The side of the Moss Arts Center was transformed into a performing arts stage on Friday September 17 and Saturday September 18. BAND LOOP, innovators of vertical dance, took off by sliding through the windows of the arts center. The dancers performed elegant flips and emotional rotations on Friday in front of a crowd of more than 1,200 students, parents, community members and teachers, according to Katie Gehrt, director of marketing and communications at the Moss Arts Center.
âTo have something outside with the building as a dance floor – I have to see,â said Marise Robbins-Forbes, Virginia Tech’s director of development and an avid spectator. “I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
Margaret Lawrence, director of programming at the Moss Arts Center, felt the same as she looked up at the nimble dancers above.
âIt was just a dream,â Lawrence said. âHaving BANDALOOP here is something that started two years ago, long before the pandemic (COVID-19)â¦ I think it’s beautiful because it makes you rethink what dancing can be like, but it makes you also see a building in a different way. “
According to them website, an integral part of BANDALOOP is education and awareness. True to this mission, the dancers hosted a conference on September 15 where they performed some of their dances and answered questions about how they were able to perform these miraculous flights. The performers also taught a small group of Virginia Tech students on September 16, hooking them up to their own harnesses and allowing them to practice some of the techniques on a smaller, lower scale at the back of the Moss Arts Center.
âI hope we can continue, you know, at Moss Arts Center and Virginia Tech in general, to develop this atmosphere that the arts are important too,â said Gehrt, smiling at the crowd on the lawn at the center. arts.
After floating down the 32-foot-high glass side of the arts center, Rose huey, dancer and education manager for BANDALOOP, was dressed in a denim dress with gold sequins around the eyes. She spoke of her team’s graceful flight preparation.
âIt was really fun because of the long windows and the little triangular ledge,â Huey said. âIt’s a beautiful glass building, but it has these metal ridges you can grab and crawl on, which makes it even more fun. So we really enjoyed adapting our choreography to this placeâ¦ Each building is different.
BANDALOOP performed excerpts from their piece “Field”, which is part of a multi-year project known as “Loom.“Loom” explores the ancestral, spiritual and ecological impacts of textiles, according to Melecio Estrella, dancer and artistic director of BANDALOOP. His nimble dances illustrate different themes involving textiles, ranging from the therapeutic action of fabric making, to clothing inherited from our ancestors and even the harmful ecological footprint of mass-produced clothing. Estrella hopes to publicize this latest issue through the performances of BANDALOOP.
âWhen we hang our nylon ropes from top to bottom of the building, it becomes a chain like a loom and the dancers weave side by side,â Estrella said, pointing to the ropes. âWe see it as a fabric, a fleeting art fabric that we weave as we dance. “