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:-)
Several of you wanted to know more about how I conditioned to get back into aerial shape after I was out on medical leave for 3 months as well as how long it took me to get back.
In my situation – everyone is different and it really depends on the injury or reason for being away – I got back to my peak strength in about 8 weeks. It felt like forever.
In all, I had gained about 7 pounds and lost all of my pull-ups before I started training again. Serious depression.
Generally, here’s what I did:
Weeks 1 – 2 (early March):
Got a new pull-up bar at home (my old one didn’t fit the doorframes) and did as many negative pull-ups as I could – every single day. Here’s a good tutorial – but do them with an overhand grip:
I also started doing yoga postures and stretching at home about 3x/week.
About mid-week, Ryan spotted me on proper pull-ups – trying to go for 5 assisted.
Get up on your apparatus, but TAKE IT EASY. I pushed myself far too hard the first two weeks, resulting in two torn muscles – one in my shoulder and one in my hamstring. Not fun. Just have a play on it the first few times and don’t set ANY expectations for yourself. Treat it like it’s the first time you’ve ever been on the apparatus (yeah, right, you must be thinking. Easier said than done.)
Do some climbs on the rope or silk. Every aerialist should be able to do a basic climb. If you had strong climbs before, this should be pretty easy to master again.
These first two weeks sucked because it felt like I wasn’t making any progress. Still couldn’t do a single pull up by mid March.
I could not invert on the rope during this time either.
Started training harder on the rope in preparation for the Red Shoes performance – about 3/week for an hour – 1.5 hours each time. I would do a lot of climbing, hip locks, universal straddles to invert. I also had a lot of pressure to start choreographing my routine so I had to gamble on what I would be capable of the first weekend in May. So I started doing basic sequences that I felt comfortable before the medical leave. They were not pretty, but it’s a great way to build your confidence.
Ryan continued to spot me each day on pull-ups – I would do 5 assisted. This is the week I was able to do a single, unassisted pull-up. Hooray.
I could do one very sad inversion this week.
This was an exciting week. I jumped to being able to do 2.5 pull ups by the end of the week.
I could do a strong inversion (diamond legs not straight legs)
I continued to struggle through chroreographing my routine with tons of trial and error.
My stamina was terrible. I was huffing and puffing the whole way through.
Weeks 5 – 7:
This was a critical phase in building strength, flexibility and confidence.
I trained 4 – 5/week, depending on our rehearsal schedules.
I gained about 1 new pull-up/week.
I could invert easily.
My routine was coming together and I finally finalized the choreography and just spent the last two weeks perfecting.
My stamina slowly improved, but I continued to huff and puff by the end. I couldn’t make it through the whole routine weeks 5 and 6.
Week 8 (first week of May):
Tech and dress rehearsal week – we really only had Tuesday and Wednesday to do our runs for the performances that started on Friday. Fortunately, I felt pretty good about the routine and had loads of confidence in my strength
I matched my pull-up personal best – 5!
I had lost the 7 pounds I previously gained.
I can do straight arm/straight leg inversions – better than I did before the break.
So there you go. It’s mainly about the pull-ups and just getting back up there. There’s no magic bullet apart from pacing yourself, consistency and perseverance.
What a spring! The last few months have been full-on preparation for Sky Candy’s first-ever production, The Red Shoes. Sky Candy co-founder Chelsea Lauman directed the show for FOUR sold-out audiences the first weekend of May. Aaaaaand, we made a profit!
We couldn’t have done it without the support of our community through our Kickstarter fundraiser in January in which we raised $7500 to buy new equipment, insurance and cover the costs of our show.
I cannot believe how lucky I am to be a part of another amazing cast and crew within a year of Madame Pain’s Boudoir Circus. In all honesty, I really thought the opportunity to perform in a full-scale production was nil when I moved back to Austin. But am blown away at Chelsea’s vision and the dedication of our little Sky Candy team. We’re looking to do another run before the end of August, which is super exciting.
And in other amazing news, Sky Candy recently sold MORE THAN 1000 CLASSES through a LivingSocial deal last week. There will be lots of Austinites dangling upside down over the next few months.
It’s been far too long since I last updated because so much has happened. Ryan and I relocated to Austin from London about 3 weeks ago and it’s been non-stop activity since we arrived.
An amazing opportunity popped up the week I arrived with Sky Candy, an aerial artist collective here in Austin. They invited me to join the group AND perform in the East Austin Studio tour! I managed to pull together a very basic piece — read VERY basic — and took absolutely zero risks with it because I only had 1 hour to rehearse a routine I put together in my head on a new trapeze bar with no mats. Here’s the routine:
I look forward to teaching static trapeze and corde lisse lessons with Sky Candy soon but am DESPERATE for indoor training space that gives me the flexibility to train whenever I need. So I’m investigating warehouse space now and crossing fingers something turns up soon because I may get to perform at Auditorium Shores on New Year’s Eve and would love to do a rope piece.
By the way, here are some of the new tricks I was learning as I left London and hope to build these into my NYE routine:
Drop to mermaid:
I miss London so much but am so happy to be back home.
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.
Closed back balance
Half catchers descent (total crap)
Front balance (got caught on my leggings and actually ripped them!)
Hip lock, but ran out of space
While it’s not much to look at, it’s the start of a longer sequence in development. I’ve taken about 10 vertical rope classes so far and am in absolute love with it. For lack of a better word, it’s “pure.” It’s insanely challenging, painful, frustrating, painful and yet rewarding. Did I mention it was painful? It makes me feel strong and empowered. It also challenges my brain in ways the trapeze doesn’t. Just trying to figure out where the rope is taking weight and how to navigate around it without falling out of the shape takes a lot of mental power. If I zone out even for a second, I’m hosed.
I honestly hope to have something relatively entertaining put together for Flipside in May, but it’s going to take a lot of work. Between this and preparing for Madame Pain’s Boudoir Circus in June, I’m at my max. Nadia and I will be doing a doubles trapeze piece for the show – it’s been a fascinating experience to be a part of the production process and see the show finally start to take shape. Although Nadia and I still have no idea what exactly we’re going to do yet. But it will be cool. At least we hope.
I’m a little bit overwhelmed right now between balancing opportunity and obligation. There is so much right at my fingertips, but it would come at the expense of so much. So, so much. But I’m guessing I probably only have about 4 – 5 years left at aerial stuff before my body starts to protest. I suppose I don’t need to figure it all out today. But it must be sorted out soon.
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.