Must See Art

Heaven on earth: The Long Center goes aerial with Blue Lapis Light's newest performance

Heaven on earth: The Long Center goes aerial with Blue Lapis Light's newest performance

austin photo set: news_shelley_sept_2012_blue lapis light
Photo by Geoff Hammond/Hammondovi Courtesy of The Long Center
austin photo set: news_shelley_sept_2012_blue lapis light
Photo by Geoff Hammond/Hammondovi Courtesy of The Long Center
austin photo set: news_shelley_sept_2012_blue lapis light
Photo by Geoff Hammond/Hammondovi Courtesy of The Long Center
austin photo set: news_shelley_sept_2012_blue lapis light
Photo by Geoff Hammond/Hammondovi Courtesy of The Long Center
austin photo set: news_shelley_sept_2012_blue lapis light
austin photo set: news_shelley_sept_2012_blue lapis light
austin photo set: news_shelley_sept_2012_blue lapis light
austin photo set: news_shelley_sept_2012_blue lapis light

Performers will be falling from the sky at the Long Center this month — or at least that's how it appears.

Heaven-Earth-One is a site-specific aerial dance performance by the Blue Lapis Light company, that carries the audience on a visual journey of transcendence. This piece features dancers on the terrace ring, columns, aerial silks, zip lines and plaza of the Long Center. Zip lines stretch from the roof of the theater down to the terrace ring, allowing dancers to descend over the heads of the audience.

 Using aerial techniques informed by classical and modern dance, Blue Lapis challenges physical limitations, inspiring audiences with a sense of wonder. 

For several years, Blue Lapis Light has transformed prominent and historic buildings in Austin into uplifting works of beauty. Heaven-Earth-One follows the ongoing mission of Blue Lapis Light to create transcendent works of beauty that are offered, without religious denomination, as prayers for the planet.

Using aerial techniques informed by classical, interpretive and modern dance, Blue Lapis Light is committed to challenging physical limitations and inspiring audiences with a sense of wonder.

The Long Center and Blue Lapis are also working with Austin Energy to create a carbon neutral performance. For one night of the run, they will use the Austin Energy Solar Trailer, plus other internal energy-saving measures to completely offset the energy expenditure of the performance, resulting in an entire performance of Heaven-Earth-One will have no carbon footprint.

Blue Lapis Light was founded in 2005 by Artistic Director Sally Jacques whose work encompasses social, political and spiritual themes, exploring movement through the air. Stephen Mills of Ballet Austin calls Jacques the "Christo of dance." In its latest performance, Blue Lapis Light will explore the spectacle movement through air with the beautiful Austin nighttime skyline as the backdrop.

"Part of what makes the Long Center unique is our special focus on local talent," says Paul Beutel, Managing Director. "We are always thrilled when local companies can use our various stages and other spaces to showcase the amazing work being done right here in Austin. Blue Lapis Light is a nationally recognized dance company that uses our City Terrace in such a provocative and innovative way!"

Blue Lapis Light’s name draws from Ghandi’s description of a meditation practice, wherein the soul merges with Eternal consciousness taking the form of blue light. Blue Lapis’ works are mostly large-scale productions, taking place in non-traditional public environments: warehouses, abandoned structures, federal buildings, power plants or scaffolding at the shores of Lady Bird Lake.

The company’s first aerial rig was a rope strung across an abandoned swimming pool where a dancer in a net was pulled from one side to the other. With each work, dancers now explore new apparatuses and develop aerial vocabulary complimentary to the possibility and synergy of on-site collaboration.

In June 2006 the company transformed the iconic Intel Shell, an unfinished building in downtown Austin, by creating a tribute to life’s transcendence. Requiem featured dancers floating 75 feet from the ground, moving in and out of concrete columns and dancing on guy wire salvaged from the building itself. Over 14,000 people attended these performances.

"I always wonder how they are going to top their last performance, and each time they come up with something totally new and exciting," Beutel says.

"Blue Lapis Light always provides such a visually stunning experience. Without giving away too much about the performance, we can tell you that someone has been working on rigging a zip line from the highest point of the Long Center's roof to the top of the ring beam on our City Terrace. Now, that has show-stopper written all over it!"

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Heaven-Earth-One will be performed from Sept. 9-12, 14-15 and 17-19 at 9 p.m., on the Long Center's City Terrace. Tickets can be purchased here for $12 to $54. Sunday, Sept. 9 is Pay-What-You-Choose Night and the show starts at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11 will feature a pre-show musical performance from Mother Falcon at 8:15 p.m.