Aerial dance troupe glides down Resorts’ new tower

July 9, 2010
By Marla Cimini

Gracefully flying high through the air, elegantly swooping and swinging hundreds of feet above the boardwalk, the Project Bandaloop dance troupe will be performing their enthralling and exhilarating aerial dance display in Atlantic City for several shows over the July 4 weekend. Project Bandaloop’s appearance in town is part of a celebration for the grand opening of Resorts’ new $125 million luxury Rendezvous hotel tower.

Using the façade of the new 27-story art deco tower as their vertical stage, project Bandaloop promises to give its audience an adrenaline jolt with their outdoor gravity-defying performance that incorporates dance, climbing and aerial movement. For over twelve years, this dance troupe has showcased their unique talents on the sides of numerous cliffs and buildings all over the world. Mixing wild acrobatic mid-air jumps with classic dance moves makes Project Bandaloop as a truly unique experience.

Project Bandaloop was founded by choreographer and artistic director Amelia Rudolph in 1991. Based in Oakland, California, Rudolph has studied ballet since the age of six and has been an avid rock climber since 1989. She created the Project Bandaloop concept because she wanted to developan artistic outlet that features elements of dance and climbing. Committed to introducing dance to new audiences while enhancing public awareness of nature, it made sense for her to choose majestic outdoor locations, such as national parks, to showcase the performances.

“The Project Bandaloop members focus on dancing as a way of combining and celebrating nature, community and the human spirit,” Rudolph explained.

Atlantic City is in for a special treat, as each Project Bandaloop performance is specifically designed for each site. With cables and ropes anchored to the roof of the new Resorts tower, the group will be suspended from the top and move down the façade as they dance, twisting and turning in mid-air.Rudolph and her group are very excited about their Atlantic City performance and have been rehearsing in their Oakland, California studio for about a month. They plan to start rehearsals on the exterior of the Resorts tower a few days prior to their performance next weekend.

Rudolph said, “I have left some of the choreography for this performance unset because I discover new ideas when I am on a new building. Also, we usually have to adapt choreography that we make in the studio because each building has itsown special possibilities and issues. So, there will be some site-specific sections of the work that we will create on the actual site.”

In addition to the choreography, Project Bandaloop’s Atlantic City performance will also feature music specifically created for this show.  “The piece is set to an original musical score by Zachary Carrettin and Raymond Granlund that was written just for the occasion. The piece will involve several short “movements” involving group, trio, and solo dances,” she explained.

Rudolph also says that the Atlantic City audience should expect to enjoy this large scale vertical dance by seven dancers on a reflective building set to melodic and charged music. “The 9:30 shows will also be highlighted by the effects of a very good lighting system which will enhance the magic of the dancing.” She added, “Please note that we are a dance company — not a swat team. The audience will see elegant and graceful movement on a vertical dance floor.”

Rudolph invites those planning to view the performance at Resorts to “relax and enjoy” the beauty of their show. She says, “What we do is a kind of a modern day ritual. It’s a blessing on the building, a community celebration, an image of flight and beauty that may stay in the imaginations of the audience for days, weeks and maybe years. I also like to think of us as courageous, strong and graceful role models for people who are stuck in a rut or need something to inspire them to fulfill their dreams.”

Project Bandaloop has enjoyed mesmerizing audiences nationally and internationally. They have performed on sides of cliffs, and dropped from the rooftops of buildings (along with the insides of theatres) around the globe. Their unique stages have been well-known landmarks, buildings and national parks, such as the Seattle Space Needle, water towers in Kansas and South Africa, mountain ranges and waterfalls throughout Yosemite National Park.

Project Bandaloop’s the two highest performance locations were on El Capitan in Yosemite (at 2,400 hundred feet), along with a location close to Yosemite Falls (also at about 2,500 feet).The performance Rudolph is most proud of? “Performing for children in Soweto South Africa at the Children’s Earth Summit in the summer of 2002, second would be the piece entitled, “Peregrine Dreams” which we performed on El Capitan in Yosemite. That involved climbing for six days and five nights from the ground to the top.”

The seven-member group has been ranges in ages from 24 to 44 and all are trained modern and ballet dancers. Four members are highly skilled climbers, but three learned the ropes directly from Rudolph. Training about 5-6 days a week, the group also participates in dance class, yoga, swimming, walking up hill, Pilates, rock climbing among other activities.

The dancers wear standard climbing harnesses and shoes and require specific equipment to climb, swing and dance along the stage using the ropes.“There are certainly going to be challenges to this upcoming performance. We have to dance on the windows which are a bit slippery, I imagine. Also, it is a very tall tower. Our dance ropes will be over 200 feet long and managing that much rope is a challenge.”

According to Amelia, the safety of the performers and the audience is of utmost importance. The group’s technicians are trained to ensure that prior to each performance, all the equipment, including ropes, harnesses and other hardware are checked and re-checked several times to meet their extremely strict safety requirements.Project Bandaloop will be dazzling the Atlantic City audience on July 2 through the 4 by performing on the exterior of the new Resorts Atlantic City Rendezvous hotel tower. This new 27-story art deco tower features a new lobby, an expanded casino, as well as 357 new guestrooms, which are being promoted as the largest in the city, along with 42 suites.Showtimes are: Friday, July 2 at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, July 3 and Sunday, July 4 at 6:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Admission is free. The best places to view the show is either from the Boardwalk or on North Carolina Avenue.

For more information about Project Bandaloop, visit www.projectbandaloop.org and for information about Resorts visit www.resortsac.com.

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