Vertical dance and harness class with Gravity & Levity at Laban Theatre

Gravity & Levity workshop - Camille Desmarest_5

Wednesday 12 November, 9.30am
Laban Theatre

Apart from taking planes or going on the swings in children’s playgrounds, I think the last time I left the ground was when I was six or seven, and did a trapeze workshop during a summer holiday. It was a long time ago, yet the feeling stayed with me, and when I saw that Gravity & Levity‘s vertical dance and harness class was being advertised at Trinity Laban, I thought it was something not to be missed.

Once all ten of us were gathered in the theatre, we started with a warm-up led by Richard Causer, a contemporary dancer with the company, who had performed in Rites of War, the night before at Laban Theatre. He said the piece was his first experience with aerial work…this gives me some hope.

After we have put our harnesses on, we are familiarised with some aerial jargon; carabiner, grigri and locking knot. Then, we are off to the ropes.  Gravity & Levity workshop - Camille Desmarest

In pairs, one after another we experienced being in the air, sitting in the harness like a chair, being in planks – on our backs and on our sides, the foetal position, the starfish position and then rolling from one side to another.

After each of us had had a go, Lyndsey would demonstrate the next step which involved hanging upside down, running in a circle then taking off from the ground.

Gravity & Levity workshop - Camille Desmarest_2

We ended up dancing around freely, in and out of gravity’s pull, on and off of the floor, leaning away from the rope and finding unexpected balances before the next flight. One of the exciting moments was to run in the air, then gather in a ball which makes you both spin and move in a circle. It was quite thrilling! Flying around the Laban Theatre stage was a great joy, spinning around and wondering where the ceiling was. One thing is for sure with aerial work, your spatial awareness is confused and ‘up’ and ‘down’ become relative notions.

Gravity & Levity workshop - Camille Desmarest_3 Gravity & Levity workshop - Camille Desmarest_4

The group was a really nice mix of people, some Faculty of Dance students, and then some people from outside of the institution, ranging in age, gender and experiences. It was quite moving to witness everyone’s excitement and bliss in being in the air, out of the influence of gravity. There is a certain joy in being able to completely let go and yet being supported and held, which is a very uncommon sensation for the human beings we are. We suddenly all became carefree floating children again, and our inner thighs and hips didn’t forget to remind us the following morning.

As a whole it was a really great experience which took me out of everyday reality, and I would love to repeat it when I next have the opportunity.

Camille Desmarest

MA Creative Practice Professional Pathway

More info:

Lyndsey Butcher and her work
Rites of War trailer and pictures
Rites of War rehearsals featuring aerial works in progress

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