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New type of dance that doesn't require a floor

By KSL.com  |  Posted May 9th, 2011 @ 6:16pm


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SALT LAKE CITY -- What do you get when you cross a scientist and a hairdresser? No, it's not some silly riddle, but two friends who decided to transform a casual hobby into a full-time ownership position as co-owners of Aerial Arts of Utah.

They're not your typical dancers; in fact, they're not dancers at all.

Annie Kocherhans, a hair stylist of many years, and Deborah Eppstein, a scientist and small stem cell company owner, quickly took an interest into a unique style of dance.

Once a week, Deborah and Annie pick their feet up off of the floor and dance.


It's called aerial dance. It's a combination of circus arts and dance, that's how I see it.

–Annie Kocherhans


"It's called aerial dance," Annie described. "It's a combination of circus arts and dance, that's how I see it."

Neither Annie or Deborah had ever seen anything like it until two years ago. The two were introduced to aerial dancing at a festival where a group from New York was performing on a fabric -- a suspended piece of cloth that dancers use to perform various actions.

Seeing the dance for the first time, Annie said: "It was just unbelievably beautiful. I'd never seen anything like it."

"We were just looking at it saying, I want to do that," added Deborah. "I could do that."

And they did, enrolling at a local aerial dance school.

"We loved it the more we did it," Annie said. "We did trapeze; we did aerial fabric."

Although Annie and Deborah are not professionally trained dancers, the two have developed a love for aerial dancing, taking it to new levels. Deborah even installed a fabric and a trapeze in her dining room.

"Well, there was a place for it," Deborah laughed. "At the end of a long day, if you hang upside down, it just helps relieve tension."


At the end of a long day, if you hang upside down, it just helps relieve tension.

–Deborah Eppstein


A year ago, the director of Revolve Aerial Dance decided to move back East. The two women had the same thought.

"We jumped right in and bought the company," Annie said.

So now the scientist and hairdresser run Aerial Arts of Utah, where they teach and learn more than dance.

"I think as we get older, we have a tendency to stop doing things," Annie said. "We get afraid to do things. It's really important that we push ourselves a little out of our box -- a little out of our comfort zone."

In fact, Deborah and Annie are two aerial dancers who are afraid of heights, but have managed to set aside their fears.

"Up in the air, I'm not inhibited," Deborah said.

"It's a panic feeling when I've been at heights," added Annie. "I think, okay, you know, you're going to be okay."

Deborah and Annie have a new confidence to try new things.

"When you come down, then you say ‘wow,' I did that. Did anyone see that, I did that?"

Aerial Arts of Utah will perform May 21 at 7:30 at SugarSpace in Salt Lake City.

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Written by Peter Rosen and Josh Furlong.

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