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Aerial artist performs against icy backdrop of Canadian Rockies in short film

Aerial artist's niche is performing in the frozen places of the Rocky Mountains in the middle of winter, so a typical performance takes place between -10 C and -15 C.
Sasha Galitzki in action during filming of “Wild Aerial,” set to premiere this fall.

Sasha Galitzki usually performs her aerial acrobatic work with photographers to capture her imaginative artistry.

“But of course, aerial is a performance art, and it's meant to be seen,” she said.

“It's movement. It's not meant to be captured in a photograph. It's meant to be seen and experienced.”

To change the game, she and director Trixie Pacis have teamed for the short artistic film, “Wild Aerial,” still in post-production. Started in the winter of 2022, the project has the dual purpose of offering a dazzling display of the performer’s talents in motion as she also showcases the grand and precious natural places that can be found in the Canadian Rockies.

Galitzki, inspired as ever by nature, hopes to share that love with those who appreciate her work.

The filmmaking team took the aerialist to some places that offer spectacles everywhere you turn. Watching Galitzki turning and twisting on her long pieces of hanging fabric is another level of spectacle altogether.

One of the challenges of such aerial work in places such as glaciers or ice canyons is that audiences can’t watch the live performance. The access was generally too challenging with sometimes more than several kilometres of skiing. There was avalanche terrain, frozen creeks and multiple other hazards that made it unfeasible.

Even her performances were challenging, given the environmental conditions.

“I'm up in the air, and I'm doing splits and spins and tricks,” Galitzki said.

“I'm doing that performance art, but I'm doing it in these outdoor environments that are often quite logistically challenging to access and to hang in, to actually rig and get myself set up safely. I do them in quite cold places.”

Performing in the frozen places of the Rocky Mountains in the middle of winter is her niche, so a typical performance takes place between -10 C and -15 C. That, and she isn’t wearing a lot of thermal wear.

“There’s this added element of risk that I need to factor into my performances to make sure that I can create something beautiful, but also be safe while I'm doing it.”

Art is one thing, but filmmaking is another. Production value means a colorist, a sound mixer and audio engineering. Those things really do enhance the final product, but they don’t come for free.

That’s why Pacis has started a crowdfunding campaign to help the filmmaking team clear the hurdles that come after filming has wrapped.

The Wild Aerial Post-Production Crowdfund just launched on Friday with a goal of $18,000. Already at more than one-third of the way for its six-week campaign, the goal offers several levels of support, each with their own form of appreciation.

“We're really looking for help to elevate the final film to something we're really excited about,” Galitzki said.

She and the filmmakers hope to premiere the film this fall.

Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Ecology and Environment Reporter at the Fitzhugh Newspaper since July 2022 under Local Journalism Initiative funding provided by News Media Canada.
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