Sunday, 11 January 2015

Aerial Lesson #1

If you've been paying attention (it's okay if you haven't, I forgive you), you will know that I started my Aerial Level 1 course at the National Centre for Circus Arts this week, YAYYYY! So I thought I'd  write a bit about it, mostly to prove that I'm actually going. 

The National Centre for Circus Arts (NCCA) is a circus school in Hoxton which runs kids and adult amateur classes, as well as accredited BTEC, BA and Post-grad courses. It says on its website that it is considered one of the top three schools in Europe, and it certainly seems pretty heavily oversubscribed as far as the adult classes go. I was on the waiting list from August to November and had to book my slot on the Aerial 1 course the very same day they went on sale to be sure of getting on.

It's a pretty cool place. I knew this before I turned up on Wednesday, because I went for a admin-y job interview there in the summer and got a magical personal tour of the building (I didn't get the job, sad face. I'm pretty sure it wasn't for lack of circus enthusiasm so it can only have been my complete inability to remember a time when I'd worked well as part of a team/invented a new filing system, or some such rubbish. Pffff).

It's housed in an old Victorian electric light station, so it has this whole red-brick, industrial vibe going on, overlaid with lovely glass and wooden modernity everywhere inside.  There are some big, open sports-type halls with all the aerial equipment, office and meeting spaces, studios etc, a library (So much good stuff!! I had to strongly control myself in there, especially around the DVD shelves when my tour guide was like 'yeah there's loads there that you can't find on YouTube'. Nnnngggggg lemme at it. I've since seen rumour of them opening this library to the public. YES PLEASE!!) and best of all, a weird long, narrow, bouncy, spongy, padded-wall room where they do acrobatics training.

Ohhh I wanted that job so bad after they showed me the acrobatics room! It did smell of socks though. 

Anyway, the way the aerial course works is; students rotate through Static Trapeze, Flying Trapeze and Rope, 3-4 weeks on each, and you can choose which to start with.  I went for Static Trapeze first, as part of a cunning strategy to save Rope until I have built up some upper-body strength (that shit is HARD man), so I was well within my comfort zone for this class.  I would even venture to say it was a little too easy, since I'm not a complete beginner. I was glad about that when I could still move my arms the next day though!

Apart from the obvious mount and dismount, which I fear I will never be able to do properly, we covered the three most basic positions. These are as follows:-


Doing this feels a lot scarier than it looks.


A move so simple I can't even find a picture of it on the internet. In essence it consists of standing on the bar of the trapeze, holding on to the ropes high and leaning forward/backward with one leg held out elegantly. Good for getting used to balancing on only your tippy toes (or parrot claws as I like to think of them) and being up hiiiigh.

Bird's Nest

This is one of my favourites, feels like a Proper Real move but it's not scary at all and you get to have a nice back stretch. 

In conclusion then - a successful first week in which I didn't fall off or hit anyone in the face, as has happened in previous lessons, and only embarrassed myself in the sense that I went with Trapeze Outfit No.1: hot pants over leggings paired with knee-length stripey socks. I swear to you that this has been fairly average clothing of students in past classes I've attended, but on this occasion I was THE ONLY ONE in such garb and I therefore felt like a bit of twat. May reconsider this for next week... 

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