IS IT A BIRD? IS IT A PLANE? — Springville-Griffith Institute graduate Brian “BJ” Erdmann is pictured above, with Chelsea Teel, his girlfriend and partner, who is from Kansas City.
SPRINGVILLE — Springville-Griffith Institute graduate Brian “BJ” Erdmann was featured on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on April 4, as part of Cavalia’s Odysseo, an acrobatic and equestrian production.
Erdmann is an aerialist with Cavalia, a Montreal-based company that puts on large-scale shows, combining equestrian and acrobatic performances with special effects.
Cavalia’s current production, “Odysseo,” premiered in 2011 and is now touring the world. The show features dozens of horses and 44 artists, including aerialists.
During the “Tonight Show,” Cavalia provided viewers with a glimpse of “Odysseo,” including both the horses and acrobats. Erdmann performed with fellow aerialist and girlfriend Chelsea Teel, of Kansas City.
The son of John and Gail Erdmann of Collins, BJ Erdmann was a 2001 graduate of S-GI High School and a 2005 graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia.
During his time at S-GI, he received a Kenny Award for best supporting actor, for his portrayal of Rif in “West Side Story,” his senior year. Four years later, he graduated from SUNY Fredonia, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, after majoring in acting and minoring in dance.
Following Erdmann’s high school graduation, he moved to New York City.
The aerialist said that, while living in New York, he developed an interest in the performances of aerialists, such as those featured in Cirque du Soleil, especially those who use aerial silk straps for their artistic and acrobatic performances.
Drawing upon his skills as an actor and a dancer, Erdmann began trying aerial straps. He moved from New York City to Montreal, to train.
To view a video of one of Erdmann’s performances as an aerialist, using aerial straps, visit the Springville-Griffith Institute District website at www.springvillegi.org.