Boulder-local Isabel von Rittberg is both a dancer and a rock climber, and she remembers the precise moment, during a drive to Montana to visit her Grandmother, that she first thought of combining the two disciplines. “I was driving through the Virgin River Gorge in Utah, listening to music and looking at the towering rock walls, and I had a vision so clear and so strong that there was no way I could have ignored it,” she says. “I told my Grandma, ‘I’m going to build a climbing wall and dance on it.’”
Ascendance Project was thrilled to perform at TEDxBoulder this year! Working from the event’s theme of “Climate & Change,” this piece is choreographed to highlight our country’s modern divisions, and demonstrate how love is the key to understanding and union. Don’t build walls. Dance on them.
By Natalie Berry
A video has been doing the rounds on social media recently - receiving over 26,000 views so far - featuring a troupe of dancers using a climbing wall as an apparatus upon which to choreograph a dance routine. Isabel Rittberg is the founder, artistic director and a dancer within the group AscenDance - based in Boulder, Colorado in the United States.
Combining climbing moves, dance elements and music, Isabel has created a new art form which focusses on the more graceful and gymnastic aspects of climbing - there's no grunting or powerscreaming here!
I asked Isabel a few questions about her project...
Aufgewachsen ist sie in Beyenburg, doch gegenwärtig lebt sie in Boulder, Colorado. Das, so muss man zugeben, ist auch eine passendere Adresse für Isabel Gräfin von Rittberg. Denndie 32-Jährigeistdie Begründerin einer neuen Kunst- und Bewegungsform, einer Mischung aus Bouldern (einer Unterart des Kletterns in geringerer Höhe, die ohne Sicherungsseil auskommt) und Tanzen. „AscenDance“ nennt sie ihre Erfindung. Der Begriff setzt sich aus den beiden englischen Verben „to ascend“ (aufsteigen) und „to dance“ (tanzen) zusammen.
By Patrycja Humienik
At a ballet, I will raise my eyebrows and clap and delight in all of its aesthetic glory--oh, legs! legs!--but both as observer and mover, I am moved more by the experience of a performance. When a performance generates a new question, some feeling of inspiration, or simply tells a very good joke (the kind that produces belly-aching, ravenous laughter)--that is to say, when a performance disrupts daily routine, I am moved.There are those moments of honesty and intimacy, which I am finding increasingly more accessible in interactive performance and the fusion of dance forms.
The art of storytelling, be it through dance, writing or music, resides in that emotionally rooted space of honesty.
by Marc Raymond Strauss with Myron Howard Nadel
Another intriguing contemporary dance presenter, AscenDance Project (www.ascendanceproject.com), a Berkeley, California-based company has its performers moving vertically on climbing walls to choreographed rhythms in music and silence, was founded in 2006. Artistic Director and founder Isabel von Rittberg (b. September 4, 1980, Haan, Germany) was driving through Utah’s Virgin River Gorge during sunset...
Maybe you know AscenDance from the television show America’s Got Talent. Or maybe from their 2009 appearance at Boulder’s Aerial Dance Festival. Or maybe you’re getting to know them as a new neighbor on Arapahoe Avenue. The AscenDance Project moves an art form into a sports arena by blending dance and climbing — the dancers cling to holds on a climbing wall while executing their choreography. And its founder and artistic director, Isabel Von Rittberg, has officially moved to Boulder, bringing the AscenDance company to a new studio here.
By Liz Moskow
Dance Climb Fusion Class with The AscenDance Project
Instructor: Isabel von Rittberg, artistic director and innovator of The AscenDance Project grew up in Wuppertal, Germany. Inspired by Pina Bausch, one of the world's foremost authorities on modern dance, Isabel began dancing at a young age. But dance didn't entirely satisfy her need to express herself. Possessing the spirit of a dancer and the soul of a climber, Isabel was driven to create the AscenDance project, where she could integrate the two separate but complementary parts of herself. In 2006, Isabel started AscenDance in California's Bay Area; in November of 2011, she moved her brainchild to Boulder.
What is the workout?
by Anthony Lapomardo
Climbing integrates technical prowess and physical conditioning. An arcing wall is the playground in which climbers chose to perform their medium upon. Isabel Von Rittberg (a dancer & climber by heart) envisioned a new use for the climbing medium that involved an arcing wall, but this one was constructed by a climber for a new form of self-expression, dance.
Donald K. Atwood MFA, Ph.D.
AscenDance Project Dazzles Boulder and 2009 Aerial Dance Festival Boulder, Colorado's Eleventh Annual Aerial Dance Festival (ADF) presented Oakland California's AscenDance Project in what turned out to be two concerts in the University of Colorado/Boulder's Charlotte York Irey Theater on Friday evening August 14th, 2009. The second concert resulted when it was realized that in a two week residency at ADF Ascendance Project had already captured more than a sell out audience. Festival Director Nancy Smith and AscenDance Founder/Artistic Director, Isabel Von Rittberg opted for a second show to accommodate an overflow crowd. Both audiences were thoroughly entranced with over an hour of non-stop performance that varied from adagio to explosions.
AscenDance Project performs on a huge climbing wall...