When the Long Center was built in 2008, preserving the ring beam of the old Palmer Auditorium was one of the most inspired moves architect Stan Haas and his team made: The intention to preserve nicely dovetailed with creating a stunning outside space for performances and gatherings of all kinds.

In my architectural review of the building. I wrote: “the zoomy ring beam and its parade of pillars (is) a monumental remnant of the structure’s mid-century modernist origins, now embrases a sweeping plaza and frame breathtaking views of downtown.”

“The architectural challenge in designing the new Long Center, after all, wasn’t a matter of whether elements of the original building were to be used. It was a matter of how. (The building) whispers its history while simultaneously announcing its contemporaneity.”


Blue Lapis Light dancers Katie Gunderson, left, and Angie Obermeyer, right, rehearse on the harp, a series of high wires that make sounds with every tap. Their next performance, “Radiance,” is being staged on the Long Center Terrace starting  June 13. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Long Center’s City Terrace is now a regular site for some of the programming offered.

One artistic creator among the first to find inspiration in the ring beam is choreographer Sally Jacques, a pioneering purveyor of site-specific aerial dance in Austin.

Opening June 13 “Radiance” is Jacques’ third dance on the Long Center’s ring beam.

Aerial dancers Katie Gunderson, left, and Angie Obermeyer, right.

Look for our preview interview about “Radiance” with Jacques this weekend. Along with roller-skate clad dancers on bungee cords, “Radiance” features dancers on two 20-foot-by-30-foot “foot harps” — multi-level, mic’d steel cables strung horizontally between two sets of columns that allow two duos to move across them.

“I’m very excited about the work and visiting the space in a very different way,” Jacques tells the American-Statesman.”The different elements weave together into a new cohesion.”

Aerial dancer Amy Myers rehearses on the bungee roller skates on the terrace of the Long Center.