The Authentic Aerialist
What’s your aerial style and is it really YOU? In todays world, can you peel back the layers of abundant outside influence’s, and become your own true self in the air?
Here’s a scenario for you…
Imagine you’ve stumbled across aerials and fallen well in love with it (likely you have, if you’re reading this blog).
But there are a few significant differences in your aerial journey, compared to what’s abundantly available today…
No local aerial studio’s to train at
Limited aerial coaches to guide and educate you
No aerial buddies to train and create with you
And here’s the biggy - No Instagram, Facebook or YouTube to inspire you
(Now, take a moment to imagine how old I actually am - cause this little scenario is no dream… this is me!)
The rise in popularity of aerial arts has really just taken off over the last decade or so, in Australia.
Prior to this it was not a common sport/hobby, with most people either knowing nothing of it at all, or thinking it’s something you couldn’t possibly do unless you started at a very young.
My personal favourite is people asking if I fly small planes and do flips and circles in the air, when I say “Aerialist”!
I often get asked how I got into it all. So here’s my aerial history in brief and, what I believe, shaped me to become the aerialist I am today:
2001: I taught in the Circus department at Island Lake Camp in Pennsylvania, USA.
I had some prior, flying trapeze experience but I had never touched silks, lyra, web, cloud etc…
This is where it all began!
My first mentor and inspiration was Marcy, I was completely in awe of how she moved and looked in the air - I clung on to every thing she selflessly shared with me, during my time working at camp.
I bought a pair of beautiful red silks to take home from the USA, and set about trying to teach myself (Hanging out of a tree, on my parents farm - please don’t do this, there are so many better options these days!!!)!
My uncle also lent me his video of CDS Quidam, I watched the silks act that many times the tape is stretched! (I also never gave it back - Sorry Uncle Jack! haha)
2002: I returned to Summer Camp, taught some more, learnt some more, spent more time learning and training with Marcy.
2003: I applied for and landed the position as the resident Circus Girl at Club Med, Lindeman Island.
A few weeks prior to my contract commencing, I received a call from the talent team of Cirque du Soleil (HOLY BALLLLS?!!).
I had put together a very sketchy audition video for them a few months prior, and kind of forgotten about it - and when I say “VIDEO” I mean literally, it was on a VHS and I posted it to them! (Yeah, I’m from the Stone Ages!)
They invited me to audition for them at NICA (National Institute of Circus Arts), in Melbourne.
The audition was on the day I was meant to fly out to Club Med and commence my contract! Oops.
I worked my way around that, and off I went to Melbourne!
I made it through the entire day audition without getting cut, which was huge for me as I had no formal training… and considering half the people got cut after warm up… OUCH!
I didn’t get in, but what an experience!
It was also my first glimpse of another two, incredible aerialists, that I was lucky enough to work with later on in my career: Emma & Allie.
CLUB MED: Well - it was an adventure, that’s for sure!
I drank… a lot! I also trained a lot, and got to perform and work with a bunch of other talented artists, many whom have gone off to do great things in the circus world!
I spent 10 months at CM, but my liver was about to pack up and leave without me… so it was time to head home and get serious.
2004: I had settled back at home and set my goal on performing.
I auditioned for a local aerial company, and spent the next 7 years performing for them.
I met and worked with so many sensational artists throughout this time, including my first trapeze flyer and now bestie, Lena.
I still however, spent most of my time training alone.
It’s how I work best. I’ve always been very intrinsically motivated.
In fact I HATE external motivation. I don’t know why, but it always sounds and feels patronising to me. Those that train often with me in any discipline, know just to pipe down and let me do my thing!
I would spend hours training, creating, experimenting… It came from my heart and my head, not from social media or outside influences.
I moved authentically, because I knew nothing else.
If I wasn’t away for gigs, you would find me training in the shed at the local pool (which later became the launch pad for Aerial Artistry® GC!) 4-5 times a week and for 3-4 hours at a time.
The way I work in the air just feels right for me, it’s what comes naturally.
I am not saying I’m the most creative or original performer - I certainly am not.
But one thing is for sure - I move in a way that’s authentic to me!
Yes I've aspired to be as strong as others, as graceful, as flexible... but never have I wanted to BE someone else entirely in the air (ok except maybe the original Quidam
tissu artist because... 😍😍😍).
In fact, even when I TRY to copy something I’ve seen someone else do, it turns out entirely different and I love it! Is that wrong? NO - it’s circus!
So, how do you step into your most authentic aerial self?
Don’t wait for the next big Instagram aerial influencer to follow.
Don’t emulate someone else entirely.
Emulation is not art...
Although it is a handy skill when you work with a partner!
e.g. My fabulous mini twin Jade, who has managed to emulate me so well over the years that people get confused at gigs and think we’re twins! I’m 15 years her senior and she’s 15kg lighter with pale skin and blue eyes… but it just works so damn well! 💁🏻💁🏽
Anyway, back to the point…
ART is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.
Let’s bring the creativity and imagination back into aerial arts!
Here’s some steps to work on becoming your authentic aerial self:
Switch off from social media
In fact switch off ALTOGETHER (I often switch to “flight mode” when training - bad pun actually not intended, for a change)
Get into your own little aerial bubble
Ignore all distractions
Move freely, but deliberately - move with meaning
Find some music that inspires you & play it while you train
Dream up sequences and go deep - think of the little things (head positions, hands, feet, lines)
Learn your basic fundamentals so well, that you understand how to and are capable of turning them into unique sequences that are amazing (and safe)!
Think of ways to transition moves differently and see where you end up
Get in the air and move without worrying about what others think
Be safe, have fun, get creative and…
Yours in Creative Flight
Follow my aerial antics (and aerial animal memes!) on Instagram: ig. rony_aerial_artistry
Want to come get creative with myself and my team at Aerial Artistry® GC, we have a few places currently remaining in our Autumn Aerial Affair program! This is a two day performance focused, intensive program in April!
You can find all the info here: Autumn Aerial Affair '19
Or contact my team if you have any queries: Email Us