Have you ever danced in nature? How about while wearing a tutu and scaling a cliff wall? That’s exactly what three of the recipients of The North Face Adventure Grant for 2023 did on their adventure to Murchison River Gorge in Kalbarri National Park, WA.


Emily Lecky, Amelia Poole, and Jessica Iles have been dancing and tumbling through gymnastics studios and dance theatres all their lives. So to be able to take their skills and passion for performing to a natural stage was a chance they all, quite literally, jumped at.

Over 2.5 weeks, and with granted permission from the Traditional Owners, the Nanda people, these three dancers spent time hiking deep into Kalbarri National Park’s Murchison River Gorge, before sussing out the best stretch of layered sandstone cliff wall to perform a brand new vertical dance that they choreographed in relation to the cliff.

What the heck is vertical dance?

Vertical dance combines abseiling, aerial acrobatics, and dance to create a new type of performance, where the dynamics of gravity and a natural stage become something to work/contend with.

‘The choreography must adapt and change to reflect the unique characteristics of each rock. The rock becomes not just a canvas for the art, but an active participant in the vertical dance,’ said Emily Lecky.

The performers battled cuts, bruises, blisters, and high temperatures to juggle all of the elements of the performance, from assessing cliffs for dancing potential, to creating the choreography, and problem solving the rigging of ropes.

Watch the masterpiece that came together!



Have you got a creative idea for an adventure? Applications for the 2024 The North Face Adventure Grant close on the 15th of December 2023.