How AntiGravity NTF Was Developed- Interview With Heather Stover

How AntiGravity NTF Was Developed- Interview With Heather Stover

About Heather Stover

Heather Dodt founded AntiGravityʼs aerial school at the National Training Facility in 2012 with guidance from Daniel Stover, establishing herself as Co-Owner & Program Director. Heatherʼs responsibilities include managing all aspects of the school, class schedules, student performances, apprentice program, casting auditions, and student accounts.

Heather has over 15 years of professional experience in dance and aerial arts. Currently, Heather performs as a Principal Aerialist with AntiGravity® Entertainment on a variety of Special Events & Corporate Gigs. She is involved in the artistic creation, production, and casting of many local theme park shows at Disney World and Universal Studios and other international performances & tours. These opportunities have included USO International Performances in Okinawa, Japan and Guantanamo Naval Base, Cuba. Other memorable projects include Disney’s Tarzan with Lyric Theater of Oklahoma (specialty aerial acts), Broadway Production of ‘Swing!’ bungee act onboard Norwegian Cruise Line, and AntiGravity’s original productions of an aerial-acrobatic Rocky Horror Show. Heather also helped establish the aerial performance scene in Orlando at a variety of downtown nightclubs and after-hours venues in 2011-2014, which included weekly performances at Bliss, Rok Room and Vain Nightclub. Heather now focuses on directing and producing annual student showcases, community events and a variety of in-house theatrical productions like AntiGravity’s Aerial Nutcracker and other seasonal acrobatic shows.

Heatherʼs background in ballet originated in Chicago, where she studied dance at Faubourge Ballet Academy & at the Avnun Yakabov Cultural Arts Center. Heather graduated with Honors from the University of Central Florida, in which she completed the Honors in the Major program. Her research in ʻsports psychology’ was recognized by the UCF Honors Thesis Board of Directors. Heather earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a Dance Minor,which led to her acceptance into UCF’s Masters program where she found her passion for Sports Fitness/Exercise Physiology. Heather aspires to finish her graduate degrees in the future, including her long-term goal of continuing research-based work within a PhD program. She is also an AFAA certified personal trainer, and has various Group Fitness Certifications, as well as her First Aid & CPR certifications. Heather has also been awarded AntiGravity Fitness Certifications in AG Fundamentals and AG AIRbarre. Heather currently oversees the curriculum creation and development of “AG Pro-Training Techniques” at AntiGravity Orlando in which performance-based techniques are taught within expert-designed class formulas.

Heather has experience both performing and teaching an assortment of aerial techniques such as Aerial Hammock, Silk, Lyra, Aerial Cube, Web, Harness, Frame, Bungee, Straps, and Cloud Swing. Heather has performed and created choreography for several of AntiGravity’s signature professional acts including Gravitron, Carousel Trio, Dancing Bungee, and Cubeology variations. Heatherʼs passion & experience in dance, psychology and fitness are reflected in her approach to class instruction, aerial performance, choreography and all aspects of her career.

What is your dance/fitness/performance background? What led you to this career? 
“I have an extensive ballet background, but I’d never gone upside down during my dance career. I attended academy summer intensives, danced professionally in Michigan and then became an AFAA personal trainer. I created an original group fitness class at the UCF Student Health Center called ‘Ballet-n-Tone’ and was featured on the news for the class.After meeting Daniel, I was commissioned to create the SpongeBob silks parade act at Universal Studios with Brie.During my first few years integrating my dance background with new aerial aspects, Daniel oversaw my development as a professional aerialist and encouraged me to expand my horizons. This led to training/performances on a huge variety of both aerial and ground based acrobatic apparatus.
What is your favorite thing about AG? 
“At AG, we have the ability to innovate and create anything we can imagine. Nothing is outside of the realm of possibility. AG gives you the tools to be able to be creative and do whatever you want. This allows us to have crazy ideas and workshop them without the possibility of failing. Everything we do creates something new, whether it’s planned or not. Daniel can logistically figure out anything that is thrown his way! ”

What is your favorite apparatus/skill?
Hammock, cube, straps duet with Daniel “

What motivates your work?
” Giving students the opportunity and pathway to accomplish their aspirations. Complete aerial education that will help students in many different ways in life. To provide opportunities for students to continue to do what they love as they mature and become responsible adults and performers throughout life. We create new art concepts that can be challenging, include storytelling, and other qualities they can use throughout their lives. I love spreading opportunities to people to become professional artists. ”

Favorite gig? First gig?
“My favorite gig was for the USO Tour in Guantanamo Bay, as well as my performances in the off-Broadway Tarzan show with Lyric Theatre of OKC, playing the aerial version of Jane. My first gig was in Las Vegas at the Aria hotel. It was a rendition of the 2007 AG Tour. I was casted in the opening dance number and in the Aerial Hammock group act. This was the first time I had tried bungee, which was on stage, on the spot, with no rehearsal. It was a thrilling experience. “
What three words would your friends use to describe you?
” kind, honest, driven “
Reading any books/binging any shows?
Anything about environment ‘Coaching for Leaders’ podcast Science/Space related news TED talks
What book, movie, music, etc. changed your outlook on life?
‘Ride of a lifetime’ by Robert Iger
Guilty pleasure?
Theme parks Steak
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
” From Christopher Harrison – “Alone we may go faster but together we go farther.” Basically – we are stronger as a team of artists creating and producing shows and equipment instead of independent artists.

Also – “You create your own reality.” If you do the right thing, you will create your future. Keep doors open and forgive. “

What advice would you give to your teenage self?
” Date nice guys! Learn more about managing people while you’re young (in business and every experience). And all the education has helped you get to a place in life you’d never imagined. “