As I was attending more aerial silks classes, there were certain moves that seemed to expose a specific skill that I wasn’t totally aware of. I heard the phrase, “Bendy back,” every now and then. This happened primarily with Man on the Moons and Rebecca Splits.
I never really understood what they meant until I returned to those special moves. We’re all taught the same techniques, with unique variations here and there, but for the most part it is up to us to avoid the cookie cutter syndrome. How you stand out on the silks relies on your ability to imprint your identity into your movement.
I think it’s fun to believe that an aerial dancer possesses some special talent that makes her fun to watch as a solo act and complements a one-of-a-kind group performance.
If you had an aerial superpower, what would it be?
Every time I’m in a class I see someone who has this “aha!” moment. Sometimes the “aha” occurs when they find a move or special ability that fits them like a glove. In one class, I watched the other students perform different types of climbs. The first student performed opposite knee climbs; you could tell that she had began to really make it her own. She attacked those silks! The next student was sweet and playful while performing a Russian climb. I was very much in the beginning stages of silks (I still consider myself a beginner to some degree) so at that point I was still struggling to perform a basic climb on the nondominant leg.
It’s awesome to watch; but it can make you wonder what your superpower might be. I only figured out my special abilities when instructors pointed it out to me, and since then I try and make the most of it during poses. On the ground, I worked out my lower back using Pilates and strength training.
Bendy back-like flexibility isn’t the only special talent, obviously. There are so many awesome skills that I’ve students use to wow the rest of us, whether they knew it or not.
So, what are they, anyway?
Well, there’s strength! A flyer’s oh-so-powerful body can give her the stamina she needs to perform death-defying moves on the silks. She can pull herself up with one hand only… whilst in a dead hang… and put herself into a meat hook. You are She-Hulk on the silks!
Or maybe you have the power of flight! You may not have wings (I wish!), but like Storm you can use the elements around you to gain new heights and look good doing it. With a hip swivel or a head twirl you can spin yourself into a fabric frenzy! You can swing your apparatus in such an awesome way that you seem like a natural in the air.
Another awesome aerial superpower is incredible gymnastic abilities! You are Catwoman when it comes to climbing fabrics. You also wear that catsuit like it’s goin’ out of style! Who can argue that acrobatic experience does not hurt your movement on the fabrics, trapeze or whichever
weapon accoutrement you prefer! The way you manipulate your body allows you to express yourself with sheer artistry.
Can you pick up a complex sequence with just a snap of a finger? Like the superheroine Echo, the ability to learn new choreography fast makes you versatile in all forms of movement, both in the air and on the ground below!
When most of us are injured, it can take weeks or months to get back to our climbing abilities. But, not you, Wonder Woman! In just a few short days (or sooner!) you’re back up on the silks and flying in perfect form. Of course, when you are suffering from an injury, you take every measure to heal properly. Obviously, it pays off!
With enough time and patience, you can harness all of these abilities… and more! You have the strength and stamina to perform complex movements on any apparatus. Your fearless mastery of the skies captivates the crowd below! Your acrobatic powers make nearly impossible movements seem effortless. Learning new moves means that you’re progressing quickly, and your resourcefulness and healthy ways makes healing a breeze! You are the ultimate aerialist, with all the superpowers combined!