Kansas City Ballet’s Angelina Sansone has a flair for drama, so when former KCB member Keelan Whitmore asked her to spend summer breaks working with his offbeat Quixotic Performance Fusion ensemble, Sansone figured she’d be a natural fit.
What she didn’t figure was that she’d end up spending so much time in the air. Kansas City–based Quixotic is rooted in dance but circus-inspired. “Right after I joined, the directors decided to incorporate aerial dance,” Sansone says. She and fellow KCB dancer Rachel Coats were recruited to experiment with aerial techniques. “We didn’t have the gymnastics training of most aerial dancers,” Sansone says, “but we played around and found that classical ballet lines translated well in the air. Another company member with aerial experience taught us some technical spins and poses, and then Rachel and I used ballet technique to finesse the transitions.”
Since taking to the air, Sansone has found that her focus has improved on the ballet stage. “Even when I’m 30 feet up, I still have to worry about whether or not my foot is sickled,” she explains. “Mastering that kind of concentration in the air makes it easier to think about those details on the ground.”