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Meet Nancy Smith of Frequent Flyers® Aerial Dance in Boulder

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nancy Smith.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Frequent Flyers® Aerial Dance is a non-profit founded in 1988 by Artistic Director, Nancy Smith. We are celebrating our 31st year. Our organization has a robust education program encompassing over 43 community classes a week, summer camp and intensives, a student company with over 40 members, and outreach programming for at-risk youth and pre-professional training for teens and adults. We have taught over 21,000 students the joy of dancing in the air. The Professional Performing Company has won many awards and accolades, including the recently resounding success at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Over 205,000 audience members have experienced the beauty and strength of our performances.

Frequent Flyers® also created the first international Aerial Dance Festival, celebrating its 21st year in 2019. Our dedicated facility has two large studios with 23′ ceilings and more than 4,500 sq.ft. of training and rehearsal space. Frequent Flyers is considered the flagship aerial dance organization in the world.

Mission
Frequent Flyers® mission is to create and promote the magic of aerial dance through performance and education.

Our vision is to help people to see the world from a new perspective through experiencing the upside-down realm of aerial dance. We believe this expanded consciousness helps people to maximize their creative potential.

Has it been a smooth road?
In the beginning, there were only about 12 of us in the U.S. exploring the relatively new art form of Aerial Dance. Within the dance community, it was initially viewed as “gimmicky”, however, audiences were enthralled and soon we gained credibility and notoriety. We also formed as a non-profit and sought grants and individual donor support. Funding agencies and venues for performing had no clue what this art form entailed and had difficulty assessing quality, safety, and longevity. Toward that end, a colleague and I wrote the only history of the art form (Aerial Dance, published by Human Kinetics) detailing its roots in the post-modern dance movement, not circus.

We’ve experienced the struggles of any non-profit, which is raising money and surviving. Now in our 31st year, we continue with that struggle and are also facing the fact that leasing adequate dedicated space is very, very expensive, especially in Boulder. While rent and cost of operations increase annually, ticket prices, donations and grants do not. We are seeking long-term solutions to this issue, primarily how to build an endowment and eventually raise our own roof to have a permanent home.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance has blazed a trail for many others in this art form. Our programming is imitated around the U.S., locally, and internationally. We trained thousands of aerialists and provided access to education and performance that wouldn’t otherwise be available.
Our Kids Who Fly program for at-risk youth has served over 6,500 youth since 2001.

The international Aerial Dance Festival, now in its 21st year has produced the work of over 100 artists and served 3500 students. More than 205,000 people have experienced a mind-blowing performance. We’ve performed for Cirque du Soleil in Montreal twice; in the Bahamas, across the U.S. and recently received a standing ovation at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. We believe that the power of aerial dance inspires others to take risks and see the world from a new perspective. What sets us apart is the depth of knowledge in our field, our commitment to safety and excellence, and the belief that everyone deserves a chance to fly.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Lack of affordable housing for artists is an issue in Boulder. And, the lack of affordable space to run programs is also an issue. Additionally, there is a disproportionate number of non-profits in the county, making fundraising and finding volunteers very difficult. We are hopeful that more people will see the value of getting involved and supporting this amazing non-profit!

Contact Info:

  • Address: 3022 E. Sterling Cir., #150, Boulder, CO 80301
  • Website: frequentflyers.org
  • Phone: 303-245-8272
  • Email: info@frequentflyers.org


Image Credit:
Nina Reed Photography, Preston Newell

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