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The Tricks to Artistry


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“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” – Martha Graham

There has been much to love about the evolution of social media and how it relates to aerial art. Our community is more connected then ever before. We have vibrant forums and communities dedicated to our safety on Facebook and we can watch and be inspired by both emerging and established aerialists from all over the world through our Instagram feeds!

With the constant celebration and emphasis on spectacular tricks (and lets face, who doesn’t love watching awesome aerial tricks!) in our industry it can be easy to forget that we are artists who are fortunate enough to be practicing, learning and evolving an art form.

Spending time developing your aerial artistry as well as excellent technique and trick vocabulary well help you become a well rounded artist, capable of moving and inspiring your audience at a deeper, more profound level.

Artistry is defined as: A quality that results from artistic ability or skill

Although exceptionally high skill level usually plays a huge part in our perception of great artistry, here at Womack and Bowman we like to think of artistry in aerial art as the whole picture, of which technical skill and “soul” are equally important. An aerialist showing incredible artistry, then, would be one that has worked hard to combine these qualities together into a complete package.

In order to become an aerialist who possesses artistry, it is important to develop outstanding skill in all of the following areas:

  • Technical ability (impressive and dynamic tricks)
  • Musicality (ability to connect with the music, express it, phrase and add dynamics to movement in relationship to the music in a way that is unique or interesting)
  • Acting ability (the ability to display emotion, depth of character, or communicating intent/motivation)
  • Performance (being engaged in the movement, the expression, or emotion of the piece)
  • Movement quality (making smooth transitions between tricks, adding sharp/strong movements where appropriate or exhibiting control with smooth or sustained movements, etc.)
  • Creativity (Creating aerial acts that are unique to you, or if the act has been created for you, making it your own, an expression of yourself)

Some of these attributes will come more naturally to some aerialists and others will need to work really hard to achieve them.

Artistry is a quality that can be developed and enhanced by all of us regardless of age, gender or whether we are striving to become professionals or simply masterful recreational aerialists.

Here are some ways that you can begin to develop artistry today:

Watch Professional Aerialists
You can learn so much from watching experienced performers and it’s easy to do now with so many video-sharing platforms online (although we recommend watching ‘live’ in order to pick up artistic nuance). Study their performances and ask yourself what specifically makes their performance special or spectacular.

Be Engaged in Your Aerial Classes                                      
Make the most of your time in aerial class by practicing your performance skills while you are there – it can actually improve your technique! Move with energy and with attention to details like head, focus, arms, knees, toes, etc. Think about dancing in the air and do so mindfully.

Find Opportunities to Be Creative in Class                             
We have found that improvising and creating movement allows us to explore and experiment with a wider range of movements and movement qualities. It can definitely help to have guidance in this so that you are pushed to delve deeper and express ideas in a safe and supportive environment.

Ask Questions
Not only of your teachers during aerial class, but ask questions of everyone – including yourself! Become an investigator. Great artists are typically hungry for knowledge and curious about their art.

Have an inspired rest of your week, full of artistry and creativity!

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