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Finding Your Style

A Guide For Aerialists

As Seen On

WHAT IS YOUR AERIAL STYLE?

Style is learned, adopted, manipulated, and developed over time. Sometimes on accident, sometimes on purpose, and often times both.

Your style as an aerialist is a combination of the quality of your movement, technique, music choices, subject matter, trick combinations and transitions. Your style is what binds each of your acts together into a unique and cohesive collection. The best part is that it continues to evolve over time. Even when you’ve found it, it continues to change.

We can learn so much from looking at our own movement. If you are unsure if you’ve found your style, start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • Are there qualities of movement that tie your acts together?
  • What themes show up in your aerial acts most often?
  • What kind of themes are you drawn to?
  • What kind of music?
  • What kind of acts do you enjoy creating at the moment?

HOW DO AERIALISTS FIND THEIR STYLE?

First, no artist or creator is completely original. Inspiration for our styles comes from the world around us and what we choose to expose ourselves to.  It doesn’t develop out of thin air. The simple formula for finding your style is to take in stimuli from the outside world and twist and shape it into something new with your mind, your favorite tricks/combinations and your life experience. Repeat this over and over in a variety of ways. If you are stuck, you need to find new stimuli.

ALLOW INSPIRATION

From other aerialists and performers, from nature, architecture, music, visual arts, science, your neighbor, historical figures, anyone and everything!
EXPAND YOUR VOCABULARY 

Take aerial classes with different coaches, study Ballet, Contemporary Dance, Acrobatics, Martial Arts and Ballroom. Be exposed to as many movement vocabularies as possible in order to build a wealth of material to draw from when developing your own unique style in the air.

PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE.

If you are only doing aerial in your head, or in your dreams  (many  of you know what we are talking about!), your style (and your strength!) won’t develop. If you only train a couple of times a month or less, you won’t see much progress. Try to train, create and take class as often as you can. Every day is best, but a few times a week is excellent.
STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Push your skills. Practice tricks on your ‘bad-side’. Make time to train and create during your studios Open Workout Practice, or rent space with an aerial friend. Experiment with music and intention. Give yourself movement tasks and motivations such as ‘dynamic’ ‘light’ ‘quick’ or ‘sustained’ from Laban’s movement analysis to help inform your style as you practice a familiar trick or combination.

REMEMBER THAT IT TAKES TIME

Finding your style often involves knowing who you are as a person and embracing it. As you grow, change and evolve as a person, so will your style as an aerialist.

Being an aerial artist isn’t just a career or a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. The more you weave art and inspiration into your daily life and your unique personality into your art, the easier it will be to cultivate your own original style, but all of this takes time.

Here are some video examples of outstanding aerialists with distinct, conscientiously developed styles:

Mizuki Shinagawa:

Dynamic, thrashy, exciting, passionate

Erika Lemay:

Sensual, beautiful, serene, enchanting

Cohdi Harrell:

Playful, charming, quirky, delightful 

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