Many students learn aerial by acquainting with the fundamentals and then studying individual poses and skills. In aerial, it’s easy to get very focused on the tricks themselves–there are so many amazing things you can do on an apparatus! But eventually you start to wonder,
“How can I connect these two skills in an interesting and beautiful way?”
The in-between zone is full of opportunity, and often it remains underutilized. But those in-between moments are as important as the poses and tricks, in the same way that the pauses in the music are as important as the notes.
So instead of thinking of choreography as a series of trick checkpoints to get through, invest artistically in the continuous pathway that threads the choreography together. Bring intention to the moments in between the obvious tricks and poses. I discuss this in much more detail in my ebook Intro to Aerial Choreography. It’s a super fun, accessible guide that walks you through assignments to complete your own original choreography.
I can’t tell you what to do in between poses, because every apparatus and combo has different options available. I can only advise that you expand into that space, note it, and be present in it, instead of just getting to your next dramatic position as efficiently as you can. Your transition doesn’t even have to be a big movement. It could be a facial expression, a body posture change, or an interaction with your apparatus. Or perhaps you move through a series of logistical moves in a very fast, dynamic way! That works too. The important thing is that intention is brought to the moment. The transition may have enough identity that it even qualifies as a “trick” or pose. The lines do begin to blur, but the principle of connectedness is the same.
In the instagram post below You can see a few examples of transitional moments:
- Slow opening and then a quick release, followed by an arm accent in the layout.
- Deliberate dropping of the tail that times with the music.
- An arch hang before the Russian climb.
- An arch into the Russian climb.
- A big unnecessary straddle and exaggerated leg movements for the coffin hang.
All of these add up to a more visually striking choreography than if I were to just take the easiest path from one place to the next. You can see that in many cases it doesn’t take much extra energy and it doesn’t have to be complicated. But there is intention and presence in each moment.
I love transitional moments because they give you an opportunity to think creatively, perhaps outside of exactly what has been taught to you. Artistry has a way of blossoming in transitional moments, as there are no exact rules or recommendations of how to use the space between the tricks.
Watch your own choreo and look at what’s going on in between the poses. Is there intention? Artistry? Creativity? Or is it more about getting from point A to point B?
If you train aerial silks, you can practice the exact transitions in the choreo above, or invent your own. I offer detailed instruction of the combo above in my extraordinarily useful resource Aerial Silks Online. The above is the first of my Choreo Candy series, where I’ll be uploading 1-minute choreographies for you to play with. There are also tutorials on more than 100 skills from beginning to advanced.