By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Audrea Cannon of Vertigo choreographs the fight and flight scenes with the students as they prepare to perform Peter Pan.

Professional Flying Director Audrea Cannon of Vertigo was onstage working with the Belvidere North High School actors and rope operators on Friday, March 1. She was choreographing the fight scenes and flight scenes with Peter Pan and Captain Hook, making sure everyone knew their cues and were flying carefully.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” Cannon said when asked how she started in the specialized profession. “I have a degree in technical theater. I was working at the Cedar Point Amusement Park and that’s where I met my company. It worked out that we liked each other and when I finished my contract, I was hired by Vertigo. I have been doing this for over three years.

“We travel all over the United States, Central America, and Canada. We have an office in DeKalb so this is local for me. I was here Wednesday to install the flying systems for the show. I had previously talked with Dr. Vermillion and we had done the pre-planning so I had a game plan. I spent all day Thursday and Friday going through training with the students and learning choreography.

“I usually show up for three days of technical training and choreography and they can call if they have any questions. I am moving on to set up Mary Poppins in Davenport, Iowa followed by Tarzan in Rockford. Last week I was in Florida.

Natalie Abramat plays Peter Pan in the upcoming production on March 15 and 16. “It’s really, really cool,” she said. “When we did the first day, it was interesting to see how things worked. It’s pretty different – everyone was talking about how graceful I looked, but when you are up there, you have no idea what is happening. It’s weird.

“It looks so easy but it’s not. You have to be in complete control of your body. It’s hard, but it is super cool. I’m excited for the show. It’s the first time I have done a flying show. It’s an interesting experience. It’s so much fun. Even blocking the show is so much fun.

“I don’t have a fear of heights so it’s not too much for me except I go too fast at times. It’s a lot of fun, a cool experience. I am blessed to be able to do this.

Logan Melville is working the flying ropes for the show. “It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s also a lot of responsibility. Everything happens very quickly and there is not much room for error.”

“I really like it,” said Kieran Borth, who plays Wendy’s brother John in the show. “The physical strain only hits you once you are done – all the starts and stops, moving around, and absorbing landings.”…

For complete article, pick up the March 7 issue of the Belvidere Republican.

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