Aeros may remind some audiences of Soleil, the surreal artistic physical theater that has become a Las Vegas attraction — but it shouldn't, according to Daniel Ezralow.
"It is something entirely different," he said during a telephone interview from Los Angeles. Ezralow is co-artistic director of this unique troupe, along with David Parsons and Moses Pendleton. The dance company fuses gymnastics, performance art and dance.
"We didn't want to create a dance performance, and we didn't want to create a gymnastics show," Ezralow said. "But we did want the performers to understand this was going to be a performance-arts stage production."
Salt Lake City will get a chance to see the Aeros Company blur the lines of dance and sport when it makes a stop in Kingsbury Hall on Monday and Tuesday.
Aeros actually began as an advertisement gimmick in 1999 for the hairspray Pantene Pro-V with Elastesse. Ezralow, Parsons and Pendleton were called to choreograph an ad using Romanian gymnasts. Aeros then bloomed into an actual touring company that combined athleticism and artistry when the three collaborated with "Stomp" creators Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas.
Ezralow, Parson and Pendleton have known each other on and off throughout their careers. And all three know the concept of physical performance art. Pendleton was part of Pilobolus, Parsons started off as a trampolinist before he and and Pendelton worked together in MOMIX, and Ezralow and Parsons were in the Paul Taylor Dance Company. (Utah audiences have seen Ezralow's work before. He choreographed "Prelude de L'Olympiad" for the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company's Winter Olympiad performance.)
"Dancers are emotional athletes," said Ezralow. "They express emotions through their bodies. Gymnasts are physical athletes. They are performing to win a gold medal. They are goal-oriented. Our challenge with the concept of Aeros was to help the gymnasts adjust to the idea of being on a performance stage."
The gymnasts are all members of the Romanian Sports Aerobics team, said Ezralow. "There are three types of gymnastic styles. The first is one that has been around for thousands of years. It's called artistic gymnastics. It uses rings and the pommel horse. The second is rhythmic gymnastic that has been around for the last 25 years that features longer bodies. The last is sports aerobic gymnastics, which, I believe, emerged from the aerobics craze. But the movements are more tactical and developed."
So, in a way, said Ezralow, Aeros is a super-intense version of a sports aerobic show. "This is a show comprised of segments that display the human physical body in an artistic way."
He added that the works featured in this production were basically sculpted out of the award-winning gymnasts' capabilities. "They understand how a body can move. And that's how we choreographed the works. Then Dave, Moses and I came in with our theatrical knowledge and fine-tuned the works."
However, the raw energy of gymnastics will not be lost in the staging. "There's nothing like the emotional thrill of a body hurling through space," Ezralow said.
Where: Kingsbury Hall
When: Jan. 27 and 28, 7:30 p.m.
How much: $25-$35
Phone: 581-7100, 355-2787 or 1-888-451-2787