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How to Create New Aerial Tricks!


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Something happens during moments of unbridled creativity that is difficult to describe.

People often call this feeling “being in the zone,” or “being in flow,” a place where creativity just seems to pour out of you.

For that brief period, you experience perfection.

To be a creator in this flow state is effortless, filled with confidence, delight and excitement.

Abraham Maslow, of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, called these sessions of “extraordinary experiences” our peak experiences.

“We are at our most fulfilled, unified, aware. It is the physical manifestation of our true potential.” he argues. “Our imagination is so present that time becomes illusive.”

As aerialists we can experience this flow state in a number of ways.

The exquisite feeling of ‘getting’ a new trick or combination, performing in front of an audience or by creating new material on the apparatus whether it be an entire routine, a combination or a trick.

Now right now you might be thinking; “Whoah! I’m not ready to create new tricks yet! I’ve only been training Aerial Silks for (insert X number of months/years here)!”

And although this might be true right now, it is important to remember that you are an artist, a creator AND a student.

No matter your aerial vocabulary or time spent in the air, it is never to early to contemplate the creative process and the ways in which you can invent, develop and expand on your developing technique and artistry as an aerialist!

Here at Womack and Bowman we love creating new tricks and then sharing them with each other and many of you on our Instagram page as well as in workshops and our online Aerial Silks program Master The Silks.

Over the years we have found a number of ‘hacks’ to aid us the creation of new tricks and combinations:

 1. Utilize the Power Of Music

We are both heavily influenced by music. Different genres, speeds and styles generate different feelings and emotions.

We like to choose a piece of music that resonates with us and let it play, often on repeat as we experiment and improvise on the silks. This often leads to new ideas and movement pathways sparked, at least initially by the music itself.

TIP: The next time you have a chance to train in a private setting, try playing a piece of music that you love and let it influence the way you move in the air, we bet you will be pleasantly surprised at the new tricks, transitions and combinations that will evolve from this experience.

2. Explore New Pathways In and Out of Old Tricks

Some of our favorite new tricks have developed from experiments with entrances and exits out of familiar climbs, drops and figures.

TIP:*Think of a relatively easy trick, it can be as simple as a Candy-Cane or Double Footlock Split. Now, explore all of the different ways that you can begin this trick. Can you put your Footlock on in a different way? Can you reverse the entrance? Do you need two hands or is it possible to use only one? Opening your mind to new possibilities, however small, will encourage you to think outside the box and eventually, those small discoveries will lead to bigger ones and perhaps even an aerial trick named after you!

*Remember to stay low on the apparatus when experimenting and use a safety mat at all times

 3. Watch Other Aerialists

While you want to be sure to give credit to any and all aerialists whose work you have been influenced by, learning from and being inspired by other artists online is one of the greatest gifts of modern technology.

Although nothing can replace the exhilaration of watching a live performance, it is not always possible to get to the theater/circus/event space to see our favorite circus artists and viewing live doesn’t allow us to replay and analyze!

In 2019 there are literally tens and thousands of aerialists posting videos and photos online and so many ways for us to share, connect, learn and grow from each other!

TIP: Scroll through your Instagram feed or search YouTube and find an aerialist who has posted a trick/combination that you like. Analyze the trick and discern what you like about it. Think about the ways in which, in your opinion, it might be improved upon. Could you enter into it differently? Perhaps add a spin? Could you incorporate a different drop or shape somewhere?

Spend time on the ground dreaming up ways in which you could make this trick uniquely yours and when you are ready, experiment on the silks.
Be sure to credit the initial creator when and if you decide to post the trick online.

  4. Adhere to Deadlines

There is nothing like a deadline to get the creative juices flowing.

It seems like an oxymoron but we have found that the pressure of a looming performance or workshop gives us the much-needed push to create that new act/combination/trick.

Lets face it, creating can be hard!

It’s easy to put off the process until tomorrow or next week but with a deadline we don’t have an excuse, we have to get it done!

To quote the 19th century writer Emile Zola:

“One forges one’s style on the terrible anvil of daily deadlines.”

TIP: Give yourself a deadline to create a new climb, drop, transition, trick, combination or act on the Aerial Silks. Seek out a trusted coach or experienced aerial friend to help you and hold you accountable. It could be as soon as next week at open work out practice or 3 months from now.
Pick a date, get to work and meet your deadline!

Have an inspired rest of your week; we will see you in the air soon!

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