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Jen Pilgreen, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — What do you get when you cross a scientist and a hairdresser? No, it's not some silly riddle, but two friends who decided to transform a casual hobby into a full-time ownership position as co-owners of Aerial Arts of Utah.

They're not your typical dancers; in fact, they're not dancers at all.

Annie Kocherhans, a hair stylist of many years, and Deborah Eppstein, a scientist and small stem-cell company owner, quickly took an interest into a unique style of dance.

Once a week, they pick their feet up off of the floor and dance.

"It's called aerial dance," Kocherhans said. "It's a combination of circus arts and dance, that's how I see it."

Neither Kocherhans no Eppstein had ever seen anything like it until two years ago. The two were introduced to aerial dancing at a festival where a group from New York was performing on a fabric -- a suspended piece of cloth that dancers use to perform various actions.

Seeing the dance for the first time, Kocherhans said: "It was just unbelievably beautiful. I'd never seen anything like it."

"We were just looking at it saying, I want to do that," added Eppstein. "I could do that."

And they did, enrolling at a local aerial dance school.

"We loved it the more we did it," Kocherhans said. "We did trapeze; we did aerial fabric."

Although Kocherhans and Eppstein are not professionally trained dancers, the two have developed a love for aerial dancing, taking it to new levels. Eppstein even installed a fabric and a trapeze in her dining room.

"Well, there was a place for it," Eppstein said, laughing. "At the end of a long day, if you hang upside down, it just helps relieve tension."

A year ago, the director of Revolve Aerial Dance decided to move back East. The two women had the same thought.

"We jumped right in and bought the company," Kocherhans said.

So now the scientist and hairdresser run Aerial Arts of Utah, where they teach and learn more than dance.

"I think as we get older, we have a tendency to stop doing things," Kocherhans said. "We get afraid to do things. It's really important that we push ourselves a little out of our box — a little out of our comfort zone."

In fact, Eppstein and Kocherhans are two aerial dancers who are afraid of heights, but have managed to set aside their fears.

"Up in the air, I'm not inhibited," Eppstein said.

"It's a panic feeling when I've been at heights," Kocherhans added. "I think, OK, you know, you're going to be OK."

The two have a new confidence to try new things.

"When you come down, then you say 'Wow,' I did that. Did anyone see that, I did that?'"