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Beginning in 1995, with an innovative Main Stage production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, UW Theatre & Dance began exploring “Aerial Dance.” Working with Neil Humphrey, Professor of Geology and Geophysics, avid climber, and dance student, we were able to “fly” the fairies in to the industrial world created in the production.
In 1998, Neil attended the Project Bandaloop workshop at the Banff Arts Center in British Columbia. Building on this experience, the department explored the vertical dance form in an outdoor production at Vedauwoo, a well-known local climbing area. Response was overwhelming!
The first vertical dance class was offered during the spring semester 1999. Team-taught by Humphrey and Margaret Wilson, then an APL and now Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre & Dance, the course introduced issues related to safety, rigging, and choreography in the vertical dimension.
Vertical II was introduced during the spring semester 2000, and emphasizes the math and physics involved in the rigging and anchor settings. Students enrolled in Vertical II design and construct a 'rig' for vertical dance and create commensurate choreography for public presentation.
Vertical dance is often performed both inside and out-of-doors by UW Theatre and Dance at the University of Wyoming.