Air Ballet Tip May 2019

Updated: May 29, 2019

This post is all about proper basing alignment.

If you've ever taken a partner acrobatics class, you know you can support a lot of weight when it is properly stacked.

Basing in the air is similar. You want your core engaged. You want to put an even amount of pressure on your trunk.

However, when basing from above, you also have to fight gravity and the apparatus to find this alignment.

In this (and most aerial silk duets) we base in an inverted straddle position.

In cross back straddle, chandelier (the name of the wrap we're using), belay, etc we are supported from the sacrum in our inverted straddle.

The Booty Shelf

Sometimes this can cause us to lean into the support which creates an excessive amount "booty shelf". Tipping the pelvis into a booty shelf, arches the back, releases the abdominals, and stresses out the hip flexors. Add weight to that mixture and you've got hip pain, back pain, neck pain...and we haven't talked about shoulders yet!

So, instead of leaning into the wraps, fight against them. Engage the abdominals, pike the legs, engage the booty, and lengthen out.

When I am basing, I am trying to be the widest, longest, thickest, strongest tree. Your partner is going to climb you! It's not enough to engage, you have to actively fight against forces against you.

There's quite a lot of discussions around the positioning of aerialists shoulders going on right now. When we all started taking aerial classes, every teacher told us to shrug our shoulders down and back. This made sense to me given the dialogue in yoga classes. In a down dog, "shoulders down and back"; with arms over head in a lunge, "shoulders down and back"; in a handstand...

However, based on the anatomy of our shoulder socket, it is physically impossible to keep your scapulae down while lifting the humerus over head. We have to rotate the arm bone in the socket and lift the shoulder blades to lift the arms over head. Based on this and the research of many Physical Therapists far more qualified than I, we have begun to reconsider the shrug. We know we don't want to hang limp from our bones and ligaments but we also know we must allow the shoulder blades to lift to make space for the arm bone.

Recently, I have been recommending my students find a good middle ground. Medium Rare. Just lifted enough.

Too little

Too Much

Just Right!

Now take this concept and flip it. You the base are the apparatus. You have to be strong and stable but also protect your self. Your core has to be engaged and your shoulders shrugged to medium rare.

Now get out there and lift some people up!