chapter
8 Pages

Introduction

Audiences everywhere appreciate aerialists. The suspension of a body seems to heighten its aesthetic qualities and beauty. I watch aerial acts, often tensely, with enjoyment and admiration, just like people of all ages and backgrounds in any number of countries. This is an international story: from its nineteenthcentury beginnings with the graceful Frenchman, Léotard, leaping between trapeze bars, to the radical feats of his English female imitator, Azella, executing a somersault to a partner’s grasp. In the twentieth century, the story spans North America’s remarkable husband-and-wife flyers Arthur and Antoinette Concello, the unequalled Mexican family flying troupes and the striking, rapid action of Russian teams in Canada’s Cirque du Soleil productions.