Sky Dancing

July 23, 2006 at 8:18 pm

Last Sunday, Mark and I headed to Vedauwoo for some fun sunny climbing, per the usual weekend plan. Unusually, however, there was a large bus parked in the middle of the entrance road when we got there. It turns out, last Sunday a Laramie theatre group were putting on an aerial ballet among the beautiful rock formations that make up Box Canyon.

Vertical Dance is a strange sort of tradition at Vedauwoo. The area was origially named and ‘created’ as a recreational area in the early 1920’s due to the efforts of a woman at the University of Wyoming; who used the natural ampitheatre to exhibit her plays and music. The tradition was rekindled in the late 1990s but, as the area had become famous more for it’s amazing climbing opportunities in the previous 30 years, the art performance was lifted off the ground and on to ropes! Each dancer had a rock harness, rock shoes, and kept themselves stationary on their (probably static) rope using a grigri! At the end of the performance, they all droppd the coiled extra rope and lowered themselves back to the ground.

Mark and I payed $13 to see the festivities last weekend. It was very nice. The performers were all talented dancers, but possibly a little nervous about being so far off the ground while performing. :-) I had the vague preminition that somebody had told the dancers just before the performance: “Oh, you’ll be totally fine. These anchors are bomber. Just don’t bounce around too much or anything…”

There were three or four “sections” to the performance. One guy in white that you can see at the top of the photo would come out between sections swing wide circles, doing front and back flips in the air, and then dissapear back into the crack. The three girls on the left went first, and spent their time doing choreographed arm and leg waving and small twirls on their ropes. The two barefoot girls hanging on the rope and pulley out in space mostly lifted each other up and down and slowly rotated in circles while holding on to each other’s arms and feet. And the couple on the right did similar work raising and lowering each other and a couple flips and swirls. It actually looked alot like a Wyoming rock-climber’s version of Cirque du Soleil. Pretty cool.