ladysprite: (new)
In other news, I finally feel like I'm making progress in silks again.

I've been at the same class level for a while now - this isn't unexpected; if nothing else, my school only has 5 levels and each class session is only 8 weeks. The further up you move, the longer you stay at that level as you work on gaining finesse and strength and mastering more complicated moves. But for the past couple of sessions I've felt more frustrated than enthusiastic, and it was starting to spoil my fun.

Part of it was being sick - missing at least a couple of weeks each session because I was too weak or dizzy or nauseated, and having to take it easy on the weeks that I did make it in. Part of it was having too many people in class, and sharing a class with students who were either close friends with the teacher or were just far more willing to grab and hold the instructor's attention than I was - I admit that, in a group setting, I have a strong tendency to yield attention and spotlight at the first hint that anyone else wants it, and it's difficult to the point of painful to ask for my share of time and attention. And part of it was just feeling like I wasn't getting any better.

But for the past two weeks I've been physically better than I have for months, and it shows. And we've gone from 5 students (and me getting shunted to the shortest silk on the lowest point so I was just physically incapable of attempting half of the wraps) to two students. And it's clear that my teacher wasn't utterly oblivious, because she's spent the past two weeks clearly and deliberately asking me what I want to work on, drilling me on those things until I feel like I understand them and have them in my muscle memory, and giving me detailed feedback and support.

This is the school I love and remember, and this is the hobby I adore. I'm learning again, moving forward again, and while I may never actually master this crazy art form, at least I feel like I'm not wasting time and energy and money anymore....

(Also, new userpic. Only 10 months after chopping off all the hair...)


Aug. 5th, 2015 01:53 pm
ladysprite: (steampunk)
For those who've been following my adventures in aerials, here's a bit of what I've been doing so far.

It's not the best video, and I really need to get better at pointing my toes, but.... here's the fruits of about 10 months of practice:
ladysprite: (steampunk)
I haven't talked much about silks here lately (okay, I haven't talked about much of anything here lately), but I'm still taking classes, and I'm still madly in love with it.

I'm still with the same instructor for the most part, but she and I have finally figured out how to communicate, and the occasional class with another teacher means that if there's something I'm having a hard time understanding, I can usually get it explained to me in a different way or taught with different techniques until I can understand it.

It's boggling to me sometimes to realize just how much I've learned, and how much stronger I've gotten.  I can do pull-ups now.  I can support myself by my grip alone in midair.  When I started class I couldn't invert (flip upside down) from the ground; I remember struggling to invert in the air even once and feeling like I'd never be strong enough.  At last night's class, we spent nearly an hour and a half being told 'climb up, invert, and then do X,' and it wasn't until the drive home that I realized I hadn't missed a single move.  Things that had been impossible six months ago don't faze me now.

That doesn't mean it's easy - there are always new things to learn, new struggles to push through - right now I'm having trouble figuring out how to stall out in the middle of a move, which is apparently essential for learning to do multiple drops in a row.  And I'm working on learning how to make things look good - while it's one thing to know how to, say, climb up or do a split or hang by your ankles, there's an art to actually making it look like dance and performance instead of just flopping through it.

Most of all, I think working on aerials has taught me how to not be good at something.  I'm terrible about wanting to do everything right the first time, and I get painfully frustrated, depressed, miserable, and self-critical when I can't master a new skill on the first try.  And that's just not possible here.  No matter how strong or talented or dextrous you are, these are things that human bodies just don't figure out without practice and experience.  You're using muscles you can't use elsewhere in ways they don't get used normally, and trying to do it upside down and backwards.

And still, at first I got frustrated.  But I saw teachers try things and fall and fail and laugh, and I had instructors who told me to literally hand them my frustration, and then wadded it up and threw it away.  I've had other students point out to me that this is a matter of stacking skills slowly over time.  And I've seen how much progress I've made.  Being able to go to practice time and do the same thing over and over and over until it goes from 'gah, where the hell does the fabric go?' to 'flip, twist, push, there!' feels like accomplishing something.  And realizing that I'm doing things now that, six months ago, I was watching other people do with envy and a bitter certainty that I'd never master.... it's a reminder whenever I get tangled up or lose my balance or whap myself in the face with my fabrics that in a month or two I'll get this too.

Next semester I move up to Level 3, and then I can start taking performance prep classes.  This is crazy.....

Silks 2.5

Apr. 29th, 2015 09:42 pm
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Hooray; I've finally stepped up to the next level of class in aerial silks.  This is the level for people who aren't quite good enough to move up, but who've learned enough that they don't belong with the people who just stepped up to level 2.

That said, our teacher has taken advantage of the fact that we're all on a level again to push the heck out of us.  We're learning new stuff for the first time in a while, and she's (literally) working us until we drop, especially in our conditioning at the end of class.

Anyway, new moves for this week.....

Hidden for those who don't care about details of fabric wraps.... )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Silks have been weird for a little while - I missed a bunch of classes due to weather, and then this session due to illness.  I've been trying to make up any missed classes, but added to this is the fact that I've been with the same teacher, at the same level, for three sessions now.  So I haven't exactly been learning a lot of new stuff.

I'm still learning - I'm working on strength (especially after having been sick), and finesse, and trying to keep my toes pointed and make my inversions clean and generally look good while I'm in the air - essentially, how to do this gracefully and attractively, instead of just any old way.

Still, I had a make-up session with a new teacher today, and learned a bunch of new stuff, so I'm writing it down here in hopes of remembering it....

<lj-cut text="details for them what care....">

Double-crochet slack drop - invert in the middle, double-crochet.  Bend your knees.  Hold arms out in front to get
some extra length, then bring them into your chest so you drop.

Pike through to back crucifix.

Split-silks same-side double knee climb - split silks, straddle up in between, hook both knees over one silk.  Squeeze tight as you can.  Climb up and over, starting with whichever hand is on the silk you're not squeezing for dear life.

Weird Stuff With Hip Keys:  hip key; hold onto tail and lean into the pole.  Pull your upper leg over and around both silks, then roll up and over into a second hip key.  Split the silks and pull your torso through, then shift into a sitting position.  Can go into a knee drop from here.
ladysprite: (steampunk)
It feels like all I really write about right now is silks and business. On the other hand, that's really a lot of my life right now. That, and snow and snow and snow and more snow. Seriously, so much snow. The only things motivating me to leave the house are... silks, and business. Plus everyone I know has been sick, so even if I wanted to get out, it would be seriously unwise.

Anyway, my last two silks classes had been cancelled due to blizzards, so I had a makeup class today with a new instructor. Given that half of the state is still snowed in, there was only one other student in the class, so between that and the fact that we were both full of pent-up snowed-in energy, the teacher drove us like racehorses today.

We did *everything* and we did it all upside down in the air, mostly without coming down. We learned a couple of bits that were new to me, particularly ankle hangs - which will take a little bit of practice for me to figure out just how to wrap the fabrics, but look amazing and terrifying from the outside - but most of what was amazing was just being able to string a series of tricks together without coming down to the ground in between.

I've hit the point where my teacher can say "Climb 3/4 of the way up, do a dance wrap and half monty, then pike out, step back into your wraps, splits to both sides, Georgia twist into a crossback straddle, then unwrap and ankle hang, climb out and descend,"

....and I can do it. All. On the first try.

My grip is fried, now, and I'll need some heat and NSAIDs for my shoulder, but I am a freaking lion. Raaar.
ladysprite: (steampunk)
And finally, after 3 or 4 weeks off and a week of review, I'm back to learning new things in silks class.

I'm with the same teacher, but I think I've finally learned how to get along with her. And there's one other person from last class who's back with me again, which kind of makes me feel bad for the third person in our class. She's in the same position I was last session - least experienced, struggling to keep up, not really meshing with the instructor's style, and beating herself up about it. I'm torn between wanting to say something to her and not wanting to sound condescending or belittling - I know when I was in that headspace, *nothing* would have sounded good or supportive. I do hope it gets easier for her.


Hidden; just describing new stuff we learned.... )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
This is mostly just going to be notes on what we did - I had a make-up session for the week I missed today, so I was dropping into a different class with different students, which meant entirely different material.

It was a bit frustrating at first, but at the same time.... we're starting to get to the cool stuff now.....

Hidden for incomprehensible details... )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So I'm slowly getting better - antibiotics truly do work miracles. And I was better enough to make it to silks class today.

While 2 weeks off was irritating as hell, it does mean that my shoulder is feeling a lot better. And having four students and only two sets of silks means that yeah, we have to take turns, but at least I never got short of breath. So ultimately, today was a really good class. A lot of things that I expected to be difficult just sort of.... clicked.

Lesson details, hidden for those who aren't interested.... )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Okay - I'm slowly starting to reach some level of compromise with my instructor. It helps that I'm not in as much pain, and that I've just acknowledged that we have very different communication styles. It also helps that I had a private lesson with my old teacher, who helped me actually master the stuff she'd been flailing about trying to teach.

No cut-tag this time, since we really only worked on one thing last class (other than one try through bicycle climbs, which thanks to my old teacher I had finally figured out).

360 drops.

This is the first drop we've learned, and I am in heaven. Most of what I love about aerials is the chance to be upside down and in the air, and this involves both of those, plus spinning and flipping and falling, and it's terrifying and awesome.

Essentially, it involves climbing, turning upside down and wrapping yourself securely, pulling yourself upright, and then just.... letting go and falling forward into a 360-degree flip, letting the fabrics catch you at the end.

It seems to me more like a teaching tool than a performance piece - while it's amazingly fun, the wrap itself looks kind of like a combination diaper and superhero cape, and the flip, while dramatic, is kind of.... floppy. But it's still amazing.

(Notes for me - climb up, straddle up between the fabrics, double crochet. Catcher's lock on both sides, pull yourself up. Wrap each leg 3x [safety feature for us beginners], reach up, shoulders through. Let go and fall forward with arms extended)

The only real downside of learning something this complex is that it means each of us gets less time on the actual fabrics - class is no longer really a workout for me. Still... we're getting to the cool stuff. :)
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Better class today. I think that's largely because of a combination of less climbing and less pain - I'm still the weakest in the class in general, but at least I'm not falling, crying, or having to sit things out.

I'm slowly figuring out how to work with my teacher, though I admit I still can't cope with her mandatory 'everybody list one thing you were proud of today' at the end of class. I understand what she's trying to do, but... I can't force myself to brag publicly, even under the best of circumstances, and especially not when I honestly feel like I haven't reached a point of mastery where I can take pride in my achievements.

She's trying to force me to play along, and I don't know what to do. I understand that she wants to have us be a team as a class, and that she wants to make us all feel good about ourselves, but at the same time, it's like needles under my fingernails making me be all braggy and arrogant and obnoxious and pretend to a pride I don't feel. I don't know what to do.

Anyway. On to what we did this week....

Technical details hidden... )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
For anyone who's seen my posts about aerials, and wondered what the stuff I'm talking about looks like, I had a friend with me at Open Practice today, and convinced him to take a couple of pictures.....

They're not fancy - just me with a sweaty ponytail, no costumes, practicing pretty low to the ground, but it at least gives some context.

Images hidden for those who aren't interested )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So I think I've realized the primary problem. It's just that my teacher... isn't that great. She's not *bad,* she's just nowhere near as good as the teacher I had for Silks 1. And temperamentally, we're just a horrid mismatch.

I don't cope well with people trying to support me with dishonest, excessive praise. If I'm doing badly, about the worst thing a person can do is come to me and say 'Nooo, you were *beautiful!* That was AWESOME. You did SO WELL. That was WONDERFUL how you Did The Thing!' It annoys me, it upsets me, I know it's phony, and it feels condescending and I wind up wallowing in even worse shame at the thought that the person thinks I'm either so stupid that I can't tell they're blowing sunshine up my ass, or that they think I'm so fragile I can't deal with honesty.

I'd much rather someone tell me, 'yeah, that wasn't great, but you'll get better.' Or 'we can work on this.' Or just don't say anything, and let me work through it on my own. It's more honest. And it doesn't engage my stubborn, argumentative streak.

Unfortunately, my teacher is the sort who tries Very Hard to be very sweet and supportive, and doesn't know quite what to do when it just frustrates me more. But at least now that I recognize this, I can try to work around it. And I need to remember that, while I'm lousy at climbing, that I'm good at everything else - and that my trouble with climbing is more a matter of injury than anything else.

Anyway, what we did.....

Hidden for those who are already bored by my babbling..... )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Okay - just started silks level 2 today, and... it's going to be a challenge.

I'm the idiot of the class - there are two other students, both with a LOT more experience with me. One has taken level 2 silks 3 times now; the other has a year and a half of aerial hoop experience.

Plus my new teacher.... she and I just don't mesh well. She tends to assume we all know things I don't; she plays on her phone while we're practicing, and during closing class, she said she wanted everyone to say their most and least favorite things about the class.... but forgot me. Literally. Like, had one student talk, had the other, and then when I opened my mouth, said 'now it's time to move to stretching!' She remembered a few minutes later, and asked me if I wanted to "share," but by then I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

Add to that the fact that we spent about 45 minutes of class today climbing, in spite of my injured shoulder, and that she kept working on climbs after I told her I was in pain and it was hampering my ability to descend properly and safely.... (apparently I was supposed to just sit out, in spite of the fact that I paid for the class?)

Anyway. I won't be able to make it to extra practice this week, and on top of that we're starting to learn enough stuff that I want to keep a log of it from week to week, so I'm going to start listing stuff we do here. If I can't physically practice, at least I can keep things in my mind..... This is mostly for me, so feel free to skip and move along.

Hidden, because it's of little interest to anyone who's not me )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
I've had two formal Aerial Silks classes so far, and I'm still as utterly besotted with the art as I was after my first sampler.

It helps that our class is small - 4 of us total, plus one teacher. 3 of us have never done any aerials at all before; one girl has been through the Level 1 class a few times but is still working on building strength and comfort with the form. So there's a lot of direct communication with the teacher, and we each have "our" silks, and we tend to play and move at our own pace.

The first class was mostly about getting comfortable with foot locks (wrapping the fabric around your foot in such a way that it'll stay put without any further attention, freeing up your other leg), and various ways to balance and pose once you're there. Yesterday's class went from there into inversions (hanging upside down in the silks) and hip keys (essentially, lying on your side in mid-air, parallel to the ground, with the silks wrapped around your inner thigh and hip, both hands and feet free). And I can't get enough of it.

The more I do, the more natural it feels - like somehow I'm just *supposed* to be upside down in mid-air wrapped in fabric. I know it sounds absurd, but I hate putting my feet back on the ground.

And I'm a bit worried at how easy it all is. I've done enough motion arts to know that easy can often be 'not getting your fundamentals right' - and there's something that seems off when three girls are falling and getting tangled and grunting and straining and I'm... rolling up into a pose and wondering what the trouble is. Unfortunately, since I'm not falling, the instructor is spending most of the time with the other students.

He's not ignoring me; I'm getting the occasional nod, or the reminder to point my foot out instead of keeping it parallel, or to curve my back instead of arching it. But I'm afraid that either I'm doing something basic wrong, or that I'm going to get overconfident and have an incredibly rude awakening very soon.

(The instructor did, at least, manage to find a conditioning exercise that kicked my butt after I finished the first two "too easily" - I have been introduced to the core torture that is hanging leg lifts, and damnit, I will master them if it kills me....)

Ultimately, this is heaven. It's in the air and upside down and dancing and using all of my body and my strength and I want to do it every day and I never want to stop....


ladysprite: (Default)

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