Saturday, October 18, 2008

Aerial silks classes

Last Monday, I was trolling around craigslist looking for random jobs. I saw an ad that Blue Lapis Light was looking for dancers. Not that I can dance...that's besides the point. I had heard of Blue Lapis Light in 2006 when they had posted an ad at the Austin Rock Gym looking for climbers to perform in Requiem, which would be a performance using the old Intel shell of a building before it was destroyed. I was tempted to inquire, but I have no coordination or dance skills, so I didn't. I saw what they did, aerial silks (I didn't even know what it was called then), and thought, wow, that is so cool.

Two years later, I've gotten out of climbing for the most part (replaced it with wakeboarding...climbing in Texas summers...just sucks...and chiggers..ugh!), but stumbled upon Blue Lapis Light's website again. They had just finished offering classes..I was like..wonder when the next set of classes will be. I'd check back every once in a while, and there was nothing new.

Fast forward to last Monday...strolling craigslist...Blue Lapis Light is looking for dancers...hmmm..I wonder if they're offering aerial silks classes. So I went to their website again, and classes had started a week before. I told Sean about it, said I had been wanting to do it for a few $20/class...he said to go ahead and sign up for it (with no income on my side, I'm personally financially strapped, but he said I could do it..yay!).

I started taking the class in their second week, but was able to catch up just fine. My upper body strength and lessened fear of heights that have come from both climbing and wakeboarding are a definite huge advantage. My first day, we learned to climb the silks, which I had no problem with. They only let us climb up two 'steps'...I could have gone all the way up to the top, but they were insistent that we didn't go too high.

We also did this thing where they tied some sort of knot in the bottom. Then we took the two sides, one in each hand, then did kind of a back flip in between the fabrics, so that our hip area (front) folded over the knot, then hung there. We found our balance point there. Then we righted ourself up, and sat on the knot like it was a swing. From there, we lifted ourselves a bit so that the knot was in our lower back, and then went over backwards so that our head was hanging down, and our legs were spread apart, side split style (or as far as you could go to one). While still upside down, we straightened our legs upwards, and wrapped them around the silks (fabric) twice. Did a few 'sit ups'. Then bent our knees backwards, did a huge sit up to grab the fabric above our knees, piked our legs, then brought them through (hips to the sky, legs opening out). It creates a harness like structure with the silks. And gawd, it hurts!!! So then we got out of that, all the way back to the ground.

Not bad for my first day! Well, I was playing catch up as well, trying to figure it out, study the moves and whatnot. The class had done that the session before. But caught up to speed with the class just fine.

My second day of class (it's a Tues/Thurs class) we did something new. We learned to climb up a bit, separate the silks while in the neutral climbing position, hold on to the sides, then let our feet go (so that we were only holding on with our hands), then dangle both silks between your legs, wrap your legs around the silks twice, rest, then lift yourself up and step into the silks to create a stirrup where you can stand up. And then go into a front to back split (or as close as you could do -- see the picture below). That move was so freakin' cool. Again, the whole climbing/wakeboarding background helped sooo much...I'm able to death grip the fabric like I've death gripped sketchy climbing holds and death gripped the handle trying to land some of the wakeboarding tricks.

My class at Blue Lapis Light

Since our class is big, we all took turns trying these maneuvers out. They showed us the next step, which is...from your splits, grab the front silk with both hands, then roll towards your open side, going upside down then righting yourself so that you've done a full rotation. Then do another full rotation. To get out of it, roll the opposite way. It looked scary watching someone else do it, but it was not scary at all when I tried it. I felt extremely secure in the silks, and felt completely in control that I didn't have any problem with it.

And then class was over. So much fun. If I had the extra funds, I would get the silks and the rescue 8 and set it up to play with at home. We've got locking caribeaners already as well as a crashpad and extra climbing gear to hook this stuff up outdoors...oh so tempting. But if that is what I learned in just 2 days, I am curious to see what I'll be able to do by the end of the class (last day is Nov 13th). :)


Blogger Sarah said...

That is AWESOME!

When they were doing that performance at the Intel building, we just happened to be downtown one night and saw some of it--it was so cool!

I am totally coming to your first performance!

11:00 AM  
Blogger marisa said...

Thanks! It is a lot of fun, and now I keep on finding videos of performances and I am studying and studying them. I am so fascinated!

Performance...I don't know if I'll ever perform...I need to be more graceful! But if I do, I'll let you know! :)

6:38 PM  

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