Measuring the Forces Involved in Single Point Aerial Dance Trapeze

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Masters of Fine Arts in Theatre and Drama
(Emphasis in Theatre Technology)
at the

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Over the past several decades, the lines between dance, theatre and circus have blurred and circus equipment has found its way into all of the performing arts. With this new exploration of circus equipment, Technical Directors and Riggers frequently find themselves needing to rig apparatus that they are unfamiliar with. This rigging not only occurs in traditional theatres that they have experience with, but also often in found spaces, where load capacities may not be as clear. A thorough understanding of the forces involved when circus and aerial dance equipment are used is important when determining rigging hardware and mount points.

This thesis measures how much force is generated in typical single point aerial dance trapeze movements and, after analyzing that force data provides some insight into what rigging hardware might be needed to properly support such movements. Chapter 1 is a brief introduction to the thesis; Chapter 2 discusses the history of “Aerial Dance” and provides background information on it; Chapter 3 reviews the hardware and software used in the research; Chapter 4 analyses the force data, and provides the formulas used to calculate Working Load Limits; Chapter 5 reviews different rigging hardware options and concerns with each; Chapter 6 is a summary of the thesis.


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