication. Under close tutelage at the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) under Elsie Smith of Cirque du Soleil, and in workshops offered locally at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) by the Aerial Angels – a circus troupe based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, I plan to safely explore and share the possibilities of expression through physical theatre and Aerial Arts with our academic arts community and our community at large.

Aerial Arts currently have no local representation in Anchorage and very little exposure in our greater community. Showcases and workshops are limited to the few times the Aerial Angels can travel up to Anchorage each year. During my studies with the Aerial Angels this summer, I discovered an enthusiasm and widespread interest at UAA, in Anchorage, and across Alaska for this physical art form. In answer to this interest and my own growing enthusiasm, I wish to obtain a greater education in Aerial Arts and then share my knowledge and increased capabilities with other here in Alaska. The award of this grant proposal would allow me to participate in an Aerial Fabric Intensive as well as in private lessons in related disciplines at NECCA in Brattleboro, Vermont over Winter Break.

Directly following, I will bring my new-found skills and the results of my supplementary studies to UAA and use them to collaborate with the Aerial Angels during their residency here in Spring '09. The directors of the Aerial Angels, Allison Williams and Zay Weaver, are going to take up a five-week residency at UAA to design and develop a physical theatre performance piece using UAA students. I have been the main student liaison to the Angels in the development of this project, and as a part of this grant will continue to work closely with them during their residency in an assistant/mentor position.

My projects will also include my own thesis performance and a tour of participating schools in the Anchorage School District. The subject of my thesis performance is Icarus from Greek mythology, who with his father Daedalus, attempted to escape the island of Crete and through arrogance and ignorance, ended up falling to his death. The show and post-show Q & A sessions during the showcase and tour will expose youth and the arts community in Anchorage to a modern performance of classic mythology using cutting edge artistic expression via Aerial Arts.

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