• Bay Arealist

Air Ballet Tip December 2018

Hey Air Ballerinas! Welcome back. As you know, this month's movement motif is Beautiful Geometry. From "Slack Back Pack" to your circular arms, we are working with shapes. Sharp vs soft.

Joan and Yolanda demonstrating some gorgeous geometry

Aerial dance has a problem. It is extremely linear. Especially on a vertical apparatus like rope or tissu, we really only move up and down. We climb up, pose, climb up, drop, climb up, and come down. It can be extremely predictable and way less dramatic than we intended.

In an attempt to widen our performance and remedy this problem we add arms. But arms alone will not solve everything. We also have to look around. Arms moving independently of the head look like an afterthought or simply a flourish. When we follow the line of the arms (or the legs for that matter) with our eyes and head we can pull the audiences' focus beyond the pink silky thing we're hanging on. We can expand their view so they are "looking at the big picture". Also, using your head makes you look more human. Now, I know some of you are saying, "wait a minute Kate, I thought you said we aren't human, we're aerialists"?

You're right, I've said that before. But I'm older and wiser now.

In a recent conversation with my friend and teacher, Em Zuckerman, we talked about the differences between French and American Contemporary circus. Em said in France the artists are juxtaposing their human qualities against their super-human strength, grace and agility. As opposed to American Circus where we are all trying to prove we can ascend past the level of human and beyond to Circus God.

This conversation ignited my desire to try and represent my own human qualities in performance. When I'm performing I want the audience to experience something; an emotion, a shared breath, anything. Most audiences have a hard time connecting with circus artists because they have zero experience standing on someone else's shoulders or climbing up a piece of fabric. They can't relate to the feeling of dropping onto your knees from 20 feet in the air. Therefore we have to relate to them on a different level. A human level. We have to use our eyes, heads and breath like humans.

So all in all, your tip this month (although esoteric) is a simple one; be human.


Rachel Lepkowski will be subbing for me for the next two weeks. She will teach this combo through January 4th.

Where will I be?

I'll be performing in Mittens & Mistletoe 12/27 and 12/28 then I will be home in NJ the following week. I will miss you but I look forward to coming back rested and rejuvenated with fresh inspiration for January's combo.

Want to come see me be human and an aerialist at Mittens. Find tickets here