We just held a grand opening for Sky Candy’s new aerial studio last weekend and Ryan took some fantastic photos of the teachers and students. I’ll share more of his photos once they are edited, but here are a few sneak peeks of my photos on the rope. I’m really happy with them.
I went to London last month – my first time back in a year – and was thrilled to get to take a rope class and some private lessons with my rope teacher. It was so rewarding and satisfying to hear her say how much I’ve improved over the last year – that I’m at a different level than when I left. Since there are no rope teachers in Austin, apart from what we do at Sky Candy, this was incredible validation that we’re doing something right:-)
This is sure to be the perfect holiday gift for the aerialist in your life. Harriet Heyman is a true inspiration. She found the aerial arts later in life and took her journalistic abilities, mashed them up with her love of the circus and created this beautiful photo book, Private Acts: The Acrobat Sublime together with photographer Acey Harper.
Private Acts: The Acrobat Sublime is a multimedia project embracing photographs, essays, and video that looks at acrobats and the acrobatic arts in an entirely new way.
The rope skills are coming along slowly but surely. Here’s one of the longest sequences I’ve managed to do and am getting closer and closer to having a full routine in the hopper. Starting to focus on drops over the next few weeks before I move back to Austin so I hope to be able to add a few whiz-bang moves to spice this up. The music is something I just picked out tonight to put over the video, but it scary how well it flows!!
I’m pretending like I’m not leaving London where there is an incredible aerial community – my people.
More to come on the move.
Also, I’ve got a top-10 static trapeze conditioning moves video on the way, too. Just need to carve out time to edit it. It’s a monster.
Shows = 5
ER visits = 3*
Audience members = ~450
Money raised = TBD
Lives changed forever = 40
We did it. We actually pulled it off. Many of us students from Aircraft Circus performed in a real-life circus show for the first time ever this past weekend in London. A full-fledged production with lights, fog machine, winches, trusses, confetti bombs and FIRE.
Our director, Alex Frith, started a performance class in February for us to begin building a show around Chrysalis’ freak show act. We worked on a shoestring budget in order to raise money to insulate our space, which is wicked cold in the winter time. Many of the aerial students were also pivotal in making the show a reality. Elizabeth Schuch, hoop artist extraordinaire, designed an incredible set using salvaged props, old sets and scaffolding. Here’s an early look at her design, and you can read more here.
Poppy Flint was a genius in creating the costumes. My favorite were the can-can dancers corsets and skirts. So much frill and lace.
And from all of this, Madame Pain’s Boudoir Circus was born. The show featured swinging trapeze, silks, hoop, static trapeze, doubles & triples trapeze, dance trapeze, vertical rope, pole dancing, acrobalancing, fire swallowing and so much more.
Here are videos from our two routines – Nadia and I were conjoined twins who were so desperate to be free from Madame Pain’s exploitation that we separated ourselves.
The first routine is my favorite because, as a base, I get to do a lot more than sit and go to catchers, which is what I mainly do in the second routine. The first routine was really challenging to choreograph and it took us ages to figure out how to get from point A to point B (especially in corsets), but I love what we ended up with. We spent most of our time working on that routine because the second one was just the rest of our doubles trick repertoire, and while the audience seemed to like it a lot, it was very traditional doubles moves and not particularly creative.
Overall, I’m ecstatic about what we accomplished. We pushed ourselves to the absolute maximum on these routines and only had one major error during our first show (which was 100% my fault) and we recovered brilliantly. The only thing I abhor is that damn red jumpsuit. It’s diabolical, but there was no time to think of an alternative.
And here are a couple fabulous posed photos before our last show that Ryan took:
I’m still lacking the words to describe this experience with these brave, creative and stoopid-talented individuals. I love and thank you people. And am honored to have been a part of this life-changing experience.
*Thankfully, none of the injuries were serious. Whip lash, a torn pectoral and bruised fingers were the extent of them.
The first time I saw this video, I was blown away. This woman was EVERYTHING I wanted to be – she was mysterious, strong, graceful and beautiful and her choice of music and costumes are superb.
She’s always been the model of the perfect aerial performer in my mind.
Since I’ve only just started learning rope, I thought I’d take a look at this video again for the first time in about a year ONLY TO REALIZE THAT THIS IS MY ROPE TEACHER.
It didn’t click until now because she looks so different and carries herself in her tango character so well. She’s such a warm, approachable person in real life and the best aerial teacher I’ve had the pleasure to learn from. It astounds me even more how well she embodied this character.
Her name is Claire Anderson and she teaches with Aircraft Circus and at the Newton Highgate Community Centre.
Hope you enjoy her Tango de Roxanne piece as much as I do.
Here’s the very first bit of our doubles act. I think it’s looking good – so long as I can nail the up and over. We start our performance workshop next week and will have a routine at the end of the three day course. I can’t wait to show you our costumes!!
The background music is great, but it’s not our routine music. I’m keeping that a surprise.
It’s been quite some time since my last post. Can’t believe how time flies. Since July, a lot has happened. Mainly, I got married. Hip hip HOORAY!!
Ryan and I asked a few of our friends who are learning aerial silks to do a piece during our ceremony and it was more beautiful than I ever imagined. Three cheers for Miriam and Alissa, our beautiful aerial dancers:
For the wedding, I seriously thought about doing a trapeze routine at some point, but quickly realized how unrealistic that idea is. So the next-best thing was to create a trapeze video to Ryan’s music – symbolizing the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – but I didn’t like the footage AT ALL – the studio space and lighting sucked and just wasn’t conducive to a trapeze video. But, here are the highlights, nonetheless, with all the ugly moves and shuffling slickly edited out:-)
I’m slowly building my strength up from taking a month off for the wedding and then another 2 weeks for the Christmas break. I’ve added rope to my class roster and it’s killing me. Testing my patience in EVERY way. It will be a very looong time before there’s any sort of video.
VICTORY!!! The 3-day performance workshop is over. Check box. One under the belt. Today was supposed to be the fine-tuning day, but I saved my hands for the actual peformance because I knew I only had one shot today before my hands ripped open.
Instead I visualized the changes I wanted to make from yesterday’s run through.
Yesterday’s run through:
I have learned an inordinate amount from this experience. Here are some of the key things:
*Defining my character and setting the mood really made a huge difference in my ability to feel comfortable with a crowd and try to evoke an emotion/entertain them in some way. I chose to tell the story of a tortured soul who decided to just end it all. “After It Happened” is the name of piece.
*It’s incredibly helpful to break the routine down in 3 parts and spend A LOT of time on the middle bit. That saved me because I could go on auto pilot and not have to constantly be thinking, “Crap! What’s next.” The beginning and end of my piece were really clear in my mind from the beginning and also pretty basic.
*I had to cut down the list of moves I wanted to do by about 75%. Seriously. There was so much more I wanted to do to showcase my ability. But between not having the stamina and properly conveying the mood without rushing from trick to trick, this was only way I could keep up.
*Understanding the tempo changes and choreographing moves to match the pace is key. In the run through video, I do a much better job at the beginning of the routine (beating when the cello kicks in, etc.) but I do a better job with the ending in the performance video because I changed from doing an angel in the ropes to something I have more precision with – moon to a 1-leg hocks hang. I screwed up the performance because I added a Gladiator in without practicing it and it threw off the entire flow of the routine and I felt like I was trying to catch up the whole time rather than marinate in the mood. And I was also very distracted by the missing skin on my palms and the tape flying off and getting stuck to the bar at around 2:45.
*Rushing makes me sloppy. Crappy lines, feet not together, and looking generally clod-like. I have to try even harder because I’m bigger and the clod-like movement is accentuated. I won’t beat myself up on weight, but I am trending in the right direction and would like to lose more to look svelte and lithe:-)
*Adrenaline is a great pain killer. I didn’t even feel my palms. My instructor showed me how to tape my hands so I could peform on them. I’ll do a separate post on that in case anyone needs that info.
Things to work on for the future:
*My skinning the cats need work. This one was pretty sad. It was more like petting the cat.
*Get rid of the hocks beat after skinning the cat and do a pop on. The beat ruins the flow.
*Take out gladiator. Yar. Why did I throw that in???
*Improve my lines and extend my legs and arms and hold them longer. These are the little things I can do that will make a BIG difference.
*Work on my beats from rolling out from front balance. Yucky display here.
*Do a proper straddle between elbow hang and candlestick
*Do a splits on the bar forward roll after moon on my way to 1-hocks hang at the end. That would be so much more dramatic.
*And a billion more things that I can’t think of right now.
I’m absolutely amazed by the other 9 people in the workshop. People of all ranges of experience and styles. Watching friends work through their severe stage freight, absolute fatique and battered bodies to pull together something to show their friends and family for the first time was very special. I’m honored to have been able to share this weekened with them.
One woman was in a league of her own. She’s only had 3 silks classes and put together the most stunning piece. It turns out, her name is Elena Gibson and she founded London’s biggest pole dancing school and is a pole dancing world champion. Some people are so blessed.