Category Archives: silks

Break and Reset

Our run of Orpheus went well—it wasn’t 100% perfect, but it was close enough. Our audiences didn’t know it wasn’t perfect, and that’s all that matters. We got another really nice review, as well.

Surprisingly, Mom loved it! I wasn’t sure what she’d think, to be honest. She’s been an avid fan of the performing arts for far longer than I’ve even been alive. I wasn’t sure that the combination of silent theater, aerials, and modern dance would appeal to her. In fact, she thought it was great (and not just the parts I in :D). I don’t think I would have predicted that!

For me, there was definitely a trial-by-fire element. I’ve never had so much choreography to learn for one show, and we had such an oddly compressed rehearsal schedule. On Wednesday, we were still pretty shaky about some things; full of challenging doubts. On Thursday, though, everything seemed to suddenly gel. I guess that dancers, like beans, cook faster in a pressure cooker!

Anyway, it was a learning experience in all regards, and a good one. Nobody ever did call or email to tell me they’d cast me by mistake, so that was cool. Our playwright said that my portrayal of Eurydice’s strict, mean father (we nicknamed the role “Papa Eurydice”) was one of his very favorite parts 😀 (That was one heck of a fun role, too.) I discovered that I like the acting bits almost as much as the dancing bits, and the I love the acting-via-dance element like crazy.

I learned that two shows in one day is very doable.

I learned that I look rather good in a slick 1920’s coiffure 😉

Sleek, eh?

The most important thing that I learned, though,  is that I can recover from mistakes without telegraphing them. I only made a few (basically, one biggie per show), but they felt enormous—like, at one point, I wound up way off my mark before a sequence en manège, basically standing at 5:00 instead of 7:00. I still have no idea how that happened, but it did.

In a way, it was funny: I rose from a floorwork passage and thought, “Something feels wrong, here.” By the time I realized that I was way off my mark, though, it was too late to move. Instead, I jumped into the manège sequence where I was, then adjusted by pivoting around another dancer at the end so I would wind up in the right spot. She also tried to adjust, and we bumped into each-other, but we made it. The audience didn’t even notice.
This week, I think I’m going to take it easy a bit. I’m taking a day off-ish today, though I think I’ll be back in class tomorrow. Friday, we’re heading out of town to celebrate our 5th anniversary.

Speaking of which, D gave me a mind-blowing anniversary gift:

I was stunned, but not so stunned that I couldn’t break out the single knee-hangs.

The portable rig is by Ludwig; Patti at Aerial Animals made the trapeze. I didn’t think to ask D where sourced the silks. When I asked about the mats, he said, “We’re making China great again,” heh.

The amount planning and subterfuge that went into this is incomprehensible! On the other hand, if I ever need a team of aerialist secret agents who can keep a secret, I know who call! More or less everyone was in on this, and planning phase dates back to January; maybe earlier.

Meanwhile, I had literally no idea this in the works!

The Time I Weekended Like a Champ

Okay, one of these days, I really need to take an actual weekend.

I cleaned the bejeezus out of the bedroom on Friday (we were supposed to go to a party, and then drinks after said party, and then the party was cancelled and, as a result, so were the drinks).

Saturday, I did juggling and ballet class (which was something of a disaster, y’all, and I have no excuse, except maybe the lack of breakfast), got costuming details sorted, showered, then ran back out the door to do dinner, a Cirque show, and drinks afterwards with my cirque peeps (we resolved to do the “getting together for drinks” thing again some time soon).

Also, YOU GUYS, I SHOWERED. The fact that this feels like an accomplishment suggests to me that I may be overscheduled*.

*To be fair, I do bathe pretty often, but that’s more like physical therapy than washing up.

We got home around 2AM, managed to get to sleep by 4AM, then got up again at 8AM to go do Acro, Open Fly, and the Sunday dance class.

Though we both did quite well with the dancing and the teaching, both Aerial A and I were defeated repeatedly by technology during class. I chalk this up to sleep deprivation, you guys. Because, seriously, we were both like, “OMG WHAT IS THIS THING I HAVE NEVER USED THIS BEFORE” as our phones trolled us. They were like, “Tendu music?  Imma let you fi-NO I’M NOT!!!! HAHAHAHA!”

I gave my Sunday class a rond de jambe combination with that lovely fondu-rond-allongé thing. To be honest, I was kind of expecting at least one person to fall over, and nobody did, which was pretty impressive. I should reiterate that these guys are doing all this without a barre. Fortunately, aerialists already tend to have strong core muscles and to know how to use them.

What we’re working on, in this case, is lines: using turnout through the full range of motion in order to maintain a beautiful line. (In case you’re wondering: hands on is the best approach, here. Rond de jambe definitely really benefits from poking and prodding, not to mention grabbing and rotating and pulling and guiding.)

This is really very relevant to performing on aerial apparatus — I use rond de jambe all the time on trapeze, lyra, and silks. Right now, it’s especially handy in my trapeze choreography to transition from gazelle on the right leg to horse on the left leg.

Oh, and then I started in on the Handstand Challenge. Gentlefolk of the internet, here is how you do not do a handstand for more than 8.4 seconds:

handstands-week01

Three words: HOLLOW BODY POSITION. That is how you hold a handstand for more than 8.4 seconds. This is not that. Also, my upper body is officially skinny, I guess?

I’m home now and in the process of making dough for French rolls and cheesebread (breakfast of champions?).

After we turn them into meatball sandwiches and stuff them in our faces, my big plan is to collapse into bed and SLEEEEEP.

…And then tomorrow it’s Monday again, so modern class.

I feel that, as a kid, this is what I was probably imagining when I imagined what weekends would be like when I was An Adult. Like:

“DO ALL THE THINGS! ESPECIALLY THE AWESOME THINGS! Then fall down and sleep!”

So there you have it. My weekend.

Jeez, guys, I need a break**.

**Not really complaining, here; also, totally aware that this whole post is like FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS OMG.

 

Finally Back On The Silks

image

One word: Yasssssss!

We got a great explanation today about getting into this inversion (crossback straddle/v inversion).

Sure, you can try to just muscle it up with your legs, but that’s the hard way (and note the word try, here — many, maybe most, can’t actually invert from the upright crossback straddle just by muscling it up).

The — well, let’s be frank — the less hard way (it still requires a fair bit of strength and coordination, but feels pretty easy once you get it) is to use your abs to contract up through the hollow-body position while pushing the poles of the silks away with your hands (which should be quite high).

Basically, you pull your pelvis towards your face using the core muscles, just as if you were doing a head-tail contraction in Modern dance.

I couldn’t do this with any degree of polish before my recent break-for-illness — not because I was weaker (though I was, towards the end), but because I hadn’t grasped the point about using hollow-body to achieve the inversion.

Today, Tall C explained that, and it clicked. Huzzah! Denis didn’t hear her, and still wound up muscling through it with great struggle. A couple classmates and I mentioned the hollow-body part when he came down (we also mentioned it when he was on the silks, but he couldn’t hear us over the sound of his effort, heh).

He’ll get it next time.

Honestly, since I haven’t been doing silks, I expected today’s class to suck — but it was actually awesome.

We also have video in which I — clearly tired — basically mark my way through a bit of choreography and fumble into arabesque at the end. I’ll post it later. Watching it, I was surprised that my transitions didn’t look like complete crap, given that I was pretty cooked and really not even trying.

Anyway, it’s good to be back at it, and I think my newly-reduced schedule will help immensely.

À bientôt, mes amis.

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