Author Archives: Lewitwer

Circus Peeps – Help a Researcher Out!

Hello Dear Danglers! Got this in my in-box today. If you have 4 minutes, help a sistah out! Interesting study on how immersed you get in your work when you train.¬† ūüôā


Hello! I’m Marta Reixach, student from the University of Girona (Catalonia, Spain) and I‚Äôm fascinated with circus performance. Now, I‚Äôm doing a research work of Accounting and Finance Degree, about the flow state related to artists‚Äô work accomplishment.

For this reason I need your collaboration by answering an anonymous little short interview (about 4 minutes).

Straighten Your Damned Supporting Leg

Yes, YOU, Dear Dangler! Do you work in foot knots with a soft knee? Quit it. Straighten your damned supporting leg, and watch your work get STRONGER, with bonus fabulousness!

What’s the Big Deal?

Aside from looking¬†sad and¬†shriveled, a bent knee sucks the power out of your leg and makes it SO much harder to haul your butt around. Remember the “boneless two year old” experiment? Same principle. Tight, lifted limbs are easier to work with, and pinchy bits become less pinchy. So, make like a Rockette already!

bent knee

Lift Your Kneecap!

It’s not a difficult fix, but it IS tough to make it a¬†regular thing¬†if you’re a habitual knee-bender. Tighten the muscles on the front of the thigh (quadriceps) until you feel the knee cap (patella) lift. Your leg is now straight! You can also try pretending that you don’t have knees, or¬†practice actively pushing through your supporting leg.¬†**For all you hyper-mobile joint folks (do your knees bend backwards?), that’s a whole other post. **

For the record, this applies to all circus disciplines, not just aerial work. If you’re standing on a leg and it’s supposed to be straight, liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiift! If you are battling a very sticky habit of “soggy knees,” consider taking an occasional ballet class; nothing cures bent walkers faster than watching them in a mirror! A militant French ballet teacher with a stick doesn’t hurt either (actually, it does hurt…).

straight leg edit

 

Look how fancy! If you do this ONE THING, your work will make a HUGE leap forwards!!!! If saggy baggy knees are plaguing you, make a commitment to yourself to crank ’em up – what a difference it will make! ūüôā Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

Aerial Arts Festival in Denver! May 30 & 31

Aerial Arts Festival

 

Know what’s awesome? AERIAL ARTS FESTIVALS!!! Workshops, competitions, and more – oh my!
 
WHEN: Shows on Friday, May 30th and Saturday, May 31st 2014 at 7:00 pm

 

Workshops for the beginning and advanced aerialist from May 28th-June 1st, 2014
 

There will be a Pre-show Fun Fair  both nights. Food, Jugglers, Clowns, StiltWalkers, & More!
6pm to 7pm May 30 and May 31

 

WHERE:
Eugenia Rawls Courtyard Theater at the Kenneth King Academic and Performing Arts
Center; 855 Lawrence Way; Denver, CO 80204 ‚Äď Auraria Campus

WHAT:
The Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival brings amazing aerialists to Denver for two
competition shows Friday, May 30th and Saturday, May 31st. Since 2011 The Aerial
Acrobatic Arts Festival has brought over 60 spectacular circus artists to Denver. Former
participants have gone on to careers with Cirque du Soleil.

ABOUT:
Audiences will be thrilled by daring feats of grace, strength, and flexibility on trapeze, straps, rope, hoop and fabric. Finalists are chosen in each discipline at the Friday May 30th semi-final show. Finalists compete Saturday, May 31st for the awards of Best Technical, Best Artistic, Audience Choice, and Best Overall Performance. Aspiring aerialists will have the chance to participate in workshops May 28th-June 1st to help refine their technical, artistic, and performance skills.

WHO:
Produced by Lynn Coleman, former Denver Public Schools Board of Education member and second-generation Denver circus family. Artistic Director, Marshall Garfield, former head coach for Cirque du Soleil. General Director, Tatanya Hamermesh, local aerialist, third-generation Denver circus family, and cancer survivor.

Tickets go on sale April 12 – don’t miss out! Shows May 30 & 31, 2014.

For more information, to become a sponsor, or see videos from previous years, please visit the web site:  http://www.aerialartsfestdenver.com/.

 

Pssssst! Are You Making Your Classmates Insane? It’s Etiquette Time!

Bee Tootsie Roll

Miss Bridget is ALWAYS a delight to take class with!

Do you make your fellow students gently insane? Are you the¬†one your classmates change days to avoid? You might be… Time to have another chat about classroom etiquette!

DISCLAIMER: I am¬†one of these¬†students (guess which one!). I know from whence I speak. We can do better! ūüėČ

The Apparatus Hog

This dear student gets SO EXCITED about working on her apparatus, she forgets to come down when her turn is over! The seconds tick by as she tries variation after variation, oblivious to others waiting their turn.

What you should know: Your classmates are thrilled that you’re having fun, but they paid their¬†moolah too and want some air time! Your extra¬†noodling can read as greedy, selfish, or show-off-y. Make an extra effort to make sure you’re not hoggin’ that apparatus – learn to share!

The “I Suck” Student

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar. “UGH! My splits SUCK!” (while¬†dangling in a 12 inch over-splits). Mmmmmm-hmmmmm. Nothing will make your classmates want to slap you more than¬†basically insulting them (pssst! many of your fellow students would kill to have your splits).

What you should know: Look – I know that you’re not trying to dis anyone! You expect a lot from yourself, and where others see a triumph, you see room for improvement. BUT, do be sensitive to the people around you. Some of them have been busting their asses for YEARS in hopes of getting to where you are. So, think before you speak, or you might get a knuckle sandwich.

The Monopolizer

Your teacher (presumably) has one mouth, two ears, two hands. They also have a limit to how many people they can focus on/spot/verbally cue/rescue from knots/correct/cheer on/answer questions from at any given moment. Do you constantly demand your teacher’s¬†undivided attention when they should be focusing on the group as a whole? When other students are working, do you ask questions unrelated to what’s happening in the air – again pulling your teacher’s focus?

What you should know: It’s a group class. If you want your teacher’s full attention all the time, book a private. I know it’s because you’re really HUNGRY for the work – and that’s a good thing! But, just as you have to share your apparatus, you have to share your teacher. Sorry.

The Starlet

The starlet wants everything documented for posterity (or at least Facebook). Every time he or she jumps up, someone gets asked to video. I have to admit Рthis is a pet peeve of mine!

What you should know: your classmates are your classmates, not your personal videographers. They come to class to learn! While the occasional request is understandable, try not to make it something that happens more than once every few classes. Video can be a fantastic tool to move your forward! Invest in a small tripod that fits your phone or device, and video to your heart’s content!

Hip Key EditThe Drama Queen

OH MY – I wonder who this could be? The drama queen is awash in big EVERYTHING. Big goals, big feelings, big meltdowns…. Oh. My. It can make for an (ahem) interesting (but not at all boring!) class.

What you should know: Take it down a thousand. It’s circus, not open heart surgery! When you feel yourself, well, feeling something big, put yourself in time out. Excuse yourself, go to the loo, count to 10. Or 1000, whatever it takes. Seriously – whatever it takes, because energy in a class is contagious.

 

If you see yourself in any of the behaviors above, take heart. It’s just a habit! And habits can change. I’ll bet you didn’t even know that it was annoying! Well, now you do. And knowing is half the battle. Love and pull-ups, Laura

Click here for a few more thoughts on aerial etiquette!

 
 

 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

One Coach or Four? The Ups and Downs of Circus Monogamy: Part 2

German Wheel Wishbone

I call this move “Wishbone”!

Hello again, Dear Danglers! If you missed Part 1 of this post, click here.¬†I’m asked all the time – “Miss Laura, is it better to train with one¬†coach exclusively, or play the field a bit? Is it OK to cheat on my teacher?” Yesterday, I waxed poetic about my One and Only, Chris Delgado. But today, I need to confess… I have another man on the side.¬†And he’s amazing, and I’m not giving him up. And here’s why.

 

My (Wheel) Guy On the Side – Wolfgang Bientzle

I’ve only had the pleasure of working with Wolfgang a few times in Chicago, but every minute spent learning from him is pure¬†gold. Aside from his unparalleled mastery of the apparatus, he is an incredible coach (I learn as much about teaching as I do about wheel)! I get a completely fresh perspective – about wheel, about myself as a student, about myself as a performer. And THAT, friends, is the beauty of mixing it up!

With a new coach, you might get:

  • A fresh perspective. Got a move that’s making you tear your hair out? A bad habit that needs hammering? An aspect of the work that’s got you stumped?¬†A session with another coach can break old patterns, teach new technique, or shine light on something that needs your attention. An occasional variation in routine or thought is essential for well-rounded training, and a session with another coach is a great way to get it.
  • A new take on yourself as a performer or student. There are two things in particular that I love about Wolfgang. First, there is NO DOUBT who the teacher is, and who the student is. This boundary allows me to relax, and just be a student. The other is that, when I work with him, I feel like there is NOTHING I can’t do or eventually learn – he makes me feel so damned capable! I am clearly a performer (as opposed to a competitive wheeler), so he encourages me to bring in more aspects I’m familiar with (aerial!), and downplays the rigid 1-2-3 progressions of competition. Another teacher will see you differently, and may encourage you to see yourself in a completely different light! Shifts in perspective are HUGE.
  • Different vocabulary. All coaches have their favorite moves & things they focus on. It’s fantastic to collect a few new tricks here and there to keep things spicy!
  • A renewed hunger for the work. This is my favorite! It’s easy for things to get stale. That new perspective, technique, and a couple of¬†shiny moves translates into energy and rejuvenation!

Some Things to Keep in Mind

  • Don’t get freaked out if the technique doesn’t work for you (… Laura….). ūüėČ Give it your best shot in the time you’re there. Remember – you can take it or leave it when you get back to your regular teacher!
  • It won’t always be a love match. Sometimes, a new student comes in and it’s all rainbows, glitter, and unicorns. Sometimes, it’s crickets….. That’s chemistry, and it can’t be faked! Get what you can from the session, play nice, and you never have to do that again.
  • Stay open! I know – going out of your comfort zone is weird. Trusting a new coach is weird. Being in a different space with different people is weird. All true things! BUT – there are lots of ways to pluck a chicken. If you have your head up your ass the whole time, you’re going to miss out on some potentially game-changing stuff.
  • Don’t jump from teacher to teacher forever. It’s been my experience that students who bounce around aimlessly as a matter of habit¬†progress more slowly (and with le poo technique), which is FINE, if you want to progress slowly with le poo technique. If you are the exception to this rule, I’m happy for you. ūüėČ

 

So you see, the answer is: BOTH! Shop around until you find a coach with whom you have good rapport, and who clearly knows their stuff. Make this person your home base, and make sure to take workshops from different teachers passing through town, or just pop into another class here and there. Trust me – your “home base” won’t mind (and if they do, that’s a red flag – make sure you find out why. Anything other than a safety concern is no bueno). You don’t HAVE to train with more than one pro, but it’s certainly not a bad thing. Love and pull-ups, Laura

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

One Coach or Four? The Ups and Downs of Circus Monogamy: Part 1

Chris risked his life by getting in a wheel with me. That's dedication.

Chris risked his life by getting in a wheel with me. That’s dedication.

‚ÄúStudy hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.‚ÄĚ ‚Äē Richard Feynman

Hello, Dear Danglers! First, let me say how utterly delightful and insanely wonderful you all are. Your words of kindness and encouragement helped me  re-frame my entire experience! (if you missed it, click here) You are magical, and I love this brilliant  community right down to the tips of my toes.

It occurred to me that perhaps I¬† should contrast the¬†Sturm and¬†Drang¬†of the previous post with a¬†sliver of silver lining,¬† and so I shall. In between all the “ugly crying” and feeeeeeeeeelings, I also¬† got a few minutes with my two very favorite wheel coaches in all the world. I think now might be a great time to talk about the pros and cons of circus monogamy versus poly-amoury: should you have one coach or many?

 

In it For Life – My Main (Wheel) Man, Chris Delgado

Story time. Chris was teaching workshops nearby as I was having my wee crisis learning new techniques on¬†“twisties,” as we call them. When he had a five-minute break, he came over, put his hand on my shoulder, and gently asked, “Do you want me to fix your twisties?” I nodded, hiccupped, and¬†stepped into¬†my wheel. And with three words (“push, grab, GO!”), he did it. He fixed my twisties. THAT, friends, is the beauty of one coach.

 

  • They Know You. No doubt about it, poor Chris had never encountered a student like me. Demanding, emotional, Type A, lippy, and a New Yorker of 18 years, I don’t think he’ll disagree that it took time for us to learn to speak the same language. But here’s the beautiful part: now, he GETS me. He knows from minute¬†to minute¬†whether to push, or to cajole; whether to introduce new material, or let me be the one to set the pace. He knows how to fix what’s broken,¬†hammer my bad habits, and calm me down when I’m scared. He knows just where to spot me, the ridiculous things I’m likely to do, and my litany of ouchie places. He knows what I know, and what I don’t – we don’t have to invent the wheel every day. (!!!)

 

  • They Don’t Let You Get Away With Anything. It sucks when your coach calls you on all your shit. It is also wonderful.¬†Nobody said this wouldn’t be¬†complicated.

 

  • The Technique is Consistent. In training, especially in the early days, consistency counts. Doing the same thing the same way¬†increases strength, muscle memory, and¬†a solid foundation¬†on which to build.¬†BTW – this is one of the reasons it’s so important to find a coach with¬†EXCELLENT TECHNIQUE. Good freakin’¬†luck unlearning bad habits once you’ve been training them for years on end.

 

  • You Build Trust. Trust is sometimes¬†hard for¬†us in circus. Letting someone else be responsible for my safety in a metal wheel zooming along at what is SURELY 10,000 MPH just does not come easily. Real trust takes time. Also? Time will reveal whether that teacher is worthy of¬†your trust.

 

“So Laura,” you ask, “what more do you NEED? He’s an incredible wheeler, amazing coach, knows you, you trust him, and he puts up with all your crap. Seriously – you’ve got it all!”

I AGREE, Dear Danglers! And he will always be my Numero Uno! I cannot imagine loving a coach more. But tune in tomorrow, and I’ll tell you a (not at all) sordid tale of my wheel guy in Chicago, and why I really want them both… ūüėČ Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

For the second in this series, click here!

 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

When Training Hurts Your Heart

Photo by Masaru Watanabe

Photo by Masaru Watanabe

So, Dear Danglers, I know I promised you a bloggie on class etiquette (it’s coming!), but I find I have something else on my heart today. Indulge me, won’t you?

Tough Training – When Your Heart is Breaking

Going “back to school” with German wheel lessons was one of the best (and hardest) things to ever happen to me as a teacher. I cannot wrap my brain around¬†what I’ve learned about myself as a student, person, teacher– literally every lesson is a revelation. I would love to say that it’s been a series of pleasant discoveries, but it’s mostly been a lot of “ugly crying” and sheepish apologies. *sigh*

I went to Wheel Weekend in Chicago this past weekend– love it!!! I get to spend time with the superstars of wheel and train with some of the best coaches in the world. I wound up being spotted by¬†a top-level coach I hadn’t worked with before. I was nervous, so I chose a move that was working reasonably well, but I still didn’t feel comfy¬†doing alone. He tried to teach me a new technique, but I just couldn’t get it into my body, and failed again and again… and again. After about ten tries, he threw up his hands and said, “OK – I think we leave this.” And he turned abruptly, and walked away.

He didn’t come back to spot me that day, or the next, or the next, spending the majority of his time with the advanced students. I was OK with that. What I wasn’t OK with was being given up on – designated unteachable. Sounds like such a little thing, doesn’t it? But I was left breathless with hurt. I felt all my shortcomings and failures as a student rushing up at¬†me. ¬†Something broke in that moment.

Teachers – Your Words Carry More Weight than You Can Imagine

Today, I am left with a Very Uncomfortable Feeling. How many times have my careless words bruised a sensitive student? How many times has a heart been broken because I’ve had a bad day? How¬†often have¬†my students – who I LOVE – felt the full measure of my frustration, either with them or with my inadequacies as a teacher? How often has a student left my class with their light a little dimmer?

It’s a horrifying thought – that in a moment of frustration or carelessness, I might create scars that last for years, if not forever. That I might unwittingly kill the spark of love a student has for the work, and replace it with the kind of dull, sick feeling I have now whenever I look at my wheel. We forget – we forget how much responsibility we have been given to keep them safe – not just their bodies, but their spirits. Their heart for the work.

I jumped into Johannes (my beautiful wheel) last night for the first time since The Incident. Let’s just say it was a hard class, for a number of reasons. I’m a pick-yourself-up-dust-yourself-off-and-get-your-ass-in-gear kind of person, but every time I rocked, my failure¬†rose up to meet me. I found it more painful to be in my wheel than out of it.

For the Student – Moving On

I’m not exactly sure what to say here, because it’s new territory for me too. I cannot bear the thought of a life without wheel, so I suppose forging ahead is the only option.

Speaking as a teacher, I can tell you this. We have horrible days, frustrating moments, times when you terrify us. We have times when we feel like we’ve tried everything, and that we are failing you. And that is our shit, not yours. And it’s unacceptable when we make it yours. So, when you find your light a little dimmer, when your hand on the fabric or the bar feels more like condemnation than joy, here is a piece I come back to again and again:

“To Have Without Holding”, by Marge Piercy

“Learning to love differently is hard, love with the hands wide open, love with the doors banging on their hinges, the cupboard unlocked, the wind roaring and whimpering in the rooms rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds that thwack like rubber bands in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open stretching the muscles that feel as if they are made of wet plaster, then of blunt knives, then of sharp knives. It hurts to thwart the reflexes of grab, of clutch; to love and let go again and again. It pesters to remember the lover who is not in the bed, to hold back what is owed to the work that gutters like a candle in a cave without air, to love consciously, conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can’t do it, you say it’s killing me, but you thrive, you glow on the street like a neon raspberry, You float and sail, a helium balloon bright bachelor’s button blue and bobbing on the cold and hot winds of our breath, as we make and unmake in passionate diastole and systole the rhythm of our unbound bonding, to have and not to hold, to love with minimized malice, hunger and anger moment by moment balanced.”

Sorry if I’ve overshared, hope it’s not awkward when we see each other next. ūüėČ Keep your heads up, Dear Danglers. Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

3 Things Students Do that Make Their Teachers Insane

Miss Charlotte ALWAYS practices "safe silks"! Consequently, her awesomeness grows every class!

Miss Charlotte ALWAYS practices “safe silks”! Consequently, her awesomeness grows every class!

Being a teacher is weird sometimes. It’s a lot like being a parent (but also not at all like being a parent). See? Weird. You praise your participants for the things they do beautifully, want to throttle them when they’re being naughty, and hold your breath in fear when they put themselves in harms way. When students make progress (or hell, even try¬†really hard!), I nearly burst with pride. When they are disappointed in their work, my heart quite literally aches. When they choose to be naughty? That’s when the¬†insanity comes in. So, are you making your poor teacher 50 shades of crazy?

 

Is One of these Students YOU?

The Flail and Bail

The hallmark of the Flail and Bail is PANIC. This student will work well right up until the point when they feel their arms getting tired, or a twinge of discomfort, and then all hell breaks loose. It’s like someone throwing a wet,¬†angry, fabric-wrapped¬†badger at your head. This participant will typically get into a wrap or position, panic, and then try to get out as quickly as possible (FLAIL!). This usually results in more pain, an awkward position, and a hopeless knot. If they do manage to get out, they then fling themselves off the fabric to the ground (BAIL!). The risk of injury is much higher for this student, and they require quite a bit of supervision.

Remedy: Approach new things cautiously, one small piece at a time. Low and slow is the name of the game! This is about feeling in control, so take charge of that fabric and your body. The goal isn’t completion of a move, it’s progress in a move. Can you only go half-way? TOTALLY FINE. I would rather have you working consistent baby-steps with good¬†form¬†than go for the whole she-bang and wind up caught by one foot hopping around going, “ow ow ow ow.” If flailing and bailing is your default mode, it’s time to reset, friend. You will get stronger, learn faster, and have more success by working in smaller increments! Trust me – it’s not my first rodeo.

The Let-Go Guy

About eight years ago, I was guiding a young man into splits. He was stable, good form, working well. He hung out in his splits for a while, then just let go. (????!!!!!!!!) He was quite low, so no harm done, but I was shocked. When I asked him why on earth he had taken his hands off, he responded, “I just felt like I could.” This was my first encounter with the student I’ll call The Let-Go Guy.

This lad or lady is the most terrifying of all students! They frequently take unexpected risks, push themselves beyond their capabilities, or deliberately ignore instruction; along with Flail and Bail, they are the most likely to be injured in a class. While my students know that their safety in class is their responsibility, no teacher ever wants to see a student get hurt. Having a Let-Go Guy in class means constant vigilance, as they are generally incapable of realistically assessing the risks in any given move.

Remedy: If you’re a Let-Go Guy or Gal, allow me to be candid. Knock it off. You are killing your teacher. Pay special attention to the contra-indications and instructions for moves. If your teacher says, “Do this low,” please don’t try to place it in the rafters. If she says, “Don’t take your hands off,” then don’t take your hands off. Not even one. Your coach has a different perspective than you do, and can see very real and immediate dangers that you cannot. By disregarding instruction, not only do you place yourself at risk, but you eat up all your instructors focus. Put on your listening ears, and do your teacher the courtesy of honoring his or her guidelines.

Rafter Wrapper

The Rafter Wrapper likes to work high. The problem comes when they get 15 feet up and forget steps 1-5 of whatever they are supposed to be doing, and you hear a little voice from above say, “So, now, what do I do?” Gah! Ironically, this student is almost ALWAYS¬† a kinesthetic learner, meaning they learn by doing. So good luck talking them through the move! We might get there eventually, but it sucks all the coach’s focus, and takes up a good deal of class time.

Remedy: It’s simple: stay low until you’re supremely confident in what you’re supposed to be doing. If you’re working low, you have the benefit of my hands helping to spot you through moves – you’ll learn faster, and I won’t want to put you in time out when you come down. ūüėČ


 

You and your teacher have the same goal: to bring out your breathtaking awesomeness.


 

I love my students. No really – I adore them, even the ones who test the limit of my sanity. I’ve even BEEN a number of these students before (ask Chris Delgado how many ways I make him crazy in wheel class – he’ll gladly tell you), so I know from whence I speak. Learning new things as an adult is HARD, especially if it’s something that doesn’t come easily. WHAT IF (and I’m talking to myself here, too) we got out of our own damned way and let our teachers teach us? You and your¬†coach have the same goal: to bring out your breathtaking awesomeness. Your successes are my successes. Your heartbreak is my heartbreak. I worry about you, cheer for you, and wrack my brain for ways to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Work with me, not against me. And have a care for my mental health – I don’t need any more gray hairs! ….. Oh please, who are we kidding? My colorist and I are so tight, I’ll never see a strand of gray.

Next week, tune in to chat about class etiquette! It’s a conversation worth having. Love and pull-ups, Laura

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

You Look Constipated in the Air – 6 Ways to Get Things Movin’!

 

Baruch Bash 2012¬†So, Dear Danglers, I’m sitting here drinking a gallon of coffee (Magic Elixir of Life), and watching my guilty pleasure: “The Sing Off”. Oh, how I love it! It pushes every cheesy musical button I have. Anyhoo, as I was watching this morning, I was struck yet again by the difference between artists who perform with their whole soul, and those bobble heads who look like they fell out of a Miss Universe pageant (Constipated Performers). Give me authentic and raw verses slick and sanitized any day! So, how do you avoid looking like you need a Metamucil IV stat? Re-think your goals.

 

Your Goal in Class is Probably Wrong

When you first begin your training, the emphasis is on learning foundational technique, broadening your movement vocabulary, getting stronger, and trying not to fall down. As you gain strength, confidence, and learn how to straighten your supporting leg (STRAIGHTEN YOUR DAMNED SUPPORTING LEG!!!), many of you begin to place the emphasis on cramming your head full of as many new moves as you can. WRONG! Let new moves be the “spice” of class, but the meat and potatoes should be cultivating your own style in the air. You can’t begin too early with this! Once you’re working comfortably and confidently in a move, your next question is, “How do I make this MINE?” There is only ONE YOU, and please believe me when I say that the world does not need any more aerial automatons.


Tweet: Let new aerial moves be the “spice” of class, but the meat and potatoes should be cultivating your own style in the air.


6 Ways to Loosen Things Up

  1. What do you like? How does YOUR body like to move? What feels good? What looks good? Are you “liquid” in your movements? Sharp? Flexible? Strong? Start answering these, and you have a great place to start.
  2. Now, PLAY! Some of the best advice I ever got (thank you, Vladimir Chvalbo!) was to take a move – ANY move – and see how many ways you can play in it. Bring yourself up, down, sideways, backwards, left, right – PLAY.
  3. Work that tempo! Nothing screams snooze-fest more than an artist who only moves at one speed. We ALL have to fight against this – it’s comfy to work at “our” tempo all the time! Vary that rhythm, friend – shake it up! (… and down, and UP, and down, JAZZ HANDS! TURN TURN STEP KICK SHIMMY BAM!!!!!…. ahem. Sorry – accidental dance break…)
  4. What do YOU have to say? What are you expressing with your body right now? Doesn’t have to be all angst and underpants, it can be joy, freedom, desire, melancholy, fierceness – anything! Start playing a bit with bringing the inside out. (WARNING: this takes some bravery and vulnerability, so start small if you’re nervous! Instead of “crushing defeat”, maybe try “a little disappointed”. Instead of “I want to rip your clothes off”, try “call me maybe”. You get the idea.)
  5. Dance like nobody’s watching! We can get REALLY hung up on not wanting to look stupid. I get that!!! But being free from the good opinion of others is like a muscle that needs to be worked out. Take tiny creative risks – move your arm or leg, roll your head, etc. Little by little, you’ll get braver and braver. Today? An arm sweep. Tomorrow? The world. (note: if you’re in a class that isn’t supportive of creativity – teacher or students – find a new class. Your teacher is there to keep you safe and teach you good technique, not squash your creative soul.)¬†
  6. Video yourself! You’ll never know if that hair-ography is doing you proud unless you video! Always ask your teacher (different instructors have different policies), and remember – your classmates are your classmates, not your personal videographers. When you watch yourself, remember – BE GENTLE WHILE YOU’RE BEING HONEST. You’re trying out new stuff, and being very brave. Make a note of what doesn’t work, and focus on what does. Now, do more of the latter!

¬†It’s the best thing in the world to see someone working from their soul as a completely unique individual. Some folks fall into this naturally, but most of us have to work damned hard at that kind of performance or approach. So start where you’re comfortable, and then sneak a toe outside that comfort zone. You’ll be glad you did (and so will your audience). Baby steps, ya’ll! Love and pull-ups, Laura

Here’s what got me going this morning. Wait till they “take it to church”!

 

 
 

 

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Green Machine Soup for Aerial Power!

Hello Dear Danglers! It’s coooooooold here in NYC, and cold = soup! This is what’s for lunch today at Casa Witwer, and I thought you guys might enjoy it too. It’s nice and light, and has yummy greens to decrease inflammation (common in folks who pursue physical awesomeness). It’s really simple, too! Enjoy! Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

Green Machine Soup Recipe (scale up or down as you like!)

  • 2 cups stock (any kind)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 handfulls of spinach
  • a splash of balsamic vinegar to taste
  • salt & pepper (or, I use Trader Joe’s Everything Seasoning – YUM)

Put everything in a pot, simmer until tender. Sprinkle with hemp and/or sesame seeds if you like and serve!

 

  

 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.