Let Go of the Rope

Several years ago I got it into my head that I wanted to learn aerial dance. You know, a la Cirque du Soleil. Minus the contortion.

I enrolled in a short intro static trapeze class. I went to two classes, but then missed the rest of them due to horrid football traffic and being out of town. Poor timing on my part.

Fast forward to today. I go to the Versatile Arts studio every week for aerial dance class on a variety of apparatuses: corde lisse (rope), tissu (silk), and static trapeze.

It’s a beautiful sport, very graceful and very modern. But it can be very painful. The rope is the worst, it digs into your sides and your groin, and gives you nasty rope burns on your lower back if you’re not careful. The static trapeze ropes can perform similar damage, though thus far the most painful positions for me of all the apparatuses are the ankle hang:

Photo by unhaerialist

and crucifix:


Honestly, you don’t know how painful these are. You also don’t realize how delicate the skin is on your ankles are until you put all of your weight on them. Or with crucifix, you have to balance yourself with the bar digging into your spinal cord and shoulder blades without collapsing from the pain and completely falling off the trapeze.

But don’t worry. I haven’t injured myself yet. All aerialists end up with injuries though, it’s only a matter of time. But I’ve already toughened up, you should see my callused palms and my bulging biceps. Maybe not bulging, but definitely bigger than they used to be. I’m gonna get pumped y’all.

My favorite apparatus right now is the tissu. It’s the least painful, and in my opinion, the most beautiful. Tell me you aren’t mesmerized by this.

Photo by timailius

If you’re curious about how a class works: we start out with a 20-30 minute warm-up of jumping jacks and stretches. Then we practice our climbs on the ropes and tissus, then do some beats on the trapeze. Beats are basically just hanging from the bar and swinging back and forth until you can swing all the way over the bar into a front balance (which is balancing your whole body over the bar on your waist). We proceed to do a little review or learn a new trick on either the vertical apparatus (rope and tissu) and/or the trapeze.

I intend to stick with aerial dance for a long time to come. I will post pictures and videos of myself in the near future doing a trick or two. Just for you.

Photo by MFRingel

Here is an article in the Everett Herald written by a guy that was in my intro class way back when (July..June? I don’t remember). If you scroll through the pictures, you’ll see me on the trapeze.

Here is a photo stream that I found of my studio. And here is a video of one of my instructors (watch something really amazing at 4:45), love the music. Really addictive.

Bottom line is that I’ve learned a lot in the short time that I have been practicing aerial dance. And I highly suggest everyone to try it. It also really helps with getting over any fears of heights and public performance. It’s definitely a confidence-boosting exercise.

And don’t worry, I won’t turn into a carny–one of them circus folk.


10 thoughts on “Let Go of the Rope

  1. Laura Wynn says:

    Wow, that’s amazing!! Way to go! Love these shots, totally incredible!

  2. Stevie says:

    Incredible! That must take an incredible amount of strength, both physically and mentally. I’m in awe!

  3. Lamb says:

    Oh my goodness! Well kudos to you for trying – the thought of doing this scares me! šŸ™‚

    BTW, you have been mentioned on my blog in a little post titled “The Crayola Crayon Incident” šŸ˜‰

  4. E says:

    Oh my gosh, how amazingly fun…and amazing! Props to you.

  5. Kim Calvi says:

    WOW! You looked so beautiful, “flipping” amazing!!!

  6. Delishhh says:

    Wow that is impressive. I have always wanted to try this too but after reading your post i will pass. I don’t need the burns šŸ™‚ Good for you.

  7. Delishhh says:

    I just quickly wanted to post a comment here and say Thank you for organizing such a great little event. Sorry i had to leav early. It was really nice meeting you and finally so much fun to put a realy person to a blog. I wanted to discuss the kids in restaurants topic with you tonight, but we never got there, i figured it would have been a good one to talk about šŸ™‚

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