The Air Apparent

At tonight’s Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival, spectators can catch sixteen of the country’s up-and-coming aerialists as they compete for inter-national honors in the hoop, strap, silk and trapeze categories. The festival was created as a place for aerial performers to display their skills for a panel of judges, many of whom have worked for Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Brothers. More than 100 circus artists and aerialists submitted videos of their work; the very best were chosen for this weekend’s event. “Many of the artists competing have been doing performances in nightclubs or for private events, so this gives them a chance to be seen by top-level professionals and get a chance to take their career to the next level,” says Tatanya Hamermesh, the fest’s general director.

The art of the trapeze is in Hamermesh’s DNA; she’s been training in circus arts since childhood, and her mother, former Denver Public Schools boardmember Lynn Coleman, founded the Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival in 2011. Coleman herself has been performing since she was a toddler, traveling the world with her family’s many trapeze acts; that family stretches back to Colorado’s Imperial Flyers, the oldest continuously operating flying-trapeze club in the world.

The festival is now in full swing at the Eugenia Rawls Courtyard Theater in the King Center, 855 Lawrence Way on the Auraria campus. Aerial competition performances take place at 7 p.m. tonight and tomorrow night; tickets are $35. Various workshops will also be held throughout the weekend for both trained aerialists and beginners. For more information, visit
May 30-31, 7 p.m., 2014

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Bree Davies is a multimedia journalist, artist advocate and community organizer born and raised in Denver. Rooted in the world of Do-It-Yourself arts and music, Davies co-founded Titwrench experimental music festival, is host of the local music and comedy show Sounds on 29th on CPT12 Colorado Public Television and is creator and host of the civic and social issue-focused podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? Her work is centered on a passionate advocacy for all ages, accessible, inclusive, non-commercial and autonomous DIY art spaces and music venues in Denver.
Contact: Bree Davies