Nationally renowned Oakland-based dance company Bandaloop celebrates 30 years of breathtaking movement with spectacular performances this month.
A Bandaloop dancer glides effortlessly.
In 1991, climber and dancer Amelia Rudolph launched a new performing arts company specializing in vertical dance. She wondered what would happen if, instead of dancing on a standard flat stage, the plane was tipped sideways? The stage would become vertical, and the dancers, attached to the stage by ropes and harnesses, would soar through the air or dance up the side of the stage, Matrix-style.
Bandaloop celebrates 30 years with free performances this month.
In short, what if the dancers weren’t connected to a stage at all? Instead, they’d dance on, say, a modern skyscraper or a mountain ledge or a historic cathedral? She set out to answer these questions by creating Bandaloop.
“It’s free public art. We’re producing and creating a new theater, almost everywhere, on the side of the building, or sometimes for a camera or on the side of a mountain,” says Thomas Cavanagh, Bandoloop’s executive director, inside the company’s West Oakland practice studio. “Our mission is to bring dance to new audiences. We dance on a cliff in Yosemite just for ourselves.”
Bandaloop’s harnessed dancers create magical movements in a vertical realm.
Bandaloop will entice new viewers on two nights this month, when it celebrates its 30th anniversary with a performance of Field. The second installment of Artistic Director Melecio Estrella’s Loom trilogy, Field explores the changing view of the fashion and textiles industries.
Loom: Field is a piece that combines vertical dance with spoken word, fabric manipulation, film and original music with costumes by ninth-generation Nigerian weaver IB Bayo, staging by theater artist Chibueze Crouch, music by composer Ben Juodvalkis and effects from visual creative technologist Osman Koç. The stunning new show takes place on Bandoloop’s “home wall,” Oakland’s famous art deco Breuner Building, with dancers flying high above the intersection of Grand Avenue and Broadway.
The dance troupe will perform Loom: Field in April at the Breuner Building in Oakland
Cavanagh and Bandaloop hope to entertain and inspire Loom: Field guests to think outside the box. If kids love the show, why not enroll them in one of the company’s educational classes or donate to their cause?
The new performance combines fabric manipulation, spoken word, film and original music.
“Like many forms of art, there’s a warming of the heart that makes you open to more things,” Cavanagh explains. “Someone who I don’t agree with on politics I may agree with on art. If Bandaloop can be used as a way to open hearts and shift a bit of perspective, then cerebrally we’re shifting new kinds of synaptic avenues. We’re offering people a new way. If this is possible, well, what else is?” April 15, 8pm; April 16, 5 and 8pm, Breuner Building, 2201 Broadway, Oakland
Photography by: PHOTOS BY BROOKE ANDERSON