Circus Status: Time to Move On | Eclectic Cake: Circus Status: Time to Move On

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Circus Status: Time to Move On

So, you remember when you're at school, it's the end of term and there's a sense of silliness in the air. That was very much the atmosphere of today's class. It was the last class of term and some of the group are going to different sessions next term so to say farewell we dressed up – me in purple sequinned pants, others in animal onesies and, suitably, a guy in a Tarzan suit. This meant the class was pretty relaxed so perhaps I wasn't as focused as I could have been but it's meant to be fun as well, right?

My warm up swing was pretty good. After watching the videos from last week, I made sure I was tight and stopped my hips sinking. Amidst the relaxed atmosphere, I felt like I had more time in the air to think about what I was doing so I could consciously lift those hips, squeeze those spangly glutes and hold a better position. The fact that I'm getting stronger and stronger may also help. It seems like less of a struggle to hold positions and get the power I need. Don't get me wrong, I'm still working hard up there, but I feel like I have a good enough swing to now focus on little tweaks to perfect it. I can tell the difference. I look much more controlled in the air and I'm getting more height – all essential for tricks. There are still things I need to improve on but I'm happy to end the term knowing that I've made good progress, despite not being able to dismount on my sprained ankle.

Perhaps the atmosphere was a little too relaxed as later on I started to lose track of what I was doing... forgetting to hold positions long enough to get the power needed for tricks, or hesitating and getting timings wrong. Despite this I got a fairly clean roulet (shown below) – if only I'd remembered to push my legs down and keep them straight once I'd pushed myself onto the bar. Because the class was very relaxed and fun, though, I didn't feel frustrated at my near misses.

Then it was over – my last class at this level. The crazily high demand for spaces on flying trapeze courses at Circus Space, means I've been in the same class for a few terms but now I've finally bagged a place on the next level up! I'm really looking forward to it but with a few nerves (trepidation). Moving to the next level means that, obviously, there will be people far more advanced than me, which is great – I can learn from them, watch how they do things I struggle with, and this will hopefully push my performance. But I'm worried that my injured ankle may have put me back and I'll find it hard to catch up to the right level; it's made me slightly inconsistent as I've been conscious about hurting it further. I could do everything required at one point, though, otherwise I never would have been signed off to progress. This class is also longer, so that's an extra half an hour in which to improve.

A different class also means a different instructor. It's easy to get comfortable with a way of teaching and I definitely have – I was really happy to hear my current instructor is taking the first class of next term but after that we will have someone new. Someone who doesn't know my abilities and injuries, what I've been capable of and what I find tricky. But perhaps this is all a good thing. It throws me out of my comfort zone and should push me more. And often a new instructor will introduce a new way of teaching, a new way of describing moves, a new way of motivating you.

I've found myself doing the same conditioning class three weeks in a row but this week we had a stand-in instructor. His take on core conditioning was completely different to the normal sessions which, I must admit, I'd become accustomed to. Although it was always tough, I knew when to reserve energy and how many sets of each exercise we would be doing. This week, I had no idea! Without knowing what was coming next, I had to just focus on what we were doing, taking it set by set. It was tough but it felt great to truly give my all to the session, no reserves. Hopefully this is what the new trapeze instructor will bring to my sessions.

I now have two weeks before trapeze and circus conditioning begins again. Desperate to keep my training up, I've sought a temporary alternative to flying trapeze – aerial hoop. As you may well suspect, this entails a large suspended hoop. Similar to static trapeze, you don't swing on it, instead you do various tricks on it whilst it hangs still. This uses the same muscle groups as flying trapeze and, in some ways, it can be harder work as you don't have the momentum from swinging to get you onto the bar. Whilst I shall miss flying, I'm definitely looking forward to trying something new.

The progression of flying trapeze...

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