Part of the beauty of aerial arts is in their versatility. Performers can take on many different moods and flavors. Each one contributes something vital to the world of creative movement, and artists of all varieties can move with gracefulness. While all styles have a place in creative movement, many aerialists and aerial yogis want to know how to be more graceful in their aerial practice.
A dance step or a math problem can be broken down into parts that can be learned sequentially, and then mastered. Gracefulness comes from within, a quality that’s developed and refined over time.
Here are a few ideas for fostering gracefulness in your aerial practice:
There is no shortage of aerial arts footage online. You can peruse the interwebs for ideas. Find an act that’s graceful and swoon-worthy, and write down a few of the artist’s qualities that you find compelling. Then see how you can emulate them in practice.
Photo of @petrakalliomaa by Photographer @vilmatoyrasin our Watercolor Aerial Silks Set
This is not about plagiarizing others’ work, but an exercise in honing your eye to identify qualities you’d like to nurture in your own practice.
Consider cross-training with floorwork. Even basic steps and exercises at the barre can transform your movement in aerial arts. In particular, the placement of the arms and shoulders, ore’paulement, gives the “finishing artistic touch to every movement,” according to American Ballet Theatre.
Photo by @flexxyfox with our Single Point Aerial Hoop
In aerial arts, our arms are frequently tied up, but it’s easy to find moments to extend and reach out with a bit of drama.
Ballet will also teach you a lot about lines. For example, your leg line will appear longer and more agile when you keep your toes pointed and winged (turned out) at every possible moment.
The time and space between tricks, falls, or climbs can present powerful opportunities for expressing your character in an act or routine. And while they may not carry the same showstopping power as a triple star drop, choreographed transitions can leave your audience breathless.
For example, how will you exit your mermaid pose and follow up with the next section? How do your legs travel from your inverted pike to your split? Sometimes-overlooked transitions like these deserve as much attention as the rest of the piece.
Consider thinking of your energy moving from the inside out, originating in your heart center and propelling outward as if moved by an unseen force. Visualization is the perfect tool to focus quality of movement. Think of moving with intention, purpose, and mindfulness as you practice gracefulness with every step.
If your aim is to capture a certain quality of movement, ask someone nicely to observe and offer feedback. If you’re not able to showcase your work in person, you can take video and share that way. Your friend will likely feel honored, and you can offer the same service in return.
Evolving the quality of gracefulness in your own work with practice is a rewarding experience, one that will inform your movement on and off the apparatus.
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