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New Years Revolution

Dear Danglers, I LOVE making New Years resolutions. Love it. I dream big, and New Years has always seemed like the perfect time of year to construct lofty, towering goals for myself. Take flamenco lessons? Check. Institute Family Game Night? Check. Get my Flying Ass Grinder on the German wheel? ….. hmmm….. well, I can make that goal, but what happens if my wheel and/or body doesn’t cooperate? How do I establish realistic goals in my training without setting myself up for disappointment or harsh self-criticism if I try hard, but don’t make them?
 

A Different Approach This Year

I can easily tackle things that are within my control (1. Stop eating pie for breakfast. 2. Do not put the Brita back in the fridge empty. 3. Do not cut your bangs when you’re angry.), but training this year is going to require a different approach. I jumped into German wheel assuming it would be easy for me – after all, I’m reasonably muscle-y, have a great sense of my strengths & weaknesses, am somewhat flexible, etc. Turns out, success in wheel depends on exactly none of those things. As my (long-suffering) coach can tell you, because of my unrelenting focus on “goals” in the traditional sense, I’ve had something of a rough go of it. I beat myself up and frequently sob, “But I should be faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarther than this! How is it possible that I suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck so much?” Then, inevitably, he winds up with snot on his shirt, and I have an emotional hangover the next day. Perhaps there’s another way?
 

Meaningful Goals – How We’re Doing It This Year

Instead of focusing exclusively on where we want to go, maybe it’s time to give equal attention to where we’ve been. That push and pull of past and future helps us to keep our perspective on the days our leggings get wrapped around the trapeze, or our thigh fat gets caught when we’re doing a drop. Try this:

 

  • What can you do now that you couldn’t do this time last year?
  • Do you have a favorite training or class memory from this year? What really stands out?
  • Whenever you have a success, write it down. Date, move, how it felt.
  • Now, NOW, you can write your goals.

 
I see you struggling with this too, Dear Dangler. I watch you wrestle with your (fill in the blank) – getting it one week, losing it the next, or just working to get off the ground. I watch you fly through early training, then hit the wall in a certain area. I watch you thinking you have it all figured out, until you see the next level looming and realize you might not be the hot sh*t you thought you were. I see the thought written all over your face: I should be able to DO this! I thought I would be farther! I keep trying, but I’m just stuck! WHEN WILL I BE AWESOME?????” But we often forget how far we’ve come. When reaching for the stars starts feeling like getting a root canal, it’s time to get some perspective, friends. Remember how far you’ve come, and let it whisper softly in your ear….”gravity is for suckas…..” 😉 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.

 

Ring-a-Ding-Ding! The Posts That Had You Talking in 2013!

Hello Dear Danglers! Just for funzies (and because we’re all snot factories over here – Happy New Year), I thought it might be fun to take a quick trip down memory lane. Here are the top posts that had you guys all fired up, with your knickers in a twist, or both in 2013!

  1. Why YOU Want to Be More of a Tight Ass – Essential Stability for Aerial Arts
  2. Get a Grip! 5 Ways to Improve Hand Strength
  3. … and The Ultimate Hand Warm-up!
  4. C is for Cookie – The Ultimate Aerial Diet
  5. Defensive Much? Learning from Criticism
  6. Rigging From Trees: Magical or Moronic?
  7. The Great Boobie Caper: Aerial Necklines
  8. … and Part 2!
  9. 5 Ways to Bounce Your Booty Back Faster After a Break
  10. The pregnancy series! Trimester 1 , Trimester 2, Trimester 3!

 

I didn’t write this in 2013, but I’m going to include it anyway since it caused quite the stir. 😉 Workin’ Cheap: How Shortsighted Ninnies are Ruining our Profession, and Part 2!

So, let’s welcome this new year by celebrating the insanely awesome (and sometimes questionable) things we can do! 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.

 

My Holiday Giftie to YOU!

Hello Dear Danglers! I just wanted to wish you all a VERY happy holiday season, whatever you celebrate! Here is my gift to you (I remember the 80’s, this stuff really happened… on a regular basis). So, Merry Christmas, (belated) Happy Hannukah, Blessed Yule, Peaceful Solstice, Happy Pancha Ganapati, Joyous Kwanzaa, and Warm Winter Wishes for you and your people! I love you and am grateful for you EVERY DAY!!!! 🙂 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.

 

Laura’s List of Aerial Silk Moves

You asked, I answered! Dear Students, HERE is my list of silk moves! It’s a work in progress, so if you see moves that aren’t listed that we’ve done in class, give me a holler! You’ll need Evernote on your computer or phone to access the list (don’t worry – it’s free!). Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

PS – you’ll notice I didn’t include instructions? If you want to know what the heck these are, get to class! 😉

 


 

Laura’s List of Aerial Silk Moves

 


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.

 

Why YOU Want to be More of a Tight Ass – Essential Stability for Aerial Arts

Stayin’ tight with the Baby Janes! Photo by Kenneth Feldman, www.pfdigital.com

Dear Dangler, do you consider yourself a tight-ass? I hope so! There’s a certain amount of essential tension necessary for fabulousness in aerial and circus arts. If you’re flopping around up there like an overcooked spaghetti noodle, it’s time to tighten that sh*t up.

What is “Tightness”?

When my coaches first began barking, “Tighten up! Stay tight!”,  I clenched everything (and I do mean everything) and hoped for the best. But what I grew to understand is a) tightening EVERYTHING leads to you looking awkward and constipated on your apparatus and b) “tight” is not the same as “rigid”.

 

Staying tight means keeping muscles active and firm at about 50% power. For example, let your arm flop. Now, tighten your bicep REALLY HARD (make a “muscle”). Now, relax to about halfway. That’s tight.

 

Why Tension is Important

Try this: find a friend with a two year-old. Wait until the toddler is good and pissed off (if they’re two, you won’t have to wait long). Now – try to pick them up. THEY ARE SO HEAVY!!!!! 25 pounds never felt so hard to lift! Now – try to pick them up again when they are calm and amenable to being lifted. See how much lighter? Tension, people. That boneless-ness creates the experience of a noticeable increase in weight.

 

Without a certain amount of tension, you’re going to feel like you’re hauling around a lot of dead weight; eeeeeeeverything becomes more difficult (and your lines look le poo). While some muscles are lying around on the beach in Aruba sipping pina coladas, other muscles are trying to (literally) pick up the slack. Before they start picketing for better working conditions, you’re going to want to start redistributing the labor.

 

Viagra-vate It!

Fear not – tension is a habit! Try this:

 

  • at least one session of Pilates mat work every week (for oodles of free videos, check out www.hulu.com!) Pilates cultivates the exact type of resistance-free tension we’re trying to produce. It’s also great for helping you find the muscles you’re supposed to be using.
  • reeeeeeach (“peripheral” tightness)! Think of being pulled in different directions. For example, I am hanging upside down in my fabric. My free hand is reeeeeeeeeaching towards the ground. My leg is reeeeeeeeeaching for the back wall. If an appendage is floating free, it should be reeeeeeeeeeeaching (try not to get jazz hands, though). 😉
  • lock and load! Bits of your body that are bearing weight (bent knee, stabilizing arm, etc) should be nice and tight! Remember not to hyper-extend your joints, but this is a time for very “active” tightness.
  • zip up your abs! Abs should always be firmly engaged (“core” tightness). Bring your navel to your spine and hold your tummy firm – pretend Ian Somerhalder just walked into the room and you’re in a bikini.

 

Now, for a supremely insane example of tighness: behold, the Ukranians! Watch how they keep that tension, even when folding themselves in half backwards. You know, like ya do. 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.

 

Shake Shake Shake, Shake…. Your Feet?! Nope.

 

Isabel & Emily in foot knots they will get out of without kicking!

Many thanks to the endlessly sassy Miz Cathy Gauch from Aircat Aerial Arts (get over there the next time you’re in Boulder, CO!) for the inspiration for this post!

Apparently, there’s an aerial instructional video floating around in which the instructor encourages students to just “shake their feet” to come out of their foot knots. After I finished having a seizure, I thought maybe we should talk about this! Now, to be fair, I haven’t seen said video, but I DO know what I see around town: shake shake SHAKE KICK KICK KICK FLAIL! Now, unless you are being electrocuted, there is zero reason for you to be so spastic – you’ve got other (more glamorous) options, friend!

Figure 8 Foot Knots

Tied one at a time, this is the first foot knot many of us learn. Coming out cleanly is simple! Simply flex your feet, lift them up, move them back, and point your toes. Observe!

 

 

If you’re stuck and panicking, you can also use your other foot to pop the fabric off the toe (but save it for emergencies – it’s not your sassiest moment).

 

Aerial Dance Wrap

Wrapped together, this knot is great for getting lovely, even splits. To come out cleanly, simply lift your feet 2-5 inches (just enough to take the pressure off the heels – DON’T lift too high!), point your toes, and slide your feet forward and down.

 

 

Seriously? That’s IT. No need to flail, shake, kick, twerk, twitch, convulse, flap, shudder, oscillate, or combust. Just lift and send your feet in the appropriate direction! I know some of you have other snazzy ways of getting out of foot knots that you love. Hey – as long as it doesn’t involve an aerial seizure, go on with your bad selves! 😉  Hope you’re having a swingin’ holiday season so far, Dear Danglers!!!!! Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

 

PS – By the way! I hope you’ll join me in welcoming the FABULOUS  and talented Miss Rebecca Collins to the SassyPants Aerial Arts team! Rebecca will be helping me answer emails, get ya’ll scheduled into classes, and all sorts of other good things. Welcome welcome, Miss Rebecca!!!!!!

 

 

 

Little Blog Hiatus!

Hello Dear Danglers! Some of you have noticed I haven’t been posting weekly – sorry about that! I’m taking a quick blog hiatus to complete a few (very exciting) projects, and right now I’m in SPAIN! I’ll be back in the blog-osphere when I get back December 1. Have an awesome Thanksgiving, and eat LOTS of yummy turkey (you’ll have to eat some for me too – they don’t eat turkey in Spain!)!!!! Love and pull-ups, Laura

DIY Ice Packs for the Sassiest of Aerialists!

What you’ll need!

… and, you know, anyone else who needs ice packs. SO. A dear friend had a slight shoulder dislocation this past week, and, being the Florence Nightengale that I am, I went to buy them an ice pack. Know how much they were? A reusable shoulder ice pack with a holder was – brace yourself (get it?? BRACE?! HA!) – $20. I’m sorry, are you KIDDING ME? Those of you who have ever seen me tear through CVS with my coupons and ECB’s know that I’m something of a frugal gal. So, what’s a cheapskate like me to do? Make my own durned ice pack!

I stocked up on dish detergent (on sale, of course), and set to work. You’ll need:

  •  1-2 bottles of cheap dishwashing liquid (Dawn, Palmolive, whatever’s on sale); OR, substitute a mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part rubbing alcohol
  • two one-gallon plastic freezer bags
  • an old T shirt
  • fabric glue or a sewing machine
  • (optional) scrap fabric or rhinestones to bedazzle your creation
  • (optional) elastic to allow it to stay without holding it

 

Almost done!

  1. Fold your bags in half, place them on your T shirt, and measure one additional inch on all sides. Mark your measurements with a sharpie, cut two (or cut 1 on the fold and eliminate step 2).
  2.  Glue or sew one long side together – this is your center seam.
  3. Bedazzle or sew/glue on your decorative fabric (be mindful not to glue rhinestones on your seam allowance!)
  4. If using elastic, pin it to the top panel, matching one of the edges with the seam allowance. Baste or glue. (if this makes zero sense, just sew or glue it on when the ice pack is finished).
  5. Fold at the center seam, and sew up one short edge and the remaining long edge.
  6. Hem the remaining raw edge if you wish.
  7. Fill one plastic bag with the desired amout of goo. Squeeze out the air and seal it shut.
  8. Double the bag.
  9. Insert into the sleeve – VOILA! Stick it in your freezer. The detergent or alcohol mixture will get cold, but not freeze solid.

ENJOY! Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

Finshed!

 

  

 

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.

 

Get a Grip! 5 Ways to Improve Hand Strength for Aerial Arts

Hello Dear Danglers! Lets you and I do this one together. Once upon a time, I had a vise-like grip that (I’m sure) rivaled the Terminator. I could dangle happily by my fingertips over a shark tank, covered in Crisco, while sneezing! Well, perhaps I exaggerate (and no one ever offered to pay me to do that anyway), but you get my point. However, four years of motherhood have meant less time for “hanging around” in my preferred manner, and I’ve noticed a disheartening decrease in my grip strength. What’s a dangler to do? Buckle down, and GET A GRIP.

Why Grip Strength is Important

Aside from the obvious benefit of keeping you safely glued to your apparatus or partner, grip has a number of hidden benefits. The muscles of the hand, wrists, and forearm are small and somewhat delicate. By creating a strong web of muscles, we reduce the risk of all sorts of injuries – overuse, structural, and hyper-extensive. Weak grip also leads to sacrifices in alignment in other areas of the body to compensate, most notably through the shoulders, chest, and upper back – no bueno! Add to that the fatigue and frustration of frequent “Popeye” forearms, and you can see why training your digits is a priority.

 

5 Strategies for Grippy Goodness

 

1 – Ban spray rosin from your training. Use powdered rosin as needed or preferred, but save the spray stuff for performance. Yes, I know you love your Glamour Glue, but please spare me the argument that you “need it for safety while you train” – I don’t allow it in my classes, and my students are better for it! Spray rosin practically cements you to the apparatus, and encourages a relaxed, noodle-y grip. It’s like crack! Don’t do it.

 

2 – Set aside part of each training session to work grip. I personally like to do this early! Work close to the ground in case you need to come down quickly, and use as little rosin as you need to complete the exercises safely:

  • silks & trap – birds nest in the air – hold a silk or rope in each hand, invert to a ball position, slide your shins up the ropes as you extend your legs towards the ceiling and arch your back (newer students can wrap their wrists once or twice to give additional support)
  • silks – dangle torture – maintaining a strong, aligned shoulder, hold a strand in each hand and simply hang with extended arms
  • rope, trap, & lyra – one-handed madness – keeping shoulders pulled firmly down, practice hanging by one hand (**DO NOT** allow the shoulders to lift or rotate – keep your feet on the ground if you need help maintaining proper positioning)

 

3 – Train your grip at home. There are oodles of exercises you can do outside the studio – here are my favorites!

  • mini-silk or towel over a pull-up bar
  • squeeze a stress ball or tennis ball (great to do on the walk to training or while you’re stretching to warm up your fingers)
  • crumple newspaper page by page with one hand
  • get yourself a DynaFlex! This is a nifty little gizmo that I like a lot. Not only does it work the muscles of the hand and forearm, but it can also help with PT of the shoulder and elbow.

 

4 – Warm up your fingers before training!

 

5 – Keep nails short and lose the jewelry. Long nails and rings impair grip, so you’ll just have to choose!

 

Happy dangling, and I’ll see you in the air!!! 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.