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  • Writer's pictureKatie Hardwick

Silks Tuition in Falmouth

Silks Masterclass 26oct14-1.jpg

I travelled back to Falmouth yesterday, the Cornish town in which I lived for three years whilst studying English at Falmouth University. I spent much of my time there working with Swamp Circus, and go back regularly now I live in London, to perform and to teach aerial circus workshops. I love seeing old friends, being by the sea and getting away from the rush of London.

On Sunday I led classes in silks, a morning session for beginners and an afternoon for experienced silks students. The morning session was attended by a really strong group of students, with backgrounds in gymnastics and rock climbing meaning we could work on more advanced moves than I usually teach in a taster session.

As a teacher at the National Centre for Circus Arts, I attended teacher training sessions with head of learning, Glen Stewart, at the London circus school in September. We learned about teaching techniques, global movements, safe training and some very useful self massage techniques with a lacross ball. I also had a private class with Serenity Forchon in July, in which she taught Leyla and myself how to safely use our muscles in aerial training. I was excited to pass my new knowledge onto students just starting their adventures in aerial circus, and keen to set them on a journey of safe and effective training.

We looked at aerial specific warm-up excersises, engaging muscles which protect your body in the air, then spent some time finding stable positions on the silks so that the students understood how to have control of their bodies in the air and upside-down. This meant that moving onto the basic moves that are the building blocks of silks was easier as students understood how to protect their bodies and how to control positions with balance rather than with strength alone.

At the end of the session we did some partner stretches to release the muscles which are used in silks, and spoke about safe stretching and how to use a lacross ball and wooden stick to increase shoulder mobility. I also have some students with a trapeze at home, some skills to work on safely and how to spot each other, until they can next attend a class led by an experienced teacher.

The afternoon session with the experienced students returned to the basics with the same focus on correct movements, which muscles to engage and how to use balance to help with moves. We moved onto how to make moves look completely different by using either slow, controlled strength and balance in them, or beating and tempo. We explored how the students could safely go away and work on these ideas to create their own style of movement and to give them more options to explore without having to learn new tricks.

Dead Dog In A Suitcase

On my way to Falmouth, I stayed in Bristol at the Marriott Hotel after seeing Kneehigh's final performance of this season't tour of Dead Dog In A Suitcase, at the Bristol Old Vic theatre. The show was directed by Mike, the first one in a while that hasn't been directed by Emma Rice. The style was as playful, cheeky and powerful as ever, with more of a musical style than any of the other plays by the company that I've seen.

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