Aerial dance first became popular as a type of modern dance in the United States during the 1970s. Typically, choreography is performed in a three-dimensional space, as the apparatus is attached to the ceiling or other rigging.

Aerial pieces can often be performed in pairs, as an ensemble or as a solo. Many times dancers will use more than one appartus in a performance to show changes in balance, center and orientation of the dancers, bringing new depths and definition to the piece.

The UF aerial club works hard to showcase its work every semester through a performance. Members invite friends and family to attend. Members are encouraged to come up with their own choreography, costumes, lighting and other elements to enhance their level of creativity.

Early Influence

Terry Sendgraff

One of the main earliest influences on aerial modern dance, Terry Sendgraff (shown at right as picture on her website, photo by Darlene Stewart) is created with inventing the "motivity" trapeze. When she moved to San Francisco in 1971, there was no such thing as "aerial dance," and she decided to introduce her discovered art in 1975 on the eve of her 42nd birthday.

According to her website, since the '70s, she has created over two hundred concerts, including her unprecedented "A Year of Sundays" and later celebrated birthday performance. She founded the first women's trapeze dancing group in the country, which sold out all its performances. She has since established her own company, received the "Isadora Duncan Sustained Achievement Award" in 2005, and has had her career featured in Dance Magazine.

Although she is now retired from on-going teaching, she still choreographs and leads select workshops. She lives in Oakland and is writing her memoirs. Check out her website here.

International Aerial Dance Festival


One of the main conventions for aerial artists is the International Aerial Dance Festival, held in early August in Boulder, Colorado. The festival features classes in low-flying trapeze, stilts and aerial stilts, contact improvisation, hammock and slings and other aerial skills, as well as two week classes in repertory. Classes are held at different venues, including the dance department studios at the University of Colorado. Many notorious visiting artists come to give workshops, proving valuable for all who attend.

(Info on this page obtained from wikipedia (common knowledge only), terrysendgraff.com, and information from the Rhee Gold Company, found here.)