Now Showing: Nancy Smith and Patrick Mueller

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Photo by David Andrews.
For this year's Now Showing, Westword's fall arts guide (you'll find it tucked into our September 26 issue), we asked artistic movers and shakers to answer a few questions about the state of the arts, both locally and around the world. We'll be rolling out their answers over the next few weeks in pairs that combine both veterans and newcomers in similar disciplines. Today, we hear from aerial dance maven Nancy Smith and avant garde dancer/choreographer Patrick Mueller.

See also: Now Showing: Adam Lerner and Adam Gildar

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Nancy Smith, Frequent Flyers Productions Aerial Dance Company.

Nancy Smith does some of her work -- and play -- hanging upside down; as the founder of Boulder's Frequent Flyers and the region's most long-lived aerial-dance visionary, she runs a school, a dance company, and an annual aerial dance festival with national instructors and performers as easily as she can climb a swath of silk to the ceiling.

What do you think of recent developments in your field, and the current scene?

There are a lot more people involved in aerial dance then when we began pioneering the art form over 25 years ago. People are continuing to push the boundaries of what is physically possible. My dancers are truly super-human. I'm particularly interested in making portable work where our incredible dancers can be seen by more people using our portable aerial rig and collaborating with others in unusual venues.

What could be done to improve the scene?

With more people getting into this field, the need for rigorous attention to safety is paramount. This includes training, rigging, equipment and so forth. Also, local producers/venues could do more collaborative partnering with us...à la the Boulder Philharmonic.

Who/what has inspired you most in your career?

Two teachers in the aerial dance field: Terry Sendgraff, the mother of aerial dance, and Robert Davidson, my first aerial teacher, who recently taught and performed at our Aerial Dance Festival this summer and is in his mid-sixties! Marda Kirn, founder of the Colorado Dance Festival, was seminal in helping me start my company. There are many modern-dance pioneers as well: Trisha Brown, Twyla Tharp, Lar Lubovitch...

Who/what will you be watching for this arts season?

Other than Frequent Flyers®... I'm excited to see Mark Morris and Carol Armitage's company coming through soon. At the Boulder Fringe Festival, Joanna Rotkin's work, as well as Mary Wohl Haan's solo show.

Visit Frequent Flyers Productions online for more information.

Continue reading for our interview with Patrick Mueller.


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