We often say, Flyhouse specializes in the unusual requests of the rigging world, finding extraordinary solutions for seemingly impossible situations. Our collaboration with Kinetic Light, an internationally-recognized disability arts ensemble developing their first aerial work, gave us the opportunity to dream up rigging solutions as creative and powerful as the artists using them.
First, more about Kinetic Light in their own words:
Working in the disciplines of art, technology, design, and dance, Kinetic Light creates, performs, and teaches at the nexus of access, queerness, disability, dance, and race.
We are led by disabled artists; disabled artists create, design, and perform the work. Our work speaks to and emerges from disability aesthetics and disability culture, and it is connected to the rich traditions and exciting contemporary conversations of disabled artists in all artistic fields.
Our challenge in this collaboration is to support what Kinetic does best with Flyhouse designed and fabricated performer flying. And with Kinetic Light’s latest work Wired, which premiered in Chicago in May and had its East Coast debut in New York City on August 25, our “wires” are cast in the title role. The results are stunning.
(Click on the photos below to enlarge.)
A close up of Alice Sheppard and Laurel Lawson suspended in the air, arms outstretched and clasping each other’s hands. Alice is a multiracial Black woman with coffee-colored skin and short curly hair; she wears a shimmery deep red costume. Laurel is a white dancer with cropped hair; she wears a shimmery gold costume with thick black shoulder straps. The dancers are somehow upside down and horizontal at the same time, their wheels shining and facing out; if they let go, they will swing like pendulums. Photo Robbie Sweeny/Kinetic Light.
Alice Sheppard, a multiracial Black woman with coffee-colored skin and short curly hair, bounds through the air. Her deep red costume shimmers in the theatrical lighting, as a bright yellow beam appears under her. She arches, arms reaching up and hands gripping the cable that extends up from her chair; her eyes are closed and her facial expression depicts a quiet exhilaration. Photo Robbie Sweeny/Kinetic Light.
Jerron Herman soars high above the stage; launching across a high-ceilinged performance space. He is a Black man with blonde hair and a dark mustache; he wears a gold and purple shimmery costume as he flies, his long legs stretched behind him and arm tucked against his chest. White lights shine through the darkness; illuminating Jerron and the huge metal truss that surrounds him. Photo Robbie Sweeny/Kinetic Light.
Three dancers are encircled by waves of green and blue light, designed by Michael Maag. Laurel Lawson, a white woman with cropped hair, bends backward, arms curved over head and torso, as she hovers above the stage. Alice Sheppard, a multiracial Black woman with short curly hair and coffee-colored skin, also hovers behind Laurel, partnering her and cradling her legs and wheels. Jerron Herman, a Black man with blonde hair, balances on one foot, embracing Alice and Laurel’s wheels and peering over at Laurel with curiosity. Photo by Robbie Sweeny
Laurel Lawson, a white dancer with cropped hair, bounds toward the camera: wheelchair high off the ground, arms open and reaching. A mask of delicate gold wire and lustrous pearls covers half her face. The stage floor below her is drenched in blue light; the same light gives her pale skin a light violet glow. A strand of silver barbed wire appears, close up, in the upper corner. Photo Robbie Sweeny/Kinetic Light.