Sunday, April 29, 2012

I have silks!

Finally, after six years of recreational tissuing, I have my own set of silks!

Why didn't I have them before? Well, two main reasons. First was that, since I started circus, I lived in a tiny Manhattan apartment. I didn't have room for both pole and silks. Pole works better (not optimal, but better) with a standard-height ceiling than silks do, and pole is my primary apparatus anyway.

Secondly, I had no shortage of training opportunities in New York. There were both session and drop-in classes every day of the week, and even when I couldn't afford classes (most of the time), finding training space was easy. The Skybox, Streb, and Circus Warehouse were all easy to get to and affordable for open workouts or silks rental, and I had people who I did pole-silks exchange with.

It's different where I am now. The couple of places to train, which I'm sure are all great, are really far away from me. Aside from my pole teaching and some small-time music and writing gigs, I'm basically an unemployed grad student, so there's no way I can afford classes. And anyways, now that I'm living it up in suburbia, I have more space. Not a luxurious amount, but coming from the Upper West Side, it feels staggering.

Plus, my students have been begging me to teach them. I've even had a local pole studio ask me to teach silks classes for them.

So I finally used my tax refund to buy my own set of silks. My dad's a skilled engineer, and he and I carefully weighed all our rigging options. We came up with something that allows a decent amount of space and height, and excellent safety. I'm gonna experiment with it for another week or so to make sure I like it. So far, so good!

So I've been re-training myself. I've actually been going with the extremely basic building blocks so far. Unlike with pole, I didn't originally train in silks in order to teach, so now I have to look at everything again from a pedagogical perspective. What's the clearest way to explain this? What mistakes are students likely to make? How do you bail out of this if something goes wrong? (My students laugh that when I teach them a difficult new move I usually start by teaching them what I call "the bail.") So I'm revisiting things that I normally do without thinking, and thinking very hard about them. Which, honestly, I love.

The silks I got are really wide, so it's an intense hand workout, but doesn't pinch the body too much. Not too stretchy. I do have a swivel (whee). They're far enough away from the pole that the two can live in harmony.

So I'll be busy playing on that for the next few weeks, getting my silks mojo back and developing a pedagogy. Hope to see you all in the studio soon!


  1. congrats! my ceilings are too low for silks, someday tho...

    1. Mine aren't that high, but it got to the point where having them in a limited fashion was better than not having them at all!