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Mountain Air Dance

Turn Your World Upside Down with Dance

Mountain Air Dance is a non-profit dance company founded in 2009 by Cathy Stone Werner with a mission to bring quality aerial arts to the Gallatin Valley and beyond. What began in a little rented studio from Motion Athletics has sprung into a thriving dance company offering 17 classes and workshops days a week at the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture. Cathy herself has been performing since the age of 2 but didn’t start off in dance. “I was a gymnast,” she explained. “I didn’t really get into dance until I was in high school and tried out for the dance team. That is where I discovered I loved doing choreography.”

Cathy went on to study dance and choreography in college but it was grad school in Boulder Colorado where she first discovered the aerial arts at age 25. “My roommate was an intern for this non-profit aerial dance group and she thought I’d be interested,” Cathy said. “So I started out with a trapeze class and I loved it.” Cathy explained that aerial dancing with a trapeze isn’t like a circus performance. “They are a low flying trapeze which means you can reach the floor,” she clarified.

Dancers also perform on all kinds of other apparatuses such as ladders and fire escapes. Aerial silks, a type of acrobatic in which one hangs from a swath of fabric - came later.

“I actually learned about aerial silks for the first time in 2002 from a company called Frequent Flyers Productions,” Cathy said. “It’s different from the other performances because with silks you have to climb, not just dance.”

When Cathy and her husband first moved to Bozeman in 2007 they immediately found a niche.  “Only a few classes were offered at the Main Street Dance Theater and absolutely no aerial arts at all,” she said. “So I decided to change all that.”

Mountain Air Arts offers aerial arts classes for students of all ages and abilities, including a class for parents and tots, and a moms and babies class that focuses on core workouts. “In each class, we focus on technique, alignment, and building strong healthy dancers on and off the ground,” Cathy said. “Each class is different and the curriculum is created to suit the students.”

Mountain Air Dance is also sensitive to the financial demands in people’s daily life and offers camps and classes through a tuition assistance program, funded through donations, grants, and a variety of fund-raising activities. In addition, in 2015 the aerial apprentice program was begun which allows students in the advanced team class to become mentors for beginners. “The students have to apply and we can only take a few at a time,” Cathy explained. “It teaches them how to be a leader - and maybe one day a dance teacher themselves - as they help the other students with warm-ups, spotting, and safety. Our goal is to create educational opportunities in the field of dance to further the art form and allow more people to experience the world from a unique and artistic perspective.”

Mountain Air Dance is also proud to announce its first annual production called “Lifted” which will be held on the main stage at the Emerson Center on May 21, 2022. The performance will feature a student showcase for the matinee and a professional show in the evening by instructors and other dance professionals in the community. Tickets can be purchased on the website at mountainairdance.org

Anyone interested in classes or volunteering can visit the website as well.  “We offer a unique experience to our community,” Cathy said. “We will challenge both sides of your brain, build your confidence and strength, improve your balance and flexibility, turn your world upside down and put a smile on your face!

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