By Ana Pollo/Special to the Revelstoke Times Review
“Good evening, I invite you to sit closer,” announced Julia Taffe, artistic director and choreographer for the Aeriosa Dance Company at the opening of a video presentation at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Feb. 1.
Taffe revealed the story of her greatest passions: dancing and climbing. Taffe has been a dancer all her life. She began climbing at age 22, took to it right away and began training to be a guide out of Squamish, B.C.
“I loved the idea of being a tiny human hanging on by a thread of life,” she said.
The clips of her solo experiments show her dancing in the mountains with elegant precision.
In 2007, Taffe joined with rigger Abby Watkins as they set out to create a unique dance company. The name Aeriosa is an invention by Taffe beginning with the greek word aerios, meaning of the air.
Dancers Julia Carr, Cara Sui and Meghan Goodman are three performers from a larger Aeriosa family performing at Revelstoke Secondary Scool.
The presentation left a deep impression of the strong female presence and creative force that has brought them together at such great heights. “There is a lot of trust and support in our group,” Cara said while continuing on to explain how they had all met through friends and other dance collaborators.
“Everything was pointing in that direction.” Taffe recalls the evolution of her dance career, “it was about timing and being ready.”
Almost all of the pieces are done on high-profile landmarks. To list a few, the Scotia Bank Dance Centre in Vancouver, The Banff Centre for Mountain Culture, Taipei City Hall, Toronto’s 58 story L Tower and the Stawamus Chief in Squamish.
The Feb. 1 presentation at RSS, the sometimes dizzying footage of the group on these high rises brought viewers into a world of watery cadence where new perspectives of movement could emerge from the realm of suspension.
A brilliant image of one routine had the dancers flipping and spinning like magenta pin-wheels against a neon white urban sky. From the footage at night they often appeared like tumbling celestial bodies interacting in a satisfying symmetry.
The strength needed to draw control out of that buoyancy and freedom was apparent but made to look second nature. Some of the pieces were set to original scores created by members of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Inspiration for the works created so far sprawl from the Big Bang Theory to Taffe’s belief that dance is essential to our growth. She spoke of how dance is a rite of passage, helping us understand the animal within by taking us deeper into movement and expression.
Refugia, which will be performed at RSS on Feb. 8, is about exclaiming dancer identity.
“When people see dancing in a space then that visual stays with them in the memory of that place,” Taffe said. “It’s about creating a space for dancers to be, that dancers belong.”
Aeriosa is sure to dazzle. Tickets are available at the ArtFirst!, the Chamber of Commerce, downtown Revelstoke and online through the Revelstoke Arts Council.