Why combine modern dance with rappelling? Because it's awesome, that's why.
One of the centerpiece invited performers for the 2013 Utah Arts Festival, California-based Bandaloop turned in a gasp-inducing first performance on Friday. Suspended from ropes and performing on the massive glass wall of the Main Library building, the six members performed four numbers in an approximately 18-minute show to a wide-eyed, dazzled crowd.
The specialized harnesses allow for remarkable spins and pirouettes as members launch themselves from the side of the building, giving the performance a vibe akin to circus aerialists. Yet, there's also no question that this is fundamentally a work of dance, whether in the stylized movements of the opening four-person piece or the swinging pas-de-deux set to "Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh!" As a result, the performance feels less like death-defying acrobatics and more like the athletic grace of ballet shifted at a 90 degree angle. It's easy to imagine much of the choreography being compelling even at ground level.
Though there is seating in the small sunken amphitheater near the performance space, attendees will probably get a much better view simply standing near the edge of the water feature along the side of the library. Or for a different perspective, head inside the library itself near one of the showtimes and stake out a spot facing the glass wall.
Performances are 6 and 8 p.m. daily today, Saturday and Sunday.