Performers in UNH’s Aerial Dance class have been hard at work practicing their routines in anticipation for the UNH Fall Aerial Dance Showcase, taking place on Wednesday, Dec. 7 from 7-9 p.m. in the Newman Dance Studio. With an impressive array of talent, performers utilize a variety of apparatuses such as lyra, silks, nets and ropes to soar elegantly through the air, drawing gasps of wonderment from onlookers.
“I grew up dancing ballet, tap, jazz; all the classic dance styles, but aerial is a whole new level of skill and challenge,” senior dance and nutrition double major Ellouise McGonagle said. “When you perform aerial, it feels like flying, and who wouldn’t want to fly?”
The Aerial Dance class is a tight-knit community of supportive peers, always encouraging each other to go higher and further. A soft murmur of applause accompanied every stylish maneuver, while tips and constructive critique followed each performance. It is obvious that the men and women of Aerial Dance care and support one another within a positive environment.
“It is a big part of UNH’s dance component, and we [UNH] are one of very few schools who have an aerial dance program,” senior dance and psychology double major Rachel White said. “With different apparatuses comes a different set of skills, and after every show the reward of accomplishment is matched only by the support we have for one another; it is a very supportive environment.”
“When I was younger I was into martial arts and music. Dancing has allowed me to combine the two into art,” junior dance major Ben Hanley said.
UNH Director of Dance Gay Nardone has been teaching aerial dance since 2002 and every semester her joy is infectious. She takes pride in her students, and the level of immersion she contributes to help everyone succeed is unrivaled.
“It is amazing how far we’ve grown as an aerial program,” Nardone said. “Watching my students get better and stronger every semester is a great reward.”
With Christmas around the corner, the silks have been changed to red and white and many of the dancers chose a holiday themed song to apply a festive ambience to their routines. Watch as red and white silks twirl in resemblance of candy canes, listen to the classic tune of “The Nutcracker” as performers use graceful dance maneuvers to entrance. With tickets only $5, this opportunity to witness elegance and grace in artistic dance should not be missed.