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BYU Arts Bravo

‘Gravity and Other Myths’ Acrobats Show BYU Students How to Defy Gravity

Acrobatic Gravity Artists Taught BYU Dance Students How to Trust Their Individual and Collective Talents in Their Masterclass

Photo by Emma Olson

Gravity and Other Myths (GOM) wowed BYU students by showing how putting trust in another artist in the moment can produce spectacular and jaw-dropping results.

On Tuesday, Apr. 11, BYU dancers soared to new heights with GOM, a group of seven daring acrobats. The group taught a masterclass at Brigham Young University as part of the BRAVO! Professional Performing Arts series.

Gravity and Other Myths (GOM) is “an Australian circus company pushing the boundaries of contemporary circus. GOM’s work utilizes an honest approach to performance to create shows with a focus on human connection and acrobatic virtuosity.”

The group led BYU students in a series of poses and stretches that required two partners to counterbalance each other. Those partners include a “base” and a “flyer” that balance each other in interesting positions.

Only one of the artists' positions was stable as one artist’s weight balanced the other weight. GOM guided the BYU dancers through these exercises starting with easy instructions and slowly progressing in difficulty. Due to the importance of the counterbalance working, many of these poses required trust between partners in order to execute them successfully.

At first, several poses ended in faceplants because they required careful balance. One pose the students attempted to master entailed the base sitting in a squat position while the flyer climbed on their knees. The flyer faced outward and put their hands in the air while the base leaned farther back to balance the weight. One of the students referred to this position as the “next level titanic.”

The students began performing these poses on their own as the Gravity acrobats worked their way around the room, giving critiques and tips.

Alyssa Liljenquist, a BYU student majoring in dance education, said the gravity acrobats inspired her. “They made each person look like they’re as light as a feather every time they go into something. They were good at communicating each small detail that went into the moves.”

While this masterclass was certainly a process of trial and error as BYU students attempted different poses and stunts again and again, they learned how to trust themselves and each other.

Callie Floyd, a dance major, said, “A lot of times as a dancer, either you’re the base or you’re the flyer. It was fun to trade off and to trust each other and see how different lifts came together.” Floyd enjoyed learning these counterbalance positions and she felt that by having a partner she could trust in, she accomplished more than she ever thought she could by herself.

“I definitely learned more about stability and balance, [and] how to trust my peers and myself,” said Liljenquist.