This week, one of our youth circus teachers Mimosa was in Brighton on a 5-day intensive teacher training course in trapeze and silks hosted by Gravity and Levity and taught by one of Nimble Arts’ founders Serenity Smith Forchion. Here are her thoughts on the training.
I started this year off with an intensive course in teaching beginner level aerial. I am by no stretch of the imagination an aerialist, so being off the ground was a wonderful challenge for me especially in my work but also in my own practice.
We spent the week on the equipment going through a huge range of beginner moves, deconstructing each move into its individual steps, how to explain and teach it and how to spot it and support students through it. This process was fascinating and really appealed to the geeky side of getting super specific and understanding everything about the most basic of skills. We also had seminars on teaching psychology, safe rigging (not how to be a rigger – rather which questions to ask and when to know that you must ask a professional rigger!) and building strength and flexibility which acts as injury prevention. This creates smart bodies and sustainable careers for professionals and safe training for recreational aerialists.
I had a wonderful time on this course, I learnt so much and I feel so inspired to get back to my teaching and applying everything I have learnt. The main message I take away from this course is being a creative teacher. All our bodies are so different. For example, one of my fellow students when sat on the floor up straight couldn’t touch the floor with straight arms. It just happens that her arms are shorter than her torso, which means she must work harder than those with longer arms to tuck up under the bar. Another teacher on the course had wrist pain. We found out that this came from inflexibility in the shoulders which put pressure on her wrists – the pain didn’t originate from her wrists. I learnt that my plateau in my quest for proper splits is in fact in my quads (never even considered that!) From years of L-basing and not enough stretching, my hip flexors and quads especially are incredibly tight, it hasn’t a thing to do with my hamstrings. This very detailed analysis encourages smart training and teaching, not only in aerial but also in all the groups which I teach and thing I want to learn! This knowledge and respect for people’s differences allows everyone to achieve amazing things with small tweaks to allow that for each person. I certainly did tricks myself which I thought I couldn’t do with some smart notes from Serenity and spotting which meant I was safe 100% of the time.
I would highly recommend this course and any of Nimble Arts' work to aerialists and general circus practitioners alike. What an incredible start to the year! I'd love to give a huge thanks Albert and Friends Instant Circus for sponsoring me to complete this course.