Dante in Mid-Air
Fourteenth century epic poetry meets 21st century aerial art
By Alison BarkerPosted Mar 28, 2012
“I found myself within a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path that does not stray.”
Dante’s “Inferno,” Divine Comedy
This year, why not mark the end of Lent by taking in a rendition of Dante’s 14th century epic poem The Divine Comedy?
Starting March 27 and ending April 6 – also known as Good Friday – Baton Rougeans have the opportunity to catch Nick Erickson and Alex Galick’s physical theatre incarnation of Dante’s “Inferno” in the Movement Studio of LSU’s Music & Dramatic Arts Building.
The Inferno is the first of three chapters in the Comedy. It opens on the eve of Good Friday, and the main character, Dante, has hit a mid-life spiritual crisis of sorts. Stuck in a morass of sin and confusion, Dante embarks on a journey through the underworld (a.k.a. Hell) in order to save his soul.
This production, co-written by Erickson, a professor at LSU, and Galick, an MFA alum, isn’t your momma’s “Inferno.” The performance combines dance, film, original music, and the latest bourgeoning theatre art, known as aerialism, or “aerial art.”
Aerial art consists of performers doing choreography and other acrobatic moves while suspended mid-air. Aerial performers usually climb, hang, and contort their bodies around thick hanging yards of silk fabric, swings, hoops, or other structures that support them. Sometimes, but not always, female performers hang in intricate knots above males, who strike rigid, angular poses to establish a contrast between fluidity and stasis.
Erickson, assistant professor and associate head of the MFA acting program in the LSU College of Music and Dramatic Arts, is one of the city’s biggest aerial arts advocates. He is the school’s resident flight choreographer and was instrumental in introducing the aerial arts to LSU’s theatre course offerings next fall. A group of LSU students have formed their own professional aerial company, Bel Vol, which is for hire for social events and corporate functions.
This August, Erickson will take the production and the “Dante” student cast to the esteemed Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world’s premier theatre festival, where they will perform and earn college credits.
“Dante” conjures the deep, spiritual reckoning of the Divine Comedy and offers audiences the opportunity to witness the precision of these daredevil aerialists, who are staking their claim among Baton Rouge’s array of talented performing artists.
There will be two performances of “Dante” nightly, March 27-29 at 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., with matinee and evening performances on March 31 and April 1 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 and are only sold at the door. The Movement Studio is located in Room 166 of LSU’s Music and Dramatic Arts Building on Dalrymple Drive. Please note that seating is limited, as the studio’s capacity is set at 50.
When: March 27-29, 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Matinee and evening performances: March 31 and April 1 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Where: Movement Studio, 166 LSU Music and Dramatic Arts Building, Dalrymple Drive
Bel Vol, Baton Rouge’s first aerial art company: www.Facebook.com/BelVolAerial/Info
LSU Theatre: www.Theatre.LSU.edu
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