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Category Archives: Training

Awesome Back Bending Resource!!!

Hello Dear Danglers! Just a quick post today. A friend on the F-books (thanks Autumn!!!) pointed out a GREAT video resource to help keep your spine healthy and bend-y. It’s only free until August 18, so jump on that!

Go to, go to Sign Up, and create a free account. Each week, they have a free class! The one this week is “Compression-Free Back Bends”. There are also paid memberships if this is your thing. I love free (and I’ll bet you do too), so YAY!


Enjoy! 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.


Defensive Much? Your Ability to Deal with Criticism Determines Success in the Air AND on the Ground!

Truth? Criticism is hard. It can hurt. Even the most constructive of comments can sometimes land wrong, and let’s not even get to the shooting-straight-from-the-hip kind! What’s a sensitive artist soul to do? Armor up, Gorgeous – criticism is a gold mine.

Why It’s So Valuable

I recently gave a student (who wishes to go pro) some rigging corrections, and if looks could kill, I would have forks stabbed into my eyeballs and at least 20 knives impaling key organs. Instead of asking questions and embracing an opportunity to learn, girlfriend shut down. What a shame! The older I get, the more I realize that the world is FULL of people with oodles of things to teach you if you shut your mouth and open your ears (which, admittedly, I could do a lot more of myself!). Got an expert giving you corrections, advice, or critiques? JUMP on that train, friend! Even if it’s not info you can use right now, or if it doesn’t align with your goals or beliefs, come at it with a receptive heart and see what you can find. Brace yourself – you may be mistaken, working inefficiently, or seeing a very narrow slice of the whole picture.


When to Listen and When to Mentally Moon Them


  • when they’re an expert and know more than you do – ask them lots of questions!
  • when they’re your target audience – listen carefully, this is marketing gold
  • when they have a very different point of view – this can shake you up and encourage you to see more than just your back yard

Moon them:

  • if they are decidedly NOT an expert
  • when they’re far from your target audience
  • when they’re abusive or aggressive (you can still consider their input even if it’s delivered in an indelicate way, just mentally moon them while you do it)
  • they are someone you suspect of having impure motives, or not considering what is best for you


How to Thwart the Tantrum You REALLY WANT TO THROW

Truth? I really struggle with this. If I’m in a receptive mood, no problemo. BUT, if I’m having an (ahem) “sensitive” day, all criticism is like nails on a chalkboard. And you know what? I lose. When I succumb to defensiveness, and essentially stuff my fingers in my ears and scream LALALALALALALALA, I lose. When I think of some of the opportunities that have passed me by because my ego got in the way, I cringe. But – I can do better! And so can you.

  • Be a student, even if it’s just for a few minutes
  • Write it down – there’s something in the act of writing things down that makes them feel less personal
  • Speaking of, don’t take it personally – easier said than done, for sure! Especially when it FEELS very personal. State your point of view without resorting to defensiveness, and listen to see if there’s some truth in what they’re saying. Asking questions is a great way to do this!
  • If you’re getting defensive and emotional, explain that you’re not in a place to really hear them right this second, but you value what they have to say. Ask if you can continue the conversation another time, and then do it! People understand!

The more we can really listen and take good criticism, the better we get. Period. This is something I’m really committed to working on – come join me! Love and pull-ups, Laura

For more on becoming a better student, have a look at this blog post! 🙂 

Are we too thin-skinned to handle criticism? Interesting read!

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.


Featured in “Natural Awakenings” Magazine!!!!

Hey – this is pretty cool! I was just featured in “Natural Awakenings” magazine! I think that’s pretty nifty. 🙂


Sandra Murphy writes:


“Aerial silk classes take exercising to new heights. Cirque du Soleil-style and more elegant than rope climbing, students don’t have to be in peak shape to start. “Just show up and want to learn,” says international performing aerialist Laura Witwer, who teaches how to climb fabric attached to steel rigging 16 to 25 feet high in New York City spaces. “We work close to the floor for beginners,” she explains. “They learn to climb, then to hang upside-down, and then tie knots. We’ve had all body sizes, shapes and ages in class; it’s a great way to stretch and add strength.”


Read the entire article here! 🙂 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.


Inter-webs Goodies!

Hello Dear Danglers! I’m on vacation for a week (!!!!!), but I found some goodies floating around the F-Books I thought you might enjoy.  I have my own thoughts on these which I’ll share soon, but for now, I’m off to float in the lake with my ankle-biter. Read, discuss amongst yourselves. 😉 Love and pull-ups, Laura

Stop Stretching Your Hamstrings So Much – an interesting take on hamstring injury related to hyper-flexibility.

How Dancers Can Achieve a Better Body Line – if you can wade through the dancer-speak, this is a great reminder of how to keep the body long, with beautiful, elegant carriage.

Shoulder Bursitis/Rotator Cuff Tendinitis – a great overview of the most common repetetive stress injury in aerialists.


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.


I’m Back – Killian Cog Pictures!

Hello all! A huge thank you for all your kind words and well-wishes for “The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog”, our new touring show. SUPER EXCITING! I’m still playing catch-up, but I thought you might want a quick peek at some of the acts. More soon! Enjoy! Love and pull-ups, Laura


Aerial wheel!



Duo Spanish Web



Hula hoops!



Hand to Hand



German wheel (that’s me in the corner!)





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.


Exercises for Strong, Sexy Knees – Rehab ‘Em Right!

Hello Dear Danglers! Some of you are dealing with wonky knees, and I came across a few resources you might find useful. We always think of keeping our upper bodies pain & injury-free, but knees are pretty helpful too. 😉 Enjoy! Love and Pull-ups, Laura


PS – these are also great if you’re having trouble getting legs straight in any crocheted position on fabrics!


Build a Better Knee – Runners World

3 Exercises to Cure Your Knee Pain


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 Injury Happens, The First Hour is Critical!

Hello Dear Danglers! You’ve been there, I’ve been there. You’re training, or walking past the really sharp coffee table, or knitting at unsafe speeds, and BAM! Injury happens. Whether it’s a bruise, break, or chronic condition, injuries are awful. Aside from the pain and inconvenience of the actual ouchie, the mental and emotional toll can be considerable (light burns and bruises excepted – suck it up). What’s a dangler to do? Let’s chat.

At the First Sign of Pain

STOP. Do you hear me? STOP. Wait, breathe. Assess. Pain is your body’s alarm system, and shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, how you handle that injury in the first hour can make a HUGE difference in how quickly you can get back in the air.  Circus hurts, no doubt about it! But there’s a big difference between the “pinchy” pain of training, and the “I’m severing an artery” pain of injury. If it’s the latter, you should:

  1. STOP.
  2. If the injury is severe, emergency medical protocol should be observed. Remember – NEVER TRAIN ALONE.
  3. If you have a visible wound (a burn or open cut, for example), get thee to the first aid station and take care of it pronto. Don’t get that sh*t on my fabric. 😉
  4. No external wound? Not an emergency? Breathe, wait. Let your body “settle”.
  5. Assess your pain. Has it disappeared? Grown worse? Stayed about the same?
  6. If your pain has disappeared and you decide to continue with your training, baby that area for the rest of your session. Remember – you don’t get points for making it worse. Only hurting during a certain move? Repeat after me: “I’m going to skip that one today.”
  7. Grown worse or stayed the same? Re-assess – do you need medical attention? Regardless, no more training today for you! First aid, ya’ll. Commit this to memory, it can speed your healing. RICE:
  • Rest – yes, YOU.
  • Ice – repeat after me: NEVER HEAT A FRESH INJURY!!!! Ice ice, baby.
  • Compress – grab an ACE bandage and gently compress, careful not to cut off your circulation.
  • Elevate – prop that baby up!

Many doctors also recommend a standard dose of an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory (ex: ibuprofin) soon after the injury to reduce inflammation.

Got an instructor who pushes you into pain? Disregards your experience of pain? Shames you when you get hurt? That is not ok. Remember – it’s YOUR body. If it breaks, they don’t have to live in it. Part of any physical endeavor is learning to OWN your body, and set limits for yourself and others. Protect that beautiful bod!


When a Diagnosis is in Order

Is it an “injury”, not just an ouchie? Getting worse instead of better? Very painful? You can certainly ask your instructor for their input, but don’t mistake them for a medical professional. Here’s a great blog post (brought to my attention by the lovely and talented Sabrina McNeal) about exactly that. You turn to the pros to teach you to soar through the air, you’ll want to consider doing the same when it comes to your diagnosis & treatment. Dance Instructors and Injury Management: Leave it to the Pros

Have a lovely, safe, and injury free week, my lovlies! I’ll see you in the air! Love and pull-ups, Laura


For next week: Ow Ow OW! Working Around an Injury, Part 2

The week after: Ow Ow OW! Working Around a Chronic Condition, Part 3


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.


Madison Circus Space!

Want to support some truly awesome folks with some big circus dreams? Let’s help the Madison Circus Space get started! Let’s see circus spread across the USA! This is something you can DO, today. Do you have a wonderful training space near you? Awesome – pay it forward so others can discover the magic you’ve found! Don’t have a training space near you? Consider this a karmic seed planted. We have to support each other, and this is one very concrete way of doing just that!!! Not in a position to give right now? That’s OK! Support them by sharing this link with five people right now. Let’s do this thing! Love and pull-ups, Laura


Hands UP! Essential Hand Warm-Up for Aerial & Circus Training

Hello Dear Danglers! So. You’ve warmed up your shoulders, you’ve stretched out your hamstrings, you’ve sat in a straddle for half an hour chatting with your classmate Jane about last nights episode of “The Vampire Diaries”. Great! BUT – have you warmed up the part of your body that will get the most use in the next hour? Have you warmed up your hands?

When we think “warm up”, we think of the big muscles of the chest, back, abs, legs, etc. But the small muscles of the hand need some lovin’ too! Especially in the early days, you may find yourself waking up with “claw hands”, or soreness in the finger joints. Totally normal! This is inflammation in the joints, otherwise known as arthritis. Now, before you freak out, know that this soreness is usually temporary, and doesn’t meaningfully affect training. But a good hand warm-up can go a long way towards steering you away from chronic hand issues down the line, and prepares your hands for the important work of, you know, gripping the apparatus to keep you alive. 😉

Below is my hand warm-up that I do before training and performance. It ain’t fancy, just takes my hands through their expected range of motion and gets those joints lubed up before I abuse them. I hope you find it useful! Do you have any hand exercises that you love? Share them in the comments below! 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.