I believe that once in my past life, I was a circus performer, despite the fact that I have a fear of heights. It just came naturally to love the thrill of being upside-down while up in the air and hanging by the back of my knee. Even when I still sucked in pole, there's something in me that made me still go on until I got it. Well, what do you know, I'm still here and I'm staying, upside down with feeling.
My teachers posted a teaser in their blog which left us guessing what the Polecats have in store next. Screws and loops meant one thing... it's time for another aerial adventure: aerial silk and hoops! And they brought in another announcement when we guessed right, which got me screaming louder than the fire drill. They would be bringing in the first ever aerial arts workshop in the Philippines to be conducted by San Francisco Circus Centre -trained instructor Symone Dolai. I screamed even more. I have to take a class!
I was choosing between aerial silk or aerial hoop but as the rest of the kittens and tigers had the same thing in mind, slots were filling faster than we could air invert, up to the point that a second silk class had to be opened since a lot really wanted to take the class. Luckily, I was able to get a slot for the silk class. I rushed from the house to the studio and paid and thankfully I made it! Yay! I was really excited for this class! I'm up for learning anything new, meeting an awesome person from another country who's just as passionate as I am.
Symone is the founder of Pole Paradise Studio, the tallest aerial studio in Hongkong that offers classes in pole, aerial silk, and hoop and other interesting weekly workshops. She's a super fun and awesome teacher who puts a little humor in things, and in her little weekend stay here in Manila, was able to pick up a few Tagalog words along the way. Some of my teachers have taken workshops under her when they're in Hongkong and I'm glad that they gave their kittens and tigers opportunities like this to learn from international experts.
Pole and silk are alike and different in some ways. They are alike in a sense that they involve being up in the air doing the tricks and stuff. They both involve upper body and core strength to be able to do the tricks prettily. They are unlike each other because, well for the obvious, pole uses a metal pole and silk uses cloth. Silk is much more difficult and challenging than pole because you really have to control so the silk doesn't sway around much when you do the tricks. Also, pole requires us to reveal as much skin as possible to save our lives (hence short shorts and sports bras are the usual uniforms of a pole dancer). For aerial silk, we cover our skin to save our skin from silk burns. So, prior to our workshop, our teachers already warned us that we should be wearing fitted leggings and a tight sleeved shirt.
We were taught a lot of beginner tricks for aerial silk. Since we were relatively all beginners, the silk fabrics were made into a hammock by tying them into an egg knot, which when done correctly, is a very stable knot that can support our weight. Also, if you're thinking the fabric is any random silk fabric bought in Divisoria, this is a special kind of fabric for aerial silk that can support the weight of 1-2 people and also, it stretches a bit when pulled (I guess a safety procedure based from a law of physics which I couldn't identify).
Symone taught us pretty beginner tricks, like standing on the silk properly and a very easy trick called the triangle, which is very stable and looks really strong in photos.
|photo by Nikki Isaac|
|photo by Nikki Isaac|
The fun part was getting to an invert. This proved to be more challenging than hooking my foot up to a gemini but it was really fun when you get to it. It's like climbing up a high swing.
The iron cross (if done higher would look super awesome in photos) and me. and a precursor to a boomerang. Our classmates and I had so much fun flipping and swinging!
I had so much fun I didn't know it was time to cool down. I didn't want to let go of the silks after. Hahahaha. It was kinda tiring because it really challenged my arm and core strength, which I have yet to develop. I woke with my arms sore the next day, but I really felt awesome!
Photo-op with Symone! I swear she's so adorable! I'll visit her studio whenever I get to Hongkong and make it one of my stops!
Our class still happy and giddy from the workshop. It definitely is an experience!
Thank you Polecats Manila for another awesome opportunity, and thank you too, Symone, for spending your time with us and teaching us all the amazing stuff you know! See you real soon!
(all photos of the workshop in this post by Nikki Isaac)