Bandaloop, a vertical dance troupe, perform aerial ballet suspended on the side of the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel. Credit: Jake Bleiberg

PORTLAND, Maine — Dozens of onlookers gathered in Congress Square Thursday afternoon to watch two dancers running, spinning and leaping along the face of the 129-foot-tall Westin Portland Harborview Hotel.

Members of the Bandaloop vertical dance team defied gravity with short noontime and 1 p.m. performances, with additional different routines scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. at One City Center.

“They say what we do is death-defying,” Bandaloop founder and artistic director Amelia Rudolph said in a statement. “I’d say it’s life-affirming.”

Artist Erin McGee Ferrell was painting the performance for the organization Portland Ovations, which hosted the event, and called capturing the aerial movements on canvas “a fun challenge.”

“The dancing is gorgeous,” she said.

To accommodate crowds on Friday evening, the city of Portland announced that the Federal Street Extension, from Congress Street to Temple Street, and Free Street, from Cross Street to Temple Street, will be closed to vehicles between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Another stretch of Free Street, from Center Street to Cross Street, will be closed to all but local traffic.

Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.