Gravity & Levity is an aerial dance company specialising in vertical dance, maximising the creative potential of artists, and developing audience imagination.
Artistic Director, Lindsey Butcher, launched the company in 2003 to explore the creative and expressive potential in applying a dance aesthetic to aerial suspension techniques, through artistic development, teaching and live productions.
We strive to create and present innovative aerial dance that redefines what and where a dance floor can be both for an audience and for ourselves. We present work that is accessible, relevant and offers an alternative perspective on traditional aesthetics in both dance and circus.
Running in parallel with our live production work, we are passionate about instigating, creating and developing quality training events and professional development opportunities for emerging and established professional aerial artists and teachers. You can find out more about our workshops, creative labs and symposium events in the Professional Development section of this site, and don’t forget to check out our annual European Aerial Dance Festival.
In 2003, we successfully applied for the Jerwood Circus Award to create a vertical dance duet, ‘Why’ with choreographer Fin Walker, which was presented at the Royal Opera House’s, Floral Hall, Covent Garden in 2004.
The creation of this piece was a key instigator for Gravity & Levity’s first touring theatre production, ‘Taking Flight.’
On ‘Taking Flight’, we brought together 6 different pieces, (3 live and 3 film) and wherever possible, sited them in varying locations and facings, inviting the audience to move around the work and make choices about their proximity and physical relationship to the work.
Fundamental to all of the pieces was a genuine fascination to explore the range of movement, dynamic and suspension gained whilst working at improbable angles, or when the dancers familiar relationship to the floor, weight and gravity was substantially changed.
Working with collaborators with whom the AD had already established a strong professional working relationship and physical dialogue grounded us in a strong foundation from which to begin exploring new work and territory.
It was quite an ambitious undertaking for a 1st touring production and easier said than done!
With ‘Shift’, our next touring production (2008), having learnt valuable lessons on ‘Taking Flight’, the initial ambition was to simplify the complex process of making and touring an aerial dance production. We wanted this piece to offer the same shifts in perspective and viewing choice to the audience, but to make it a more intimate experience by siting all the pieces within the same cohesive environment, thus containing it.
This production was ‘design led’, with the idea that the set would have its own journey through the performance, influencing and being influenced by the choreography and encouraging an organic co-existence between the pieces, whilst retaining the variety & versatility of a mixed programme. Phew, did I say simplify ….
Designer, Mish Weaver, responded to the working title ‘Shifting Planes, Emerging Landscapes…’ and the fact of aerial choreography, by seeking to move the set from a state of ground based solidity, through a measured outburst into the space and the air, to a point of disarray.
That was ‘Shift’.
Our 2014 touring production ‘Rites of War’, made in collaboration with choreographer Darshan Singh Bhuller had narrative as it’s main driver.
‘Rites of War’s ambition was to play during a period of remembrance as a meaningful, relevant and powerful work that would stimulate thought and debate, evoke empathy and speak of ordinary people in extraordinary situations, joining a growing body of work that responds to wars fought in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11.
With the aerial work in ‘RoW’ we were very clear that if it didn’t add to or (forgive the pun), heighten the narrative and impact it didn’t go in. We didn’t want to use aerial ‘trickery’ for its own sake, it had to earn its place.
In this instance the aerial dance element was used variously to stretch time, play with distance and proximity and at times, shift the audiences perspective of the action upending the dance floor to give a birds eye view of the action.
One of the ambitions for ‘RoW’ was to take the piece into alternative venues beyond the scope of our usual theatre touring circuit. The end of the Spring tour saw us mounting the piece in an active military hangar on an airfield as part of a commemoration event and in a church as part of our Autumn tour.
In a quest to further engage with new audiences and spaces, we began R&D for a new piece, working title ‘An Ordinary Grief’, in 2019. Our aims at this stage are to create an intimate aerial dance performance/installation for a ‘non-conventional’ performance venue. Let’s see where this one leads us…
Gravity & Levity exists as a project-based company and has a rich history of collaborating with extremely talented and respected artists, producers and technical management, many over several projects and operating under the Artistic Direction of Lindsey Butcher.
Since graduating from London School of Contemporary Dance, Lindsey has worked with numerous dance, opera, physical and street theatre companies both in the UK and internationally as dancer, aerialist, teacher, choreographer and advisor. These include;
Extemporary Dance Theatre, Random Dance Co (Brighton Festival), Walker Dance/Park Music, Darshan Singh Bhuller, Charlie Morrissey and Small Wonder, Vincent Dance Theatre, Siobhan Davies Dance Company, The Royal, Royal Danish, English National, Glyndebourne and Slovenian National Opera companies.
In 1989, Lindsey joined Ra – Ra Zoo Circus Theatre. Her circus credits to date in various roles as peformer, advisor & choreographer include: No Ordinary Angels, Green Candle & Amici Dance Co’s, Gandini Juggling Project, The Dream Engine, Desperate Men, Caravan Stage, Scarabeus, Momentary Fusion, Tango and Crash, Same Sky, ‘True’ with Fierce, ‘Wallpaper’ with Bedlam and Physical Recall, Fidget Feet, Drapes Aeriens, Stumble Circus, Yes/No’s ‘Lost and Found Orchestra’, ‘Prometheus Awakes’, ‘The Exhibitionists’, Metta Theatre, Upswing and Rogueplay.
Kevin Finnan http://www.motionhouse.co.uk/
Darshan Singh Bhuller
Charlotte Vincent http://www.vincentdt.com/
Charlie Linehan http://www.charleslinehan.co.uk/
Yael Flexor http://flexerandsandiland.com/
Mish Weaver http://www.stumbledancecircus.com/
Luke Cresswell/Steve McNicholas http://www.yesnoproductions.co.uk/
Johnny Autin http://autindancetheatre.com/
Vanessa Cook http://vanessacookdance.com/
Annelein Goetshalchx http://anneliengoetschalckx.weebly.com/bio.html
Jamie Higgins http://www.jamiehiggins.com/
Charlie Morrissey http://www.charliemorrissey.com/
Jennifer Paterson http://www.aerialdance.co.uk
John Paul Zaccarini
Simon Edwards http://www.aerialrigger.com/
Soren Nielsen http://www.scarabeus.co.uk/
Joe White http://www.highperformanceproductions.net/JoeWhite.html
Holly Murray http://hollymcostume.co.uk/
Will Reynolds http://www.mettatheatre.co.uk/
Mark Morreau http://www.morreaux.com/
Will Reynolds (Rites of war) http://www.mettatheatre.co.uk/
Carl Stevenson (‘From Where I’m Standing’ from ‘Taking Flight’ film)
Becky Edmunds (‘The Way I See It’ from ‘Taking Flight’) http://beckyedmunds.com/
Jane Hodge (‘Wallflower’ from ‘Taking Flight’)
Tech and production team
Mark Morreau http://www.morreaux.com/
Johan Persson https://perssonphotography.com/
Norton Asbury http://www.asburyart.co.uk/
Jym Daly http://www.fidgetfeet.com/
Zoe Manders http://www.zoemanders.com/
Elaine Mayson http://www.elainemaysonphotography.co.uk/
David Loyn, (BBC Afghanistan correspondent, Rites of War)
Darshan Singh Bhuller, (Siren Song)
Charlie Morrissey, (Taking Flight & Re-flex) http://www.charliemorrissey.com/
Matilda Leyser, (‘Falling Up’ from ‘Taking Flight’) http://www.improbable.co.uk/team/matilda-leyser/
Flick Ferdinando, (‘From Where I’m Standing’ from ‘Taking Flight’ film)
Rigging Design Engineers
Siobhan Davies, (‘Proposition lab’) http://www.siobhandavies.com/
Fin Walker, (‘Proposition lab’)
Melly Still, (‘Proposition lab’)
Christian From, (‘Rites of War’)
Ruth Janssen, (‘Rites of War’ and new R&D)
Welly O’Brien, (‘Rites of War’ R&D)
Naomi Giffen, (‘Siren Song’) http://zu-aerial.com/
Hazel Maddocks, (‘Siren Song’) http://zu-aerial.com/
Carrie Whittaker, (‘Siren Song’) http://www.liladance.co.uk/
Mickael Marso Riviere, (‘Shift’) http://www.marsoriviere.com/
EADF, PALI tutors/speakers
Jacques Bertrand http://www.drapes-aeriens.com/
Lauren Breunig http://www.laurenbreunig.com/
Tina Carter http://www.airhedz.co.uk/
Gary Carter https://www.naturalbodies.co.uk/
Fred Deb http://www.drapes-aeriens.com/
Bryan Donaldson http://www.highperformanceproductions.net/
Sarah Bebe Holmes http://www.paperdollmilitia.com/
Rachel Freeman http://www.everybodydance.org.uk/
Naomi Giffen http://zu-aerial.com/
Jamie Higgins http://www.jamiehiggins.com/
Kate Lawrence http://www.verticaldancekatelawrence.com/
Chantal McCormick http://www.fidgetfeet.com/
Vicki Mcmanus http://www.thecircusproject.co.uk/
Kieran Melikoff http://mellikofpilates.com/
Lorraine Moynehan (Flo)
Jennifer Patterson http://www.aerialdance.co.uk
Serenity Smith https://www.necenterforcircusarts.org
Oliver Smith Wellnitz http://www.oliversw.com/#about
Philippa Vafadari http://www.bandbazi.co.uk/
Stephanie Yipp http://www.performhealth.com/
Chenine Bhathena – ‘Taking Flight’
Emma Haughton/Arts Agenda – ‘Shift’, ‘Siren Song’
Judith Hibberd/Lucy Moore – ‘Rites of War’
Board of Directors
Dr Penelope Lynch
G&L have no roles to fill at present.
G&L are not currently auditioning for Company members
G&L are currently seeking new board members. Please get in touch