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Identity in the air

Dance company uses structures as their stage, performing aerial feats that take lots of core strength.

September 24, 2010|By Candice Baker
  • Project Bandaloop performs on the walls of the Orange County Performing Arts Center in 2007.
Project Bandaloop performs on the walls of the Orange… (Photo courtesy…)

Defying gravity is second nature to Amelia Rudolph.

The artistic director of Project Bandaloop sends her dancers to ever-greater heights, leaping and turning at 90-degree angles along the sides of bridges, skyscrapers and even mountains.

Founded in 1991, Project Bandaloop was first and last seen at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in 2007. The company will return Sept. 30 and perform three nights on the outside wall of Segerstrom Hall — including a world-premiere work commissioned by the center for its 2010-11 Dance Series season opener.

"IdEgo" will be accompanied with an original composition and live performance by Dana Leong, who also will be perched on the side of Segerstrom Hall. Along with "IdEgo," the company will revisit a previous piece, now known as "The Ninth Second."

Each performance site poses a unique set of challenges and opportunities for dancer and choreographer alike, Rudolph said.

"The wall at Segerstrom Hall is sort of ideal for us," she said. "There's rarely a building that is like a vertical proscenium stage, and it is flawless in that it doesn't have windows or lampposts that jut out, and the building is smooth and beautiful, and has an architectural grid on it, and is the right height. The height allows us to maximize what we do well within the view of the audience. It's a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful place."

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Offering free performances like those in Costa Mesa is one of the key elements of Project Bandaloop's mission statement, Rudolph said.

"We are trying to make dance accessible to wide and diverse audiences," she said. "And over the years we have had the luxury and opportunity to be able to perform publicly at no cost to the audience. We do it more than many companies are able to, and so we consider ourselves ambassadors of the arts."

This is due to the sponsorship of various organizations like the James Irvine Foundation and the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Rudolph said. The company has taken its mind-bending performances around the world, including a week in India earlier this year.

For "IdEgo," the company rehearsed on a building in downtown Oakland.

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