General Silks Skills & Capacities, why they are important, and how you can cultivate them (crash-course turbo-speed ultra-condensed version!).
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Why: Supports intuitive, efficient movement, safe practice, innovation.
How: Yoga, meditation, visualization of skills, repetition of skills.
Why: Prerequisite for climbs and any intermediate/advanced silks skills.
How: Coffin hang sit-ups, hammock knot crunches, pull-ups, inversions, climbs, shoulder shrugs, anything core-related, hip flexors.
Why: Allows for a more diverse portfolio of tricks, increases comfort in poses, aesthetics.
How: Splits training, backbends, shoulders/hips/hamstrings/spine.
Why: Supports execution of drops and complex wraps. Reduces chance of slipping/mistakes that lead to injury.
How: Slowing down movements when training, being conscious of what exactly you are doing. Think about getting your muscle groups to work together to create an action—notice when you might be literally working against yourself.
Why: Saves energy, aesthetics.
How: Find out how to allow the fabric to support you (where can you lean into it?) Learn to work with gravity. Become aware of what doesn’t look smooth (video yourself) watch lots of videos of professional, skilled aerialists. Find out where you are wasting energy and revise. Identify your weaknesses. Embrace them. Forgive them. Let them deepen your understanding of your body. Then see what you can do about them!
Why: Saves energy, creates better-looking poses, prevents you from losing height.
How: Focus on keeping all wraps close to your body. Avoid creating slack unless the trick specifically calls for it. Minimize hand placements/grip switches. Remember Occam’s Razor—the simplest way is the correct way.
Aesthetics (pointed toes, hands, lines)
Why: Demonstrates professionalism, connects you with your music and your audience in its deliberateness and visual intrigue.
How: Stretch ankles when standing around day-to-day. Practice hand and leg shapes in front of the mirror at home. Watch professional aerialists, dancers, and yogis. Dance intuitively at home to different types of music. Practice flowing to a song on your apparatus when training at the gym/studio. Video yourself training and critique it later.
Why: Prevent mistakes/injuries.
How: Be deliberate in your actions when training. Notice if you become more sloppy as your energy declines. Be careful not to overtrain.
Theoretical/visual understanding of wraps
Why: Contributes to a holistic appreciation of aerial silks and dramatically reduces chance of injury.
How: Look at what your wrap looks like while you are in it as well as from an outsider’s perspective. Take pictures of peers’ wraps if you are a visual learner. Retrace your steps mentally, figure out how exactly you got from point A to point B.
Connection/relationship with the fabric
Why: Supports happiness, enthusiasm, and peace in the silks journey.
How: Intentional hand placement/touch/presence before and after training. Breathe when moving in the fabric. Acknowledge achievements and growth. Be aware of perfectionism and intervene if it is interfering with your enjoyment of aerial arts. Periodically reflect on your aerial journey and what it means to you. Set tangible, specific goals nested into larger principles. E.g. my goal is to perform for an audience by April 2020 – while having fun and not losing sight of how much I love training just for what it is.