What is Your Aerial Silks Superpower?

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!

Building My Aerial Dreams from the Ground Up

Being an aerialist is a calling for me. I didn’t see another aerial dancer and think, That’s for me! Throughout my life I have imagined dancing; I just wasn’t always dancing on the ground. I thought they were just dreams, ways to entertain myself while I become a successful tour guide… actress…forensic psychologist… social worker… try to survive. And they felt very dreamlike. But, it was a sacred experience. I zoned out of whatever I did and receded into this fantasy. Then, I’d fall right back into reality. This was relentless and, honestly, was too strong to shrug off. If anything, aerial silks has inspired me to explore movement in a way that I had always imagined… and yet as I learn I’m still finding surprises about myself.

Happy Fitness Trails

Yay! The glorious Spring weather is in its full swing. The wind is relaxes into its invisible undulations, making the branches heavy with leaves and flowers dance from side to side. I took a step outside, anticipating a deceptively sunny day with a bone-chilling breeze. Instead, I was hit with SUNSHINE! If you know me, you know I’m singing part of that sentence… just another way to express my happiness.

I decided then to finally venture through the fitness trail that was just minutes away from my apartment. This beautiful day begs for a fun outdoors workout!

The fitness trail started suddenly in a middle of a suburb. A friendly sign lets you know that the fitness/bike trail leads to the local park. The welcoming reception to the trail got me going. Although I am not a big fan of jogging, I couldn’t help but briskly jog to the first station. It was dedicated to push-ups! Yes, let’s get to the good stuff right away!

Push up barsThere were two bars sticking out of the ground, one a little lower than the other. Next to them was a sign, one of many that would be waiting for me. It showed the various types of exercises I could perform on the bars, as well as the number of reps for beginners and experienced fitness enthusiasts. I heeded the reps rule and performed 10 of each type of pushup. Not easy, especially since I was on the bar that was highest up from the ground. I was going fast with the pushups; in the future I’d like to go slower so I can make sure I’m maintaining my form. When I was done with the pushups I jogged to the next station.

It Can Be Done… It Will Be Done… It Has Been Done… In May!

May has been a hectic month, to say the least. With the website finally done, my personal training certification complete and over with, and my creative juices flowing with no end in sight, I have been a busy beaver trying to make sh*t happen. There is no other polite way of saying it.

Yes, I do know that aerials have not been talked about much nowadays on the blog. I’m sorry for that. Although I made more time for myself this month, unfortunately it is not so I have more time in the air… although that will change! For the first couple weeks of May, I studied, studied, studied! Not to mention I’ve started a new business that offers a holistic approach to fitness. Personal training sessions and fitness programs will be available through the website and in-person also!! I’m getting the Dancing Temple blog ready so it will offer awesome advice for those looking to get fit on both the inside and out; that means meditation, yoga, Pilates, weight training, customized fitness videos… possibilities are endless :D

It was not at all fun to put aerials aside. But, I had to wear many hats this month – personal trainer, entrepreneur, web designer! Luckily everything seems to have successfully launched without too much of a hiccup. I was certified officially weeks ago; but I received my certificate in the mail yesterday. I even have a handy card! My website hasn’t exploded… yet. I’m finally talking up Dancing Temple and introducing myself as a personal trainer. Everything seems to be coming together! I started training one of my friends the other day. Also, if you have a blog and want to help me promote the site, then let me know and I’ll get you set up with a free trial membership so you can reap the benefits!

Tonight I booked my first aerial private with Fran Sperling, an awesome aerial coach that I met a few weeks ago. She performed in Alessandra Belloni’s Spider Dance (I’ll write more about this later) and we talked for a while about the aerial/cirque community in Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as important posture and alignment when it comes to aerial silks. My first time on the silks in over a month will certainly have a “like a virgin” moment! It’s going to be awkward, intimate, uncomfortable; and yet intriguing enough that I’ll want to do it again… and again… and again. And I’ll want to be better at it too! It’s exciting to imagine that special time.

I know that my unique and ambitious endeavor, Dancing Temple, will develop into an extraordinary benefit for anyone in need of accountability, realistic goals, and simple physical fitness that connects the mind, body, and the soul.

I recently updated this website to include more information about personal training. Feel free to read more about what I offer and let me know what you think.

…Life is But a Dream

What a crazy couple of months it has been. So much has happened, all of which has been spectacular.

The best way to start is with a dream I had in June.

I dreamed that I was on a trip to Italy, just as I had planned. On the airplane, I looked out the window and saw the beautiful cerulean blue of earth. Not one wisp of a white cloud was seen in sight. Suddenly, somehow, a form appeared out of nowhere. It was another plane coming directly for us. The plane ducked beneath ours, merely grazing the side of our plane. The damage was more than I suspected; one of the emergency doors was ripped open, the tranquil blue now loudly screaming as it pulled my chair from the floor and out of the plane. I went flying through the air, still strapped to the seat. Beneath me I saw the welcoming ripple of the ocean. And before I made impact, a face appeared. It was my boyfriend’s father’s face. Then, I hit the water!

Deeper down I sunk, still strapped to my seat. Holding my breath as best as I could, I unbuckled my seatbelt. Instead of feeling myself get dragged down into the depths of the ocean, I tried to swim to the surface. I can’t swim in real life and I knew this in my dream too but somehow I managed. Before I knew it, my head bobbed up above the water and I swallowed as much air as I could. For a brief moment, I floated there in the water. The sun made the ocean surface glitter and beam. Nothing else could be heard but the rippling language of the sea as it moved around me. I was alone… and yet I wasn’t. I was filled with peace.

Having a dream like this just a couple of month’s before my big trip to Italy was tough. Although intuitively I didn’t sense that the trip would be dangerous, I didn’t take the dream lightly either. Something was going to change; but I wasn’t sure how just yet. Nonetheless, I forged ahead with my plans because regardless of the outcome, there was a major transition headed my way. I had to be prepared.

Some time later, I was bombarded with SEVERE abdominal pain! My boyfriend called his father, a doctor, who informed us the potential diagnoses. Trouble with the gallbladder, perhaps. It was decided that the only option as an uninsured Celiac was to go to the hospital. An ultrasound and CT Scan later, my doctor told me that I was fine. In fact, I was healthy. All I could do was sum it up to perhaps being glutened. But, the pain also seemed psychosomatic. It moved around my body and although I felt discomfort, it was a discomfort I could stand. My body was sending me a message, it seemed. Something else was wrong that doctors or nurses couldn’t immediately cure.

After  the doctor told me I was free to go home, he left my boyfriend and I alone to breathe a sigh of relief. But, then I heard someone crying for help. It was an elderly woman; her voice sounded frail and distant. Was it the woman across the way? I just couldn’t tell and wondered if I was just having a hysterical moment. The woman called out for a nurse; her voice sounded desperate each time she spoke. As I paid attention to her pleas, it reminded me of the time I spent as a Resident Assistant at the College of New Rochelle.

One quiet Friday night I was on rounds. I was about to go to bed when I heard someone crying in the hallway. At first I thought that it was one of the ladies getting over a bad breakup. Maybe it was someone laughing so hard she was crying. After going through the half-assed rationalizations in my head, I finally wrapped myself in a robe and left my room. I noticed one of my residents sitting on the floor next to her bedroom door. She was from Africa and had a heavy accent. She was typically alone; her posh, slightly uppity roommate didn’t like her much. I approached her and sat down next to her. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me she was locked out of her room. I sat with her and didn’t press the issue too much. I don’t remember saying anything in response. After some time had passed, she admitted that she was going to kill herself. As we continued to sit in the room, she discussed how she would do it. She had some pills… you know the story. If that didn’t work, she was going to hang herself. For the entire night, I was glued by her side. We went to the office downstairs where I called the Residence Director to let her know what’s up. Then, I contact the resident’s psychiatrist – no answer. Since there is no on-call support available on campus, I had to take her to the ER. I stayed with her all night, not saying much… but I just wanted her to know that was someone cared about her.

After graduating with my Forensic Psych degree in December, I had no sense of direction regarding what I wanted to do next. Being a Forensic Psychologist seemed to keep me at a distance from helping others. So, I went through a battery of career options. Maybe Pilates training. What about group fitness? No, personal training. None of these roles seem to fit me right. Traveling to Italy would somehow give me a break from thinking about it; but, what would I come back to? It would be bring me closer to Spirit, to sacred dance; but I don’t know if it would bring me any closer to my survival dance. All of these opportunities seem to possess a need or wish to heal others, and yet they were not enough.

I left the hospital with an answer to that. A confirmation. My boyfriend and I discussed what it might be like to become a nurse. I had considered it in the past; but it was a passing consideration.

The second dream.

I was on a bus with my friends. We were traveling down a sunny road on our way to start our vacation. Or perhaps we were already on vacation. Suddenly either I or someone had pointed out a solemn form by the roadside. On a mountain of trash bags was a pale female corpse. I told the bus to stop. It parked a few feet away from the body and we all got off the bus. Someone had already begun to call 911; I approached the corpse and knelt down beside it. She was blonde and svelte; but death made her lifeless body appear limp and deflated. There were purple bruises and scratches on her shoulders and legs. And she looked so young. I touched her and she opened her eyes. They were icy blue. As she stood up she modestly tried to cover herself. I tried to keep her cover up while escorting her home. Her house reminded me of my old apartment in Astoria; there were other female roommates who didn’t seem to notice that their friend had returned. As I walked out, one of the roommates joined me. I was consulting her about something; but I forgot what the consultation was for. The rest of the dream is blurry since I was waking up. The last thing I remember was my mom and I trying to find our bus; but ended up having to take the subway instead… in fact, it was the red line on the MTA.

Here I am… following my dreams…