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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




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“The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog”

Howdy, Dear Danglers! Been a bit quiet on the blog lately because….




Ahem, we’re a little excited. 🙂 I’m drowning in costumes, props, and an assortment of cogs, but here’s a wee sneak peek at what’s been going on behind the scenes. If you’re in NYC June 28 & 29th, we’re doing a preview of select acts at SLAM, in conjunction with my student showcase. More details soon! Love and pull-ups, Laura



How to Get a Smokin’ Hot Hip Key PICTURE Update!

Hello Dear Danglers! Ask and ye shall receive! Here are photos illustrating the three steps to a glorious hip key – enjoy! Love and pull-ups, Laura


(excerpted from “The Secret to a Sexy Hip Key”)

The 3 Parts of a Sexy Hip Key

I’m not going to go deeply into the physical mechanics of a hip key – your instructor can take you through that. But I WILL let you in on some secrets to make it smokin’ hot!



1. Red lipstick. OH – and a solid first position I like to call, “Look at your butt.” First, make sure your elbows are glued to your waist. Let’s say I’m keying right. I bring my fabric to the right side of my body (as if I were inverting). I then bring my right leg straight forward, my left leg back. Now, look at your butt – there should be a fabric on it. Legs should be straight here (bent legs = Poopy Technique).







2. Sassy librarian hair. AND a very wide straddle! After the fabric is on your butt & you scissor it between your legs, you should do the biggest, most indelicate straddle you possibly can. Your legs should be even, and straight out in front of you. DON’T allow one leg to go higher than the other – you should look as if you’re sitting on the floor.








3. Stilettos. Tap the taut (“live”) fabric with the left foot as you key over. Leg too low to tap? You’ve got Droopy Drawer Syndrome – your butt’s not high enough!



Many thanks to the stunning and gorgeous Ashley Ortiz (who I totally ambushed with these photos – heh heh).





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Sour Grapes: Why is SHE Working and I’M not??!!!

Good question! IMPORTANT question! Also? Complicated question. We all have “sour grape” moments, when we wonder why someone (who is CLEARLY an inferior artist…) is getting oodles of work, but we’re left out in the cold. It’s not fair, right?! Well, not so fast…


What Goes Into Hiring

The first thing to understand is what goes on on the other side of the casting table. For a more in-depth take on this, click here. Quick considerations:


1 – do you have a reputation for being easy to work with, or would you give Shannen Doherty a run for her money?

2 – are you SURE you’re as awesome as you think? How’s that technique? How’s your performance quality? Just askin’….

3 – do you only perform on one apparatus or do you have two solid acts ready to go tomorrow?

4 – ever pulled a Charlie Sheen? How’s your reputation? Are you always late? Flaky? Do you get back to people ASAP on things? Reputation is HUGE.

5 – are you chained to a day job? How’s your availability for gigs & rehearsals?

6 – have you been whining about how you don’t know ________________? (about rigging, how to get work, who to submit to, etc.) How pro-active are you at continuing your education and shoring up your weak spots?


What You May Be Missing

That “sub-par” performer you’re hating on must be doing SOMETHING right! Your job is to figure out what it is. Does s/he:

1 – have a great website chock full of photos and video?

2 – cultivate good relationships with companies who hire circus artists by updating them regularly on skills, acts, and shows?

3 – have at least two performance-ready acts suitable for events or shows? An aerial plus a ground act is GOLD, though two aerial acts can work too.

4 – pound that pavement? How many doors have YOU been knocking on? Producers aren’t just going to magically come to you!

5 – constantly network and surround themselves with amazing people? Make a concerted effort to learn about aspects of rigging or the business that they don’t know?

So, what if they’re working all the time because they work for peanuts? That, my friend, is another story. Don’t do that – it’s silly.


Stash Your Ego and Learn as Much as You Can

Here it is in a nutshell: as the circus industry floods with aerialists (and oh – is it FLOODING), only a few will work. Why? Because only a few will treat it like a business. You will not know everything day one out of the gate. In fact, you will never know everything. Some of the best advice I ever got:

1 – surround yourself with the BEST people

2 – learn everything you can. Everyone has something to teach you – even if it’s a cautionary tale.

Pay attention to what other artists are doing that seems to be productive, and take note of what isn’t. If you’re not working, you must take a long, hard look at why, and not be afraid of the answer. Find yourself getting defensive? Fear. Making excuses? Fear. Your artistic future is in your hands – how will you shape it TODAY? You have more power than you can imagine. Get busy. Spend less time chewing sour grapes, more time building AN EMPIRE! 😉 Love and pull-ups, Laura

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Who I’m Loving Today – Sofia Tsola

Dear Danglers – that is ONE HELLUVA STARTING POSITION! Notice how gloriously deliberate and precise every move is. Also? Clean and sassy (she doesn’t gum up her stunning work with a lot of random noodling). I love this, and hope you will too! Love and pull-ups, Laura






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When to Retire Your Carabiners

Hello Dear Danglers! The following was brought to my attention by one of my all-time favorite riggers (and all around great guy) Mr Bill Auld. Many of us have heard the whole “if you drop a carabiner from higher than waist height you should retire it” bit. That’s super extreme, ya’ll. Give the following a read, and you’ll see that it’s not quite that simple! Love and pull-ups, Laura


“This is a controversial topic that comes up every so often and which, due to the often singular importance of carabiners, is worth some further research.

If you want the one word executive summary, it would read; “No” (as in no, you don’t need to immediately discard dropped carabiners). If however you want to know when you should and shouldn’t, and why, then read on…”




UPDATE: If this was of interest to you, here are some more resources!

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UPDATE: The Great Boobie Caper PART 2!

Well, Dear Danglers, the Bountiful Breasted have weighed in! You had oodles of great tips for taming flyaway boobies, so without further ado, TA-TA! Er, TA-DA! (pssst – click on the photo below to see the version that’s actually big enough to read!) 😉



Here’s what you suggested!

The enchanting Miss Eleanor: “Uniboob sports bra! Made by a leotard maker who specializes with competitive gymnasts. She uses a very thick elastic around the waist, elastic arms and neck, lines the front, and most importantly pics materials of fabric that maintain their elasticity. I have not found an ideal solution yet for performing…” (wasn’t able to find a link for these – if you know of a vendor, help some sisters out!)

The terrific Miss Tiffany: “Somehow I came across reviews for the Moving Comfort brand.  I’d never heard of it but recently saw it in Runners High.  I bought 2 of the “Fiona” style from Amazon.  It looks pretty cute, is quite comfortable for a compression bra, is wire-free, and I can jog in it (something I never thought I’d find in a wire-free product!).  It has adjustable Velcro straps that have a bit of magic in them (and could even be used as a nursing bra based on the strap design). Tip: but a band size smaller than your everyday bra but keep same cup size.” Moving Comfort “Fiona” click here.

The just-plain-amazing Miss Juniper: “Speaking as someone who wears a 30FF, wearing a sports bra over an underwire bra is hellishly uncomfortable, particularly if both of those bras aren’t actually the right size. This Panache bra is the most miraculous thing I have ever encountered: it has underwires that don’t feel like underwires because they’re coated in some kind of crazy gel stuff, cups that lift and separate and keep all breast tissue firmly in place, and, if fitted properly, is firm and stable without being restrictive. Seriously, I haven’t had a single “oh crap, my cleavage is trying to smother me” moment since I bought this thing., it’s not the most attractive bra ever, so for performance I just wear a molded cup bra (that, again, has been properly fitted to me) under a leotard. Seriously, I cannot overstress the importance of wearing a bra that actually fits. Hint: Victoria’s Secret doesn’t actually know how to do bra fittings. They know how to sell you the sizes they have in stock.

The sensational Miss Sima: “Go to Bratenders! Every single bra shopping experience once I passed a D cup ended in a nervous breakdown in the dressing room because nothing fit me. Until!!!! I discovered Bratenders. They will fit you in a ridiculous size that one never knew existed and (most of) your back pain will go away, the indents in your shoulders will go away and you will be a whole new person. Seriously! I have been to many other bra-fitting “specialists”, and nobody compares to this place. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help anyone outside on NYC.Right now I have two different crazy contraptions, one is my “light” sports bra and one is my SERIOUS sports bra. For aerial, I wear my light sports bra (it’s still pretty serious) made by Freya Active. It’s just like a regular underwire bra, but on steroids. Not only does it hold em up, but the upper liner that comes over the top of them boobies & holds them down, so there is no falling out while upside down. Now, the SERIOUS bra, I wear when I am bouncing around. It has TEN hook and eye closures. It makes running possible and actually comfortable. The brand is Enell and it is a compression bra. They barely move. It’s amazing. This I would only recommend for the seriously endowed. At a 30G, I wear a size 0, the smallest size they make. But If someone were to be a lil smaller and wanted their boobs to not. move. at. all. I would say wear this over a regular and behold the freedom of movement of a 12 year old boy. Both bras were around $60 which considering their quality and life-changing ability, it’s worth it.” Freya Active click here, Enell click here

The jaunty Miss JJ: “For classes I wear a high neck sports bra with a high-ish neck tank leotard, with a high neck t-shirt layered over.  Leotard is important because some moves (like wheeldown) will rip off a loose t-shirt from time to time. For performing, I’m a big fan of mock turtleneck leos and unitards.  If you have even slightly bigger boobs they are the ONLY way to go… use nude illusion fabric if you have to.  For a more casual look, I like these turtleneck leos painted with fabric paint to give the more UMPH.  A teeny safety pin in the backside of the zipper gives you security to leave it a little unzipped without loosing the ladies.

And there you have it! Hopefully this gives you some support (HA!) in your search for training & performance brassieres. Tune in for next week’s blog about sour grapes, and why you might not be gettin’ hired. Have a glorious spring week! Love and pull-ups, Laura




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Destructive Testing of Aerial Fabric

Hey – ever wonder what happens when a fabric fails? How much force is needed to make that happen? How wear and tear affects a fabric’s strength?


A few years ago, I donated my very first fabric to Phil Servita and his Machine That Breaks Things. You can find the results here (I’m Destructive Test #2): Really interesting!!! Many thanks to Ka Him Lau – I had forgotten about this. 🙂


Love and pullups, Laura

My poor fabric when it finally bit the dust!




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The Great Boobie Caper – Aerial Necklines in Training & Performance

Hello Dear Danglers! Welcome to my latest attempt at a video blog! Let’s just say that this one was FRAUGHT with technical difficulties, and that the next one will be way, way better. 😉 Love and pull-ups, Laura



What are YOUR secrets for excellent ta-ta control? Share them in the comments below – we want to know!!!!




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