Saturday, December 10, 2022

Scholarship Student Profiles

Fly-by-Night Dance began offering FREE Somatic Aerial Classes to dancers of color over a dozen years ago. Participants from this FREE audition class have been offered scholarships to join the company class. Some scholarship folks have moved on to other aerial and dance work, others have come back again and again to "drink from the somatic aerial well" these classes offered.

Below are profiles on a few students that have taken many classes with us. They became an integral part of the Fly-by-Night Dance community and helped guide the training and the company in new directions.


Classes with Fly-by-Night have really helped my dancing to grow. It has been great to explore integrating floor dance and aerial work in this unique way. This combination isn’t offered in other aerial classes.

The technique is very thoughtful and it offered me a chance to do more improvisation which was previously outside of my comfort zone. The classes were a nice way to open myself up to that aspect of dance.

The Skinner Releasing Technique helped me gain technical understanding that applies both on and off the aerial apparatus.




Wendy joined the board in January of 2015 and has helped guide the company through many seasons. These are her notes on this experience:

Being on the FBN board helped me to see dance from beginning to end. Now I can say that I understand all that goes behind the scenes and what makes dance companies possible. 
Dance is a business and seeing the professional end of a dance company opened up my eyes to to how they are the same as other businesses. 
Dance is more than the glitz and the glamor that goes on the stage; it is planning and financial considerations that make performances and training programs possible.


I started as a scholarship student in 2018. I had no experience with aerial or somatic dance and I thought the training would help me diversify my dancing. 

It was a challenge for me to get out of my head for the somatic and improvisational work.


The work is special in the way it pairs  Skinner Releasing Technique (SRT) with Aerial Dance. SRT assists the Aerial work but also improves my daily movement. I dance more full-bodied now and with more ease and presence.


In 2020 I had the opportunity to rehearse and perform with the company as part of their 20th Anniversary season. 


It was a great way to dig into the repertory and work on making a role my own. 

It means a lot to be a dancer of color on stage and to see dancers of color integrated in class together.


Fly-by-Night Dance creates an inclusive and welcome environment in an industry that often feels inaccessible and exclusive.


Each class is a reset; I let go of tension that accumulates through the week.


I'm in a roomful of wonderful people who are there to work in an egoless environment.


A different kind of work is being done here; I recommend the classes.




Please consider a contribution to Fly-by-Night's Programs via our online campaign HERE

Join our #FlyingInto2023 campaign by donating $23 by December 23 for 2023! 


2023 FREE Scholarship Audition Class: Sunday, January 15 11 am

Help us celebrate the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr Day 

More info HERE

Sunday, November 20, 2022


What Makes Aerial Work So Challenging to finance and produce?



Aerial Work - It Just Costs More

Price of studio space  - Aerialists always pay more for studio space than  floor dance folks do. Sometimes this means a higher per-hour rate but it can also mean paying fees for things like ladders or genie lifts.

Insurance - Aerial renters need insurance for liability and Workers Compensation and Disability. Other independent choreographers with small budgets often get by without having these things. We purchase insurance year-round in order to offer workshops as well as to rehearse and perform. Of course insurance for Aerial Dance also costs more than insurance for floor dance.

Rigging - we need to purchase and to replace rigging on a regular basis. Swivels cost $70, steel carabiners rated for live weight are $16 each, the rope we use is $1/foot. It all adds up!


photo below by Fred Hatt

 Creating expressive Aerial moves requires time. I'm talking years to pioneer an art form that invents new movement vocabulary. Everyone has their own process for this. We apply Modern Dance choreographic tools to mine the potential of the aerial apparatus. We've spent 20 years building movement vocabulary and we are always working to expand this as well as to train new dancers.   
Expressive vocabulary needs to be invented and refined and the dancers need time in the apparatus to do it well.


Time & Patience for Single-Point Apparatus

We hang from a single-point (rather than 2 points like a swing). 

The makes the apparatus an unreliable dancing partner because every small shift of weight can send one spinning out of control and often the apparatus wants to send your body in a different direction than you had intended (or what was choreographed).

BTW: this leads to an aspect of Single point apparatus that is attractive about this work - we never completely control a single point apparatus so we must cultivate an improvisational state of mind and this edge has an aliveness to it that is very interesting to watch. So, sometimes the negative is actually a postive.

It takes a long time to find the balance of control and improvisation and dancers need to train both mindsets. 

Strength Challenges

Aerial work takes strength. Most people underestimate how much strength it takes, particularly when a body is flying through space; momentum can create triple the amount of force of one's body weight. 

Doing static aerial work is one thing, flying around while hanging on is another. Chin up bars at home help but they are not the same; our bodies are built so that strength is task-specific so Aerial Dance strength requires working with the apparatus in the studio.

Finding and training dancers who can bring the subtleties of concert dance to dancing in the air takes additional rehearsal & training time. Dancers need strength and have to learn the intricacies of the apparatus.  

This takes an investment in dance technique (time in aerial class and rehearsal).


Limited Performance Opportunities

When small dance companies want exposure, they apply to showcases that allow their repertory to be shown to new audiences. Most showases cannot accommodate Aerial rigging because the space/ceiling isn't workable for rigging and/or because rigging takes additional time in the space to set up. Since most showcases also have limited budgets, they don't allow Aerial Dance choreographers to apply for their showases.

We need a marketing budget to build our audiences and to sell tickets.


Aerial Dance allows audiences and dancers to experience life in expressive and often joyful ways.



Please consider supporting us through our Go Fund Me Campaign HERE

photos by Fred Hatt

Monday, August 1, 2022

Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival 2022

During the first week of July Fly-by-Night joined a host of other somatic dance educators for the 2022 conference held at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. After our long COVID hiatus, it was grounding to re-gather as educators and artists to share our strong belief in the power of somatic dancing.

The conference included four days of workshops and performances in which Julie presented her workshop on Cultivating Joy and joined Maia Ramnath and Chriselle Tidrick in performing a trio from Where Shall I Send My Joys? Here is a picture post-performance.

Below are warm up pictures of the dancers in the  beautiful performing arts facilities of the Demming Dance Theater Building.

Maia in the studio.

Chriselle running through the dance in the upper lobby area.

The conference would not happen each year without the amazing organization of Cynthia Williams - shown here doing box office (one of over a dozen duties she does during the conference).  

 This year Cynthia also contributed a stellar performance in a solo. Isn't it amazing how many things can one female dancer can accomplish?

 Three of the favorite performers and presenters are pictures below: Willam (Bill) Evans, who heads the conference each  year, Claire Porter, and Don Halquist.


A special thanks to the amazing tech crew that also made all the performances run smoothly: 

Techical Director Mark Wenderlich  (who helped Julie rig for the show)

Production Coordinator Bill Burd (who holds the record for being the quickest stage manager to know his cues that I have ever met).

Sound and Light board operators Bryna Gage and Emma Yeager.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

All Too Routine In This Country

I am going to veer slightly off the topic of art in this blog post to discuss human rights because art isn't going to matter anymore to the 10 people who were shot dead last Saturday in Buffalo New York. 


As an individual who attempts to "lead" a non-profit, it is important to pause and label what is happening in the state (and country) where I live and where I try to make sense of the world through the process of creating art.



Unfortunately the incident in Buffalo New York on Saturday was neither shocking nor unusual; it was typical of what goes on in this country. It is not uncommon in the U.S. that 10 people are killed by a white supremacist because he looked at their skin color and didn't think they had a right to be alive.

I'm not going to address the fact that 18-year olds can't buy alcohol but in this state but easily purchase  assault rifles (though that certainly doesn't help the situation).

I just think it is time to call attention to the fact that white supremacists are NOT living on the fringes of society in this country, and white supremacist ideas aren't only found in the dark corners of the internet. 

Every night millions of living rooms in this country tune into "news" programs that discuss Replacement Theory which fuels white supremacist actions, including actions like buying assault rifles and killing people of color.

Politicians regularly discuss replacement theory and other similar ideas to millions of people, including 18-year olds who can buy assault rifles and walk into stores to kill people of color.

Words are where hate starts but they can also be where hate stops.

So, I'm taking a moment from business (and blog posts) as usual to label things as they are. The legacy of hate in this country is very deep. And, if we can't name what is going on, we can't change it. 

 So let's call out what is being said every day in this country, let's identify it for what it is (white supremacist thinking) and what is does (spreads hate).

Maybe, just maybe, if we agree on the reality of this situation we can then come together to change it in our homes, our schools, through our art, and by our actions.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Reflections from Joy Workshops

 It is quite true that joy is contagious!

The participants of our joy workshops have proved that all  over again. 

Through meditation, movement and reflections on paper, all participants found a pathway to their own  joy and ways to share it.

To schedule your own Joy Workshop, 

contact us at

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Meet The Artists for Where Shall I Send My Joy?

 So Much Talent in One Place!

In every show, I discover the depth of amazing artists. Our latest show is no exception. The dance literally would not have been made without these two dancers: Maia Ramnath and Cecilia Fontanesi.

Maia Ramnath has a myriad of aerial and floor dance skills and a capacity to work quickly and for long periods of time without a word of complaint; what a godsend! 

Her dancing never ceases to amaze me (and then, it gets even better!)

I especially love her eagerness to embrace finding joys in everyday life.  

Photo: Andrew T. Foster

Cecilia Fontanesi has both an aerial and a somatic background and she is able to blend these skills so that she moves like liquid. 

Her solo in the new work showcases both of these aspects of her dancing.

She is a thinking dancer and a problem solver and I am always  grateful for her suggestions.



photo: Wanda Moretti


When we began the project, I was injured and could only partially show movements. Each dancer found a way to interpret what was being asked of them and the work emerged. So much dedication and such open minds!


Now that we have so much dance material, the work is expanding through the addition of Paul Uhry Newman's music.

Paul is a percussionist in the Haitian tradition but also so much more - a published poet, a composer who creates instruments from a myriad of objects, and a man with a wicked sense of humor.

As we fill up the space visually, he matches it audibly. Each art form is a language but they can be spoken at the same time.




None of the material would be stitched together without the theater direction and script work of James Bosley. It was incredible how quickly he was able to see the possibilities of  what we had and helped shape it into one, complete piece.  James' work as a playwright and Founding Artistic Director for Northern Manhattan's UP Theater Company makes him a great fit for the project. He is a dream collaborator: his expertise is immense, his ego is not.

And, working with videographer Cristobal Vivar again is always a pleasure; he arrives with an open mind and is willing to walk into the depths of the forest to capture the footage we need, even when we find ourselves standing in poison ivy!

Cristobal also creates amazing photos for us and for his business,

Hope to see you at the show!

Julie Ludwick

Artistic Director



CUNY Dance Initiative and
the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College
Fly-by-Night Dance Theater in the World Premiere


Where Shall I Send My Joys?

Performances with Aerial-Dance & Live Music


Friday, April 1, 2022 @ 7:30 pm


Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College
524 West 59th Street between 10th & 11th Ave, NYC NY 10019


Tickets available HERE


Thursday, January 6, 2022

Share A Joy

 Unusual sunset

A few nights ago I looked out my south-facing kitchen window and discovered the sky was aflame with an unusual sunset. I called out to my son who said, "I know, I just took a picture from my window."  A few minutes later I looked again; at this point the sky was even more unusual than before. Again I called to my son and he, along with my husband and myself, began taking pictures which we then share with friends and family via text.

This was a moment of joy. Looking up at the sky is an age-old way to bring people together. It can awaken in us an inner sense of wonder.

What wonders have you seen recently that brought you together with others or gave you a sense of connection to the universe?

We invite your comments...