I've always been drawn to watching acrobatic acts and gymnastics (my favourite Olympic discipline to watch on telly) but I had never gotten into this stuff until I started pole dancing almost 4.5 years ago. It is so much about gymnastic and acrobatic movements and these are the ones that I do really well, especially the balances.
I've always thought that the way a body should be able to move is like that of a dancer or acrobat. Sure, it takes tons of training and conditioning to be able to put your foot around your neck but there's also a 'non-professional' level of movement that should be attainable. If you can't bend forward to trim your own toenails... that's a problem.
For four months I've been going to 'circus classes' (aerial) and the difference in my strength is absolutely astounding! But most of all I just absolutely love playing there. I also really enjoy the activities where we stand on each other and 'toss' each other. Last week we did a bit more 'tumbling' type of activities. I think of these as more 'clown' movements. I did a really neat handstand, rolling out of it, and also a dive roll. With the latter you run at a mat, jump with both feet - diving for the mat - and then roll (somersault-like). It is just the most amazing feeling to be able to do these things.
Last week there was a new girl and we were doing back arches. She commented, "I haven't done this since school!". There are so many movements that all of us haven't done since school. On the playgrounds we would always be doing hand-stands-up, skipping rope games, head stands, leap frog games... our flexibility and agility at primary school was all-round fabulous.
And then somewhere in high school we stop playing - this kind of play. And from there it's just a downward slide. For me, pole, circus and acroyoga are totally about playing and training my body to do movements that it could do... 30 years ago! I'm very fortunate that over the years my general activities have maintained fairly good flexibility, strength and fitness but I'm always improving.
On Saturday I finally made it to my friend Michelle's 'Flight Club' (page on FB). I've known Michelle for years through mountain biking and common friends (climbing people) and also from pole dance - she is also an instructor. Over the past year she has gotten very much into aerial silks and lyra (metal hoop) and she has set up a regular, social aerial sessions. I did an outdoor session with her shortly after I started circus. This weekend I felt the marked improvement in being able to hold myself up for longer and movements that would have been difficult months ago are very much doable now. These aerial games all look so easy and graceful and elegant; they're mostly not easy!
Here are some pics that Michelle took on Sat. This was my second time doing 'fancy' moves on lyra and most of these were for the first time (like half moon, pike, mermaid, stag).
|Lyra: Back arch from top bar|
|Lyra: balance move|
|Lyra: forward arch|
|Lyra: This is called half moon and is my favourite move of the moment. It's like you're suspended from the moon. Very cool.|
|Lyra: This is a blurry picture of half moon but you get the idea - better angle to show the move. This is what I mean about being 'suspended' from the 'moon'.|
|Lyra: Pike from the top bar. My pikes are getting really good 'cos we drill them a lot at circus classes.|
|Lyra: This one is called 'stag'|
|Lyra: (Wo)man in the moon|
|Silks: Butterfly. I haven't done many fancy moves with silks; at circus class we focus on conditioning with a lot of climbing and grabbing exercises. Michelle talked me through this one and a couple of other really neat moves.|