Over the last year, I’ve been training in Aerial Arts (hoop, trapeze, silk hammock). After almost twelve months practicing once a week, I won’t say I’m good at it, but I’m better than when I began. In the last little while, I’ve been distracting myself watching videos of amateur aerial artists performing (see below for a stunning example), and I’ve decided I want to give it a try.
I danced from the age of 4 to the age of 14. Again, I was never very good, which is why I quit once I got into high school: at that point, you either danced at a competitive level, or you got forced out. One of my problems is flexibility: I have, despite the best efforts of yoga instructors, dance directors, and my own independent practice, never been able to lean over and touch my toes, let alone do the kind of splits and leg lifts that make the difference between mediocre steps and a real dancer. My body just doesn’t seem designed for it. This is also (surprise, surprise) a barrier for me in aerial arts. I’ve been doing yoga classes for the same twelve months consecutively with my hoop classes, to no avail. I’m simply not going to do the kind of stunts that make performers look really good. See, for example, the video above. I can do about a third of those moves, but they don’t look nearly as impressive or smooth when I do them.
That said, not everything you can do in the hoop/trapeze/silks is predicated on being able to do the splits or lift your leg over your head. Most of it, but not all. So this is my challenge to myself over the next three months: choreograph a hoop routine that showcases my strengths, not my weaknesses, in a way that still looks really, really cool. In all my years of dance, I’ve never choreographed (except in my head, in my own fantasies). I’d love the chance to showcase my technical knowledge of the moves I know I can do, my musicality in putting those moves to music, and the challenge to my own fitness in making my own very limited human body do those things in time to the music. Will it look really, really cool?
Time will tell.
In an effort to increase my comfort level with seeing my ungainly human form in photo or video medium (I have some pretty serious self-confidence issues surrounding my captured image), I will be video-documenting my journey. It will not be pretty at first, but I’m determined to stick to it.
I’ve also had a hiatus from my hoop routine, since the studio I’ve been practicing at (pictured above) for nearly a year experienced a catastrophic flood last month and is closed for remediation until February 2020. I start at a new studio on Wednesday this week, so stay tuned for my first (probably very sore and bruised) video check-in on Thursday September 19th!