Recently I have gotten into the circus and acrobatic arts. Because I don’t have regular access to the props used in these modalities such as silks (for aerials fabric arts) or trapeze, I am focusing my attention on the strength and conditioning of acro/circus fitness. This can be done through active stretching (think contortionism), floor gymnastics, and the use of playgrounds – especially monkey bars and jungle gyms.
After taking four hours of learning silks and trapeze with Rain Wilson, she provided a final class of strength and conditioning for aerial arts. Wilson devised a series of circuits for us to tackle. Each circuit consisted of one fabric exercise, one trapeze, one mat partner exercise, and one hoop trapeze exercise.
It was a treat to work with Rain, a professional aerialist, and Debby, a lifelong dancer who was ultra “flexi” and super strong. Rain works extensively with a partner and emphasized how effective working with a partner could be. For example, one fun exercise I did with Debby had us lying next to each other, one arm under each other’s necks while lifting our hips in opposition of one another – a modified Pilates corkscrew. The partner roll up to bridge was challenging. Legs extended, slowly roll up to the hips, bridge hips, extend legs up to the ceiling where a partner is waiting to throw your legs down, then you absorb that throw and take your body down with control.
A partner can be added for resistance, to throw with, to use a variety of props with, and to develop a relationship as a team. In next week’s blog, I will provide several exercises that you can do with a partner: medicine ball exercises, yoga exercises, acrobatic exercises, resistance band, and Resistance Flexibility and Strength Training. In the meantime, consider finding someone or discussing with your walking buddy, tennis partner, or special someone about bumping your relationship up a few notches.
In good health,
Writer, Creative Movement and Dance Professional