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Airs Above the Ground

Janet Biggs

Created: 2007

Airs Above the Ground (2007) features a 14-year-old underwater ballet performer, Deanna Mary de Simone, performing a precise, hypnotic dance. The video’s title is borrowed from dressage: it refers to prescribed balances and leaps executed by stallions, traditionally trained for battle, moves that make them look almost weightless. The dreamy underwater environment in which this video takes place, with its metaphorical kinship to subconscious states, also has an undercurrent of strain and darkness. De Simone, a performer of formidable athleticism, executes a ritualized dance, literally standing on her head and holding her breath, while maintaining a complicated pose of innocence and ease.

Single channel video (5.22 minutes)

Music by William Martina and Blake Flemming

Gift of Dana Martin Davis. 2008.74.2