Art, science take flight at VSAA

'A Codex of Flight' multimedia show includes dance, acrobatics and much more

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian Arts & Features Reporter



If You Go

• What: “A Codex of Flight.” • When: 7 p.m. Nov. 14, 16-18; 2 p.m. Nov. 18. • Where: Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, 3101 Main St., Vancouver. • Tickets: $5, $4 for students and seniors.

People obviously were meant to fly. A series of startlingly atmospheric performances next week at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics will explore the many ways they accomplish it.

“A Codex of Flight,” a multimedia show including dance and acrobatics, poetry and theater, music, visual art and even some live “action painting” while the audience watches, was inspired by a much older appreciation of flight by scientist-inventor-artist Leonardo da Vinci — the epitome of the term “Renaissance man.” Da Vinci’s “Codex on the Flight of Birds,” circa 1505, is a series of detailed diagrams and analyses of exactly how birds manage to take to the sky — and how people might build machines that copy them.

The whole-school theme at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics this year is the convergence of art and science, teacher and director Jackie Sacks said. “It’s an ‘everything year,’ ” she said. “When we thought of ‘everything people,’ we immediately went to da Vinci. We chose the metaphor of flight and explored it.”

Narration is drawn from da Vinci, Shakespeare and VSAA student writing, Sacks said. More than 50 students have been involved in this unique production.

In “A Codex of Flight” you’ll hear flights of fancy, as middle-school students read playful verses on topics like bumblebees, Sacks said; you’ll observe the flight of refugees from war-torn regions of the world today; and you’ll experience the airborne myth of Icarus, who paid the price for flying too close to the sun.

“It’s the first time we’ve used a flight rig. We are flying students in the air,” Sacks said. “It’s going to be breathtaking.”