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You don’t need to be a Cirque Du Soleil aerialist with a full-on ten shows-per-week schedule to reap many of the benefits of being a professional performer. The mastery, confidence, artistry and finesse possessed by many of the pro’s on the Aerial Silks can be yours also, if you are willing to put in the work.

Back in 2005, just a few short years into her aerial career, Rachel spent nine months in Tokyo, Japan studying Aerial Silks with a Japanese aerial company led by the aerial artist Kumi Wakaido (and working at Tokyo Disney as aerial Arial. Yup. Seriously, but thats a story for another time..). Sensei Wakaido was unlike any other teacher Rachel had ever come across. So passionate was she about her art that she did not allow her students to even touch the silks without being completely present and committed to their movement intention.

Every time a new trick or combination was taught the class attempted it in perfect synchronicity while beautiful music played and performance-grade lighting illuminated the studio. This unique, almost spiritual approach to aerial class meant that all students – regardless of their experience level – became incredibly expressive artists within just a few short month, capable of moving an audience emotionally with just a simple climb or phrase.

You don’t need to travel to a foreign country and seek out a master trainer/spiritual guru to enrich your artistic sensibilities and improve your performance skills (although, if you are so inclined; More power to you!). By implementing these three simple steps into your existing training regimeyou can become the kind of unforgettable artist that holds every audience spellbound, in the palm of your hand.

1. Make Every Movement Count

Whether in class or during your own personal practice, make the decision to focus 100% on every facet of your training.

During your warm up, commit to every movement, don’t be distracted by your phone or the person talking next to you, this is your time to prepare your body for what is to come. When practicing a combination you have just learnt, instead of ‘going through the motions’ trying to figure it out and thinking to yourself that you’ll make it ‘pretty’ later, put your focus on making it ‘flow.’ Soon this fluidity and performance quality will become natural to you and you wont separate the ‘learning’ from the ‘pretty.’

2. Create Ambiance

Maybe your studio does not have flattering lighting or play beautiful music during class but that doesn’t mean that you can’t create your own inspiring environment. Set an intention for yourself when you walk through the door of your studio and hold yourself accountable to it.

“Today I will express through movement my feelings relating to….”

“Tonight I will focus on softening my arms during transitions on the Silks.”

Each time you approach the apparatus, think about your intention. Close your eyes if you need to shut out distractions and focus.

While you are performing the combination or trick stay as present and as relaxed as possible. Hear the beautiful music, feel the gorgeous lighting.

You are capable of changing the atmosphere in a room with the quality and purity of your movement. 

3. Perform, Perform, Perform

Intentionally performing tricks and combinations in class will help you to become comfortable and develop your personal style on the Aerial Silks but it is easy to become stagnant in your studio environment.

In order to truly develop artistry and to become a performer that captivates a room you need to get out there and perform in front of a real live audience (not just the one on Instagram and Facebook!)! Studio showcases are a fantastic way to begin, as you will be in a safe environment with crash pads, a supportive community and a familiar setting. When performing at your studio becomes comfortable, look to outside/professional-level venues.

Continue to challenge yourself and expand your experience in order to truly master your art.

Remember, becoming a masterful aerialist is not just about executing tricks; it is also about developing artistry and musicality. Be sure to nurture and develop the artist within you when training and rehearsing, the results and the experience itself will enliven and inspire you.

Have a wonderful rest of your week!

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