Aerialists, like dancers, are both elite athletes, pushing their bodies and minds to their boundaries, and also aesthetic artists. Whilst there are unique differences between the genres, there are also overlaps when considering the health and wellbeing of the artist.
One Dance UK were therefore delighted to support Gravity and Levity’s Artistic Director, Lindsey Butcher, in realising her vision for a two-day symposium on health in aerial arts; Dissecting Aerial, hosted at The Point, Eastleigh on 13 and 14 January 2018.
Following a round table discussion at the European Aerial Dance Festival (EADF) in August 2017, a plethora of renowned speakers were scheduled for the two days including Will Tullett, Chelsea Football Club 1st team leads sports scientist; Serenity Forchion-Smith, Founder of New England Centre for Circus Arts; Gary Carter, Yoga practitioners and bodyworker; Dan Edwardes, Founder of Parkour Generations and Lindsey Butcher herself.
Topics covered both the physical body and the mind, with Dan Edwardes leading a thought-provoking discussion on “Befriending Fear”, something faced on a regular basis for those working at height. Will Tullett shared a variation model of training to extend the breadth of movement that young athletes learn that reaches outside the movement patterns required for their individual sport.
Serenity Forchion-Smith led delegates on an exploration of posture, both on the ground, and in the air. Particularly useful for those teaching aerial arts, we were invited to consider how we might expect someone’s body to react in the air, having first studied their posture and any imbalances on the ground.
There was also plenty of time for group discussions around “What does success look like” and “What to do when the wilderness hits? The gap between contracts that can feel like an eternity.” With a range of backgrounds and current roles; from teachers to independent artists and those running aerial dance companies, the conversation was rich and varied and also drew comparisons with similar experiences in the dance sector.
There is much to be learned and shared between dance, aerial and circus, helping to ensure performers of all genres can perform to their optimal potential and easily seek the specialist advice and healthcare they need. We are looking forward to building this relationship with aerial and circus performers further, and sharing knowledge and expertise to achieve these aims.
The next Dissecting Aerial Symposium will be held on 19 & 20 January 2019 at The Point, Eastleigh.