In August The Point played host to the 8th annual European Aerial Dance Festival (EADF), curated by Gravity & Levity. The event – which took place at The Point for the second year in a row – welcomed aerialists from around the world to the venue for two-weeks of professional training, delivered by world-class tutors.
Created to provide bespoke training in aerial arts, the EADF allows participants to hone their skills, aided by trained professionals in The Point’s spaces. The Eastleigh arts hub was selected to host the festival for the second year in a row because of its unrivalled facilities which includes a double-height, sprung floor Creation Space with on-site accommodation. The festival ran 8th to 19th August over two weeks; the first time since its inception in 2009.
"In August The Point was transformed to welcome high flying aerial artists into the venue. To see our beautiful spaces used for this ever growing aerial industry is extremely special. Working with Gravity & Levity we are building this work and developing more opportunities in the south, becoming a beacon for aerial dance and circus, and we look forward to seeing what’s next.” – Vicki Hargreaves, Dance Development Manager at The Point.
During the two weeks the EADF welcomed 66 people who had come to train in the aerial arts. Courses on offer included Corde Lisse, Cyr Wheel, and Aerial Dance Trapeze, taught by 13 expert teachers including Gravity & Levity’s own Artistic Director Lindsey Butcher. Aerialists of all levels travelled from around the world to attend the festival and The Point welcomed people from 15 different countries including the Netherlands, France, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain and from around the UK, placing Eastleigh on the cultural map.
“This year’s festival was the first to run over two week; we were delighted with the hugely positive feedback from everyone involved and are already planning next year’s event in response.” – Lindsey Butcher, EADF Festival Director
This year The Point partnered with the University of Winchester to offer accommodation to participants of the EADF, drawing those visiting the UK for the festival to other areas in Hampshire. Local people renting out rooms also benefited during the festival and the local economy also saw a boost during the two weeks, with local homeowners renting out rooms. At the end of each week tutors and participants shared their skills in an Open Space style sharing that was free and open to the public, offering local people the opportunity to see awe-inspiring aerial dance in an informal and relaxed environment that was available to all.
In August 2016 and at this year’s festival The Point hosted a round-table discussion as part of the EADF, inviting people into the building to discuss the landscape of dance and where the aerial arts sits within it. On 13th and 14th January 2018 Gravity & Levity, in association with One Dance UK and the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science, presents the first Aerial Dance Health Symposium. Created in response for the need to provide artists with more useful information on how to train in a healthy and safe way, the Symposium will be the first of what organisers hope to become a yearly event, continuing to provide support for aerial artists.
Recognising the need for further support and training for artists interested in a career in aerial and aerial dance, Gravity & Levity, in partnership with The Point, are working to highlight the importance of providing extra provisions for those seeking a career in the discipline.
In August 2018 the 9th European Aerial Dance Festival will be held at The Point. For more information visit: www.eadf.co.uk.