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Category Archives: Awesomeness

5 Good Reasons You’re Not Getting That Trick

 Today, Dear Danglers, I got a trick I have been working hard on for over half a year. I call them “Wet Towels”, and they aren’t considered a particularly difficult move on wheel. They terrified me in the beginning, then just started really pissing me off. I might get them once or twice, celebrate and think I had them, and then they would disappear for the next 6 weeks, when I’d get another one, celebrate, think I had it, you get the picture. This cycle made for some very, very tense wheel training, usually resulting in me sobbing in a heap on the floor (Chris’s FAVORITE part of class). But a few weeks ago, something clicked, and suddenly, I was getting most of my towels over! And today, I got 4 out of 4 – a new record.

 

Why This Is A Big Deal

… because I secretly thought I would never get them. Now, I talk a good game to my students. They hear, “If you train it, it will come!” ad nauseum; and I believe that, I do! Just not when it came to me and my towels. So today, I stand before you as living proof that IF YOU TRAIN IT, IT WILL COME! I know some of you are struggling with certain moves (inverts come immediately to mind), so I wanted to have a quick look at what may be keeping you from the aerial awesomeness you crave in a particular trick.

  1. You just learned it. There are some things you’re just not going to get right out of the gate! This is the time to have a good laugh, go through it a few times, and repeat to yourself: “If circus were easy, they would call it tag!”
  2. You’re not strong enough. Some moves take a level of strength and body awareness that you may not have cultivated yet. Can you break it down into smaller bits to practice? Ask your coach! A good teacher can break ANY move down into little bitty bits if that’s what works for you. Trust me – with consistent training, you will get strong enough to do whatever your little heart desires!
  3. It’s hard and takes a lot of practice. Some moves are just plain difficult. Really – that’s it. Instead of trying to get the whole shebang, see if you can focus on a part of the whole, like keeping your leg straight, or not swearing when it bends.
  4. You’re letting yourself off the hook too easily. Sometimes, you don’t really want to do a trick, so you make sure you can’t. Or, you may not be holding yourself to a high enough standard. It’s OK to let yourself off the hook sometimes, just make sure it doesn’t become an everyday thing.
  5. You’re scared. It’s OK to be scared! A healthy respect for what we do is what keeps us from falling on our heads! Again: break it down. Modify. When you feel brave enough to do the whole thing, feel the fear and do it anyway. Make sure you’re comfy enough not to spaz!

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!!!!

When you finally get that move that has been plaguing you for days, weeks, months, or years, CELEBRATE! Do a little dance, squeal, jump up and down, put your wheel instructor in a head lock (my preferred expression of celebration), but please PLEASE don’t sweep it under the rug! When you brush off a major victory, you downplay all your hard work, and are a total Debbie Downer. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer, so give yourself a pat on the back already! And remember, IF YOU TRAIN IT, IT WILL COME, GRASSHOPPER! Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

Big thanks to the best wheel teacher on the planet. Here are my Towels. They ain’t pretty, but they ARE over! Pass me a margarita!

 

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You’re Too Fat for Circus Training (and Other BS You May Believe)

Me in my dancing days!

Me in my dancing days!

Many years ago, in ye Days of Olde, I made like a ballerina. I danced quite a bit from elementary school through college, and a little when I moved to NYC (nothing terribly amazing). Man – there is nothing like staring at yourself in a leotard and tights in a full length mirror for four hours a day to make you painfully hyper-aware of your body! See, I’ve always been just a little too much in every way – a little too loud, a little too opinionated, a little too big for pointe shoes. Then, I found circus. And suddenly, I was just right.

 

What’s the difference? I mean, let’s be candid – I’m expected to be fit and and fabulous for my job. Why did I feel like I had struck body image gold? Because suddenly, the emphasis was off my body shape, and onto the amazing things I could make it do. Instead of looking at fellow artists and wondering how I could get that thin, I wondered how I could get that strong, or flexible, or engaging. I cried with joy (and pure amazement) when I did my first full pull-up, and it felt like Christmas morning every time I found a new muscle. It felt so good to celebrate my body instead of fight it!

 

Body Beautiful: Learning to Appriciate Your Miracle

One of the things I love most about circus is the sheer variety of bodies and the incredible things they can do. Long and willowy, compact and powerful, generously sensual, tight and angular, and everything in between. Not to get all woo-woo-touchy-feely with you here, but there really is only one you – one body just like yours. Try this (actually do it  you’ll be glad you did).

 

  • where are you strong?
  • where are you flexible?
  • where are you weak?
  • what is uniquely beautiful about your body?
  • what do you love about the way you move?

 

That – right there – is the blueprint for your training! Train to your strengths, work on your weak spots, focus on cultivating your own beautiful style. I’m not going to lie – if you are significantly over or under weight, very tight in the muscles, or are working around a dodgy fill-in-the-blank, the work has to be modified. But so what? It doesn’t mean you don’t start. It means you modify.

 

Circus has room for every body, every age, every creative soul who just doesn’t feel like being bound by gravity today. Don’t get me wrong – I still love to dance. And I understand the emphasis on body shape. I do. I’m just opting out, and I invite you to do the same. Are you more lush than lithe? More angular than agile? More chutzpa than hero? There is room for you in this wonderful community. Circus doesn’t demand that you start with a certain shape, or that you be able to do 20 pull-ups on day one while sitting on your own head. It DOES demand that you put in the time, do the work (without whining), and understand that amazing things take time to train up to. Here’s to the journey!  Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

 

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VIDEO: Your Crazypants Creative Genius

Oh Dear Danglers, there are no words to express how much I loved this TED talk. Take a few minutes, watch, and drink this up. My favorite idea was the one of the “disembodied creative spirit” which comes to you… or not; that the “genius” flows through you, not from you. This changed the way I am thinking about my work, and about my relationship to it. What does this do for you? How are you seeing your creative process differently after watching it? This work that we do is not just foot locks, hip keys, and Pilates; it is a living, breathing inspiration or poem or prayer or dance or something. Leave a comment below – how are you thinking of your work today? 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.

 

This Blog is Now on Kindle!!!!!!

I am pee-my-pants excited to tell you that my little bloggie is now available on Kindle! WOOT!

 

 

NOW, Dear Dangler, I need your help! I need you to show me the love! If you enjoy this blog (and I hope you do!!!), won’t you please tell the world? Here’s how!

  1. Click here to go to my page on Amazon – the blog is called Aerial Fabulousness.
  2. Click that little ‘Like’ button under the title.
  3. Leave a quick review while you’re there!

That’s it! (also – you can actually subscribe if you feel moved!) Thanks so much in advance – this blog is a labor of love, and it tickles me right down to my tippy-toes that so many of you find it helpful. So, gimme a virtual high-five, Dear Danglers, and I’ll see you in the air! Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

PS – Hey – click one of the little social media doodads below & share the good news!

 

How to Organize Your Training So You Actually Get Stuff Done

OK – raise your hand if you’ve ever reserved rehearsal space for yourself, hung your apparatus, and then spent the next 75 minutes noodling around four inches off the floor, stretching endlessly on the floor, or gossiping with Jane at the desk. Sound familiar? Yep – I thought so. Here’s how to organize your training so you maximize improvement, save money, and leave feeling awesome about the work you’ve done. Onwards!

Me the day my wheel teacher left…

My Struggle with Training (Cue Sad Violins)

Those of you who see me on a weekly basis know how painful the past month has been – my wheel instructor has been away and left me to fend for myself (sniff…). The first week was fine, I was super productive during training, and wheeling hard. Week two? Still good, but I found myself gettting a little chatty with everyone in the space, and maybe I opted out of some moves I didn’t feel like doing that day (I’ll do it TWICE tomorrow!). Week three was le poo. I was all out of motivation, hard things were still feeling hard, and I spent more time mindlessly rocking and singing “Baby Got Back” than I did actually wheeling. Training FAIL! So, I made myself a little listie that got me back on track in one session – BAM! (Because I love ya’ll, I’m sharing it with you! See below!)

How To Structure Your Acrobatic & Aerial Training for Maximum Results

1. Give yourself a specific goal. If you’re not working towards a specific goal (a show or act creation, for example), it’s tough to keep the motivation flowing. Give yourself something really concrete and important to work towards, even if it’s only stringing together a couple of moves – everybody starts somewhere! 🙂

2. Train with a friend or two! It’s more fun, you’re less likely to slack of in front of others, and it’s often cheaper to train with a crew. Also? They will tell you when something is not pretty.

3. Know thyself. For me, 60-90 minutes of focused training is perfect. Any longer and I start singin’ bad 80’s rap, and nobody wants that. Figure out your optimum training time and stick to it.

4. Video. It may be depressing to realize that wrapping one leg around your head twice doesn’t look nearly as awesome as you thought it did, but at least you know. Also? Your knee is bent and your foot is sickled. 🙁

5. Make a list. Now, I know you’ve been keeping careful notes of what you work on in class (you are, aren’t you?). So, make a Work Sheet! Include your vigorous warm-up, moves you’re comfortable with, moves you need to work on, conditioning, and deep stretching.

A little gem of wisdom I recently got. Ask yourself: what’s the one thing that, if I trained it consistently, would make a huge difference in my circus work? Got it? Ok, why aren’t you training it? I don’t know either. Get on that TODAY, Dear Dangler!

 

NOW, a wee giftie from me to you! Click here for a free template to get you started (no opt-in required), and the next time I see you working out, I want to see you actually working out! Big 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.

 

When In Doubt, Boobies Out – Posture & The Aerial Performer

If you look like a spastic turtle doing the backstroke on silks, or you’re 25 but look 85 in your trapeze video, friend – you have an Aerial Posture Problem. What’s up with that? What is proper aerial posture? Does it matter beyond aesthetics? Are you destined to resemble an arthritic tortoise forever? Let’s point our boobies skyward and find out.

Proper Aerial Posture 101

Generally speaking, you get an A+ if you:

  • Press your shoulders down away from your ears – you want a neck like Cleopatra, not Beatrice the Sharp-Toothed  Buzzard.
  • Now, take those shoulder blades and engage them down and back towards the center of your spine, as opposed to allowing them to round forward (Quasimodo back!). Shoulders should feel firmly pulled into their sockets.
  • Lift your chin, and lightly tilt your chest up. Let your boobies point skywards, ladies! (Well, not that much, but “When in doubt, boobies out!”).

The effect should be elegant and regal! In addition to making you look smokin’ hot, great posture in the air helps protect the shoulder joint and upper back, reducing the risk of acute or overuse injuries. Everybody wins!

Why Posture Matters

  • A graceful carriage is lovely to look at! Just by dropping your shoulders an inch or opening your chest, you could go from drabulous to fabulous in 3 seconds! Werk.
  • Poor alignment places a lot of stress on your joints (particularly the shoulder), and can result in overuse injuries like tendinitis/bursitis, and severe muscular imbalances that will haunt you for years.
  • Good posture is more efficient. Efficiency = more energy to spend on rockin’ out with your bad self!

So, while you don’t need to climb with a book on your head (though I’ll give you mad props if you do), you will want to cultivate lovely lines in the chest and neck. Video can be super helpful here. So, make like Emily Post, grab a couple of cucumber sandwiches, and get crackin’ on that posture! Making the world more beautiful, one back, chest, and neck at a time. Love and pull-ups, Laura

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But I’m On Vacation! Training On The Road

Well, Dear Danglers, as you read this I will be winging my way to glorious Belize for some much needed R & R (and a little work, of course!). Naturally, I thought this might be the perfect time to have a little chat about training while you travel. Should you work out (yes), rest (yes), or hit on the cabana boys (definitely yes)? Here’s the skinny.

 

When To Train

Been too busy at home to get proper workouts in? Are you somewhere amazing and gorgeous with luscious hiking trails, heavenly promenades, or superior snorkeling? What a perfect time to train without “training”! Sometimes, it’s enough just to stay active. I don’t belong to a gym here in NYC (all my extra money goes to working on German wheel – seriously), so when I see a fully tricked out gym, my heart goes pitter-pat. Do what sounds good to you on any given day!

When To Call It a Week

If you’ve been training like a crazy person, especially if you notice your body is more prone to injury or you’ve been getting sick a lot lately, it’s time to take some time off. I promise – a week off is not going to undo years worth of training; in fact, if youve been working hard, taking a week off to let muscles recover, inflammation subside, and little ouchies heal can do more for you than a workout ever could. So go on – slather yourself in Hawaiian Tropic, order a Mai Tai, and set your sights on that waiter who clearly has designs on you. I mean – spend several hours in meditation and prayer. Yes, that is what I meant.

What To Do

Whatever you want – go crazy! If there’s no gym, see what’s available in the realm of outdoor training (or the “Earth Gym” as I call it). Stuck in Podunk-ville, USA with exactly no palatable options? Log into www.hulu.com and check out the free workout videos. Find a pull-up bar (aka playground), do some push-ups, and have a little dance party in your hotel room (pull the shades so nobody calls an ambulance thinking you’re having a seizure).

Most of all? Enjoy yourself. Luxuriate in the miracle of a body that does such incredible things, and give it what it needs! Big Love from Belize (and a wink from Raoul, my favorite waiter)!

 

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Think It Through: How To Improve Your Aerial Performance in 10 Seconds

If you skip out of class on Tuesday night and don’t give aerials another thought until, well, the next Tuesday night, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful ways to improve your aerial game: visualization (…cue Enya… go for chanting Tibetan monks….standby for healing crystal chakra vibrations….). No, I haven’t gone all woo-woo on you, but I AM going to share with you the secrets of the Universe how you can literally think your way to aerial awesomeness. Read on, mah peeps!

 

Why Bother to Visualize Your Work Outside of Class?

Because everything you do begins with a thought. Now, whether it’s an awesome thought, or an OMG-I-can’t-believe-I-just-did/ate/tapped-that! kind of thought is another matter entirely. Aim high, people! Some items for your consideration:

  • what you think about expands. Thinking about alfredo sauce and Ring Dings will “expand” your behind (because you will eat them). Thinking like a skinny b*tch is likely to have the opposite effect. See how this works?
  • visualizing creates mental “roadmaps” that translate into physical experience. I don’t know the science behind it all, but I can promise you this: run your moves in your head and your body will follow at your next session.
  • mental rehearsal strengthens your commitment & resolve – you will come into class ready to OWN THIS THING! Let’s do it.

Methods to the Madness

Here are a few things that work for me:

  • if you’re having trouble with a particular move or correction, go through it in slow motion in your head. See yourself executing it flawlessly and smoothly. Now, speed it up slowly in your brain. Mentally run it until it feels like you’re not even “thinking” about it. Try to feel it in your body.
  • if your stamina is le poo, figure out why (click here  and here  for some possible reasons). If you’re not breathing properly for instance, visualize your sequences and see/feel yourself breathing deeply throughout. Use word cues (“breath” or “rest” for example) in your mind and in your rehearsal to prompt your body to follow.
  • if you’re rehearsing for a show, put that music on your iPod and run run run run that piece in your head. I do it walking to and from the train – use any and every opportunity to get it into your brain.

 

The brain is a lot like a muscle: if you’re not used to using it in this way, it’s going to feel funny at first. Stick with it! You can visualize yourself right into all sorts of amazing stuff! Lemme hear you – how have YOU used visualizations in your aerial work? Progression? Healing from injury? Leave a comment, I’d love to know. Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

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