Fly-by-Night Dance Theater Will Present NYC Aerial Dance Festival 2024

Performances will take place on Friday, March 8 @ 7:30 PM and Saturday, March 9 @ 7:00 PM.

By: Feb. 11, 2024
Fly-by-Night Dance Theater Will Present NYC Aerial Dance Festival 2024

Fly-by-Night Dance Theater has announced their 9th NYC Aerial Dance Festival. The performances will feature Aerial Dancers on a variety of apparatus including: harness, trapeze, rope, canes, lyra, silks, and hammock. Threading the evening together will be the acclaimed performer Akim Funk Buddha, a multi-faceted performance artist whose music and movement will explore the areas between the floor and the air. The festival is produced as part of Fly-by-Night Dance Theater's mission to advocate for Aerial Dance as an expressive genre that encourages the blending of Concert Dance, Theater, Music, and Circus Skills.

Performances will take place at Five Angels Theater (789 Tenth Avenue, New York, NY 10019) on Friday, March 8 @ 7:30 PM and Saturday, March 9 @ 7:00 PM. Visit the button below for tickets.

Featured Choreographers include Cherie Carson / UpSwing Aerial Dance Company, Elise Knudson, Julie Ludwick / Fly-by-Night Dance Theater, Maia Ramnath & Medea Exogiinos, and New York Cat.

Performances include Special Musical Guest Akim Funk Buddha, Cecilia Fontanesi, Dorrian Maffei, Helium Valentine, Julie Ludwick, KC Hyland, Maia Ramnath & Medea Exogiinos, and New York Cat

UpSwing Aerial Dance Company will present Nordlys, an Aerial Dance trio that includes a combination apparatus of trapeze and harness which allows the dancers to both float and fly. Inspired by the northern lights, the dancers create the illusion of pulsing, bursts of light in the sky. The company will also present How Much Longer, a smoldering silks solo that portrays a woman who can't be bothered to reminisce when a love affair ends.

Cocoon, choreographed by Elise Knudson, is an ethereal depiction of emerging and descending within an aerial hammock. The work evokes a creature, insect, alien or both, exploring the physical texture of its environment.

Maia Ramnath & Medea Exogiinos will dance in their collaborative work Conjunction, a tale of two travelers, facing their own shadows. As the dancers' paths converge, each moves from witness to participant in the other's quest, changing one another's trajectory. The apparatus include span set, aerial canes, and rope.

Fly-by-Night Dance Theater will present the finale of Where Shall I Send My Joys?, choreographed by Julie Ludwick. This trapeze trio elevates the concept of cultivating joy in everyday life and features a commissioned drum score by Paul Uhry Newman.

In *Wise Enough*, choreographer and performer New York Cat expresses, through movement, their dream of our collective humanity finding its wisdom, with aerial hoop as their partner/apparatus.

Featured Artists and Companies

Akim Funk Buddha (Guest Musical Performer) is a multi-faceted performance artist with talents ranging from high-energy Classic Hip Hop rhymes, beat-boxing and Mongolian throat-singing, to body-balancing, martial arts, tap dance, and circus arts. Akim creates borderless performance art fusing sounds and movements. He is known for his holistic Approach to Hip Hop, drawing from a full spectrum of cultural traditions and artistic disciplines. Akim's exceptional stage productions transcend borders and has featured at prestigious venues such as The Kennedy Center (Washington DC), and throughout New York City including Central Park Summer Stage, The Blue Note ,The Whitney Museum (VH1 Hip Hop Honors), Lincoln Center Outdoors, Joe's Pub, The Winter Garden, La MaMa Theater & The Rubin Museum. His shows are featured annually at BAMCafé Live, The Brooklyn Academy of Music. He won the award for Best Choreography in New York's Fringe Festival where he choreographed for actors in the musical "Average Asian American.” Akim has made appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman and Sesame Street, and can be seen as an M.C. in the award winning Documentary “FreeStyle - The Art of Rhyme”.

Cherie Carson (UpSwing Aerial Dance Company) performed her first aerial dance piece in 1990 and has created more than 50 aerial pieces. Her first dance film in 1992, was named a finalist for the Robert Bennett Award in Los Angeles that year. Her choreography has been performed in a planetarium, on stilts, on rollerblades, in sculpture gardens, reflection pools, in a dress of 11 yards, on a bungee cord hanging from a Banyan tree, on trapeze, tissu, slings, rope, harness and invented apparatus. Her last six dance-for-camera films (2020 – 2022) have collectively been selected by 95 festivals around the world and have won 21 awards. Cherie currently resides in San Francisco Bay Area and is Artistic Director of UpSwing Aerial Dance Company based in Berkeley, CA. Since 2005, UpSwing has been a Berkeley destination for dancers and aerialists to lift their artistry and skills to new heights. Director Cherie Carson has a unique style that blends choreographed movement with improvisation and collaboration among her dancers and students. UpSwing specializes in merging dance with rope and harness, low flying trapeze (Motivity Trapeze), aerial slings, bungees, tissu, and other flying apparatuses. There are currently six performing dancers/aerialists in the company.

Elise Knudson ( is a New York City based dance artist. Over the years Elise has choreographed aerial dances, experimental installations and concert dances for stages large and small. She created NEXToNow, modeled after The Impermanent Society of Philadelphia, to provide a platform for the practice of performing interdisciplinary free improvisation. She is currently interested in developing fluidity between expressive media as well as between instantaneous and preordained choreography. As a dance educator Elise has taught Contact Improvisation (CI) for Movement Research and facilitates CI at festivals and studios such as Touch Festival (China), Leviathan Studio (Canada) WCCI Jam (Berkeley, USA) and Moab Jam (Utah). Elise has also taught repertory and CI at Manhattanville College, and Theory and Practice of Dance Improvisation at Yale University. Honored by the opportunity to perform improvised dance with Nancy Stark Smith, David Appel, Chris Aiken & Angie Hauser, Alicia Greyson, Bradley Teal Ellis and others, Elise is also grateful for the opportunity to perform choreography with various artists, including Christopher Williams, Jenni Hong Dance, Kiori Kawai/Purring Tiger, Risa Jaroslow, Jody Oberfelder, Koosil-ja/DANCE KUMIKO as a 'community member' with Bill T. Jones in Deep Blue Sea, Julie Ludwick and David Appel.

Julie Ludwick (Fly-by-Night Dance Theater) has created dozens of dances for Fly-by-Night Dance Theater for numerous venues including The Flea Theater, PS 122, Dixon Place, Dance Theater Workshop, The Kitchen, and Mabou Mines Theater as well as colleges around the U.S.. In 2022 Ludwick's evening-length work, Where Shall I Send My Joys? was presented by the CUNY Dance Initiative and the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College. The company's repertory has evolved to include evening-length pieces with video projection, theater, and live original music. Ludwick's Aerial Dance Technique has been featured in Dance Magazine, Paper Magazine, Time Out, and in a documentary from AfterEd TV. Ludwick has also been featured as an outstanding alum of Teachers College, Columbia University. Ludwick's theater credits include work for Mapou Production's How Papa Noel Forgot Haiti at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall starring Danny Glover. Her work has received support from: CUNY Dance Initiative, Mabou Mines Artists' Suite, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Meet the Composer, The Puffin Foundation, Frances Alexander Family Fund, Northern Manhattan Artist Alliance, The Cartwheel Foundation, The Kathryn and Ador Elnes Fund, The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, The New York City Council, and City Artists Corps, among others.

Maia Ramnath and Medea Exogiinos began working together on creative projects in 2018. In January 2024 they performed their evening-length mixed-media circus theater piece, Conjunction at Theater for the New City. Ramnath has created and performed many interdisciplinary works as co-founder/director of Constellation Moving Company, while also performing as a freelance aerialist and modern dancer with various artists including Pat Catterson & Dancers, Molissa Fenley, Fly-by-Night Dance Theater, Yonder Window Theater Company, Hybrid Movement Company, the Neopolitical Cowgirls, Lisa Natoli, Elise Knudson & Bianca Falco, Sarah Wollschlager's Surface to Air Dance, and the Merce Cunningham Repertory Understudy Group. Exogiinos began as a gymnast, competing in USAG's Tumbling and Trampoline and then pursued concert dance, training and performing with Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. After two years as a scholarship student at The Ailey School, Medea joined the second company of Martha Graham, dancing works by Martha Graham, Blanca Li, Carrie-Ellmore Tallitsch, Virginie Mecene, and Medea's own choreography at the Martha Graham Studio Theater, City Center, The Joyce, and BAM. Medea also appeared as a freelance artist for Francesca Harper Project, Buglisi Dance Theater, and Gloria McClean. Since discovering more creative flexibility in multi-disciplinary circus arts, Medea has performed at venues such as The Box, Secret Loft, House of Yes, and Slipper Room; and collaborated with Constellation Moving Company, Athena Entertainment, Hybrid Movement Company, and ABCirque.

New York Cat (they/them) has performed on NYC stages since 1998. An NYU Tisch graduate, their successful Professional Musical Theatre career was re-routed by a hit and run that broke their back, leading them into nightlife and aerial dance where their work has been prolific. Cat has danced with The Ghana National Dance Company, in National Tours and Union Regional productions, can be spotted on Broad City, High Maintenance, Incarnate, The Bridge, Law & Order, music videos and more. Since 2017 they've been teaching and coaching stretch, mobility, injury prevention and aerial hoop. As a Trans, Queer and Vegan Artist Activist, Cat strives to fight for the rights of LGBTQ, AFAB people, PoC, the Poor, Animals and the Environment through their Art as well as their organizing work with The Poor People's Campaign. You can connect with Cat on IG at @newyorkcat. 


Adults $25 (advance) $40 (at the door)
Students $15 (advance) $40 (at the door)
Available at the button below and (212) 627-4409