It’s said that aerial arts, aerial yoga, and circus tend to attract the independent type. The idea of personal autonomy is emphasized in our unique world, cultivated over centuries to arrive at the present moment. But the ability to work as a team is also highly valued, particularly when it comes to performative work.
Working as part of a duo, trio, or ensemble will teach you a lot about yourself. As a soloist, you may be comfortable with a healthy dose of self-reliance, which has likely served you well over time. But when you introduce another person into the mix, many doors can open as you discover unlimited potential. Between choreography, apparatuses, and the delicious details that go into fine-tuning new work, joining forces with others can be a rewarding choice.
Powerful relationships are forged, especially with yourself. Romance can develop between some, but it’s certainly not mandatory.
Transitioning to work with another person or people can be exciting, challenging, and intense. As you explore the possibilities, safety should always be a primary concern. Working with experienced instructors can help you and your partner/s to safely find pathways, sequences, and transitions that you can work with and evolve into your own synthesized style.
Finding your partner will most likely happen naturally at your aerial studio. If your studio is closed or you don’t have a studio nearby, social media is a great place to meet others - if you have a portable aerial rig, you can invite others to train with you, or ask to rent time on someone else’s set-up. Look for someone you really get along with, want to spend time with, and whose skills you admire. Spend some downtime on the ground together getting to know each other. Similar goals are a major plus.
Your skill level may be a big factor in determining who you work with. It may be a good idea to stay close to what you know in terms of aerial equipment. But if you get the opportunity to connect with someone above your skillset, take advantage and learn as much as you can. Conversely, have patience if your partner is at a less advanced level. Most likely you will have a mix of skills that you can share to enhance yourselves as a duo.
Photo by Quynbi and Eric from Duo Rêves
Let’s face it: human relationships can sometimes be a challenge, and when you throw in inversions and advanced tricks, this can complicate things. You definitely want to be fully trusting in your mental and physical ability. This is true for the base as well as the flyer. You will need to be able to push as a team while still respecting each other’s boundaries.
Another helpful skill is the ability to work with feedback, both giving and receiving. As a duo, you must be able to use verbal communication when you’re building your act and body language when you are on stage together (unless speaking is part of the show). Know your music and cues and have fun.
One of the most exciting components of a duo act is the chemistry they share onstage. This can grow over time or it can be apparent right away. And while it can’t be manufactured, audiences can always tell when it’s authentic. Find a partner you have fun with and enjoy spending time with. If the stars are aligned, you’ll form an incredible bond. Stay true to yourself as you work through fears and imagined limitations. You don’t have to be perfect, just go with the flow and watch as the magic unfolds.
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Aerial arts are a relatively new art form, but its skills and knowledge are passed just like all the performing arts: from person to person over time. This blog focuses on what you can expect in the process of finding someone with the right expertise and skill set to help you grow as an aerialist.