Up in the Air

03/19/2014 2:59 PM

03/19/2014 3:53 PM

For someone who spends as much time up in the air as Charlotte dancer Caroline Calouche, she certainly has her feet on the ground when it comes to promoting her unique brand of aerial dance. Her troupe, Caroline Calouche & Co. was established in 2005 and Charlotte audiences have been both charmed and spellbound by their work ever since.

“Growing up in Gastonia I took classical dance and ballet,” said Calouche, who received BFA degrees in Ballet and Modern Dance at Texas Christian University and had years of supplemental training and experience in Europe before returning to Charlotte. “When I first was exposed to aerial dance through the Brenda Angiel Aerial Dance Company, I was fascinated and knew someday I’d need to further explore to make my mark with this style of dance. Starting a company here, I wanted to make sure I had something unique and something that would set us apart.”

Calouche, 34, saw an opportunity to promote contemporary dance in a community that had been to that point raised mostly on classical and traditional dance. She knew there was an appetite for dance that literally pushed boundaries from the floor skyward. Attending a Caroline Calouche & Co. performance transports audiences onto the back of her gazelle-like dancers and has them flirting with whimsy and athleticism.

Calouche has captivated local residents, corporate clients and education outreach partners for years with her dramatic and physical choreography that takes dancer off the floor and into nimble movement from silks that hang from the rafters, trapeze, harnesses, cubes, aerial loops and sophisticated riggings similar to what’s used in rock climbing.

“We work very hard at not giving away our tricks,” said Calouche. Those who view her shows see flawless dance and in-flight choreography that seems effortless and is anything but. “Our programming strives for cross generational appeal. We love it when families come because our work offers something for everyone.”

The troupe employs four main dancers including Calouche and more than a dozen adjunct performers. One of only a small handful of resident companies affiliated with the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, dance lovers can take in the troupe’s four primary performances at a very intimate venue found in the Booth Playhouse.

The “Spring Forward” program featured in April is a repertory concert that showcases some of Calouche’s best and most innovative work. Audiences should be on the lookout for “Black Coffee” a collaboration involving the troupe and Charlotte Blues singer Nita B as they use 4 movements to tell a tale of heartache, anxiety and infidelity.

The company also brings the family friendly “Star Gazer: A Trek into Outer Space” to the Booth in April taking viewers to the stars and back escorted by young Stella.

To say that Caroline Calouche & Co.’s future is “up in the air” is just fine with Calouche. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

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