Aerialists will soar above a lush meadow, reaching to touch a blue sky above them at Open Air, an annual afternoon of drama and delight at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at Open Space for Arts & Community.
The afternoon will include choreographed spectacles from a cast of internationally touring artists, local aerialists and students from Vashon’s own UMO School of Physical Arts.
Open Air will be opened by Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma, an author, poet, translator, teacher, magician and musician. His book of poems, “The Safety of Edges,” was published earlier this year, and in November, he and his husband David Mielke will premiere an original show, “The Driftwood Bridge: A Gaybaret,” at Vashon Center for the Arts. This is Pruiksma’s sixth year of opening Open Air.
The event will also include an appearance by UpSwing Aerial Dance Company, a Bay Area contemporary aerial dance company that features the repertory of its artistic director, Cherie Carson. The company, which has toured to Atlanta, New York, Seattle, Houston and San Francisco, includes dancers Kirstin Brown, Helen Fitanides and Helium Valentine.
Shannon Grey, also from the Bay Area, will perform work that draws from somatic studies, dance, yoga and her masters degree in East-West psychology. Specializing in dance trapeze, she emphasizes a connection between the ground, apparatus and air in aerial work that emphasizes storytelling more than high-wire tricks.
Shadie Iliacus, the duo act of Sadie LaDonna and Shawn Kellogg, will also perform. LaDonna and Kellogg teach at UMO School of Physical Theater, on Vashon, and at Seattle Acrobatics and New Circus Arts, in Seattle. They also recently founded Pop-up Movement, a movement arts organization.
Danya Volkov, another performer on the “Open Air” slate, discovered a love for movement arts after watching the 1995 PBS recording of “Riverdance.” Since then, she has enjoyed dabbling in many forms of dance, movement and more recently circus arts. She is currently a member of the performing company Unfiction Works.
Dancer Alyson Komarzec, whose act is called Thy Alybaba, will also appear at Open Air for her third straight year. Komarzec’s use of free-flowing scarves is meant to give audiences a taste of how it feels to fly with their feet on the ground.
The event will also include a showcase of graduates and current students of the UMO School of Physical Arts, including Sarah Smith, Annie Crawford, Emma Rose DeSantis, Josie Slade, Madeline Schroeder, Dolrun Heuschert, Allene Rodriguez-Miller and Raena Joyce.
Open Air has a suggested donation of $12, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or folded seating that stays low to the ground. Aeggy’s pop-up kitchen will offer good eats during the event. Find out more about the event openspacevashon.com.