Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A circus break: a trip to NECCA

This past weekend the hubby and me took a short trip up to Brattleboro Vermont, the home of the New England Center for Circus Arts. We visited there in the summer to participate in the aerials skills week, and while there were informed that they would be holding workshops over the last week of October. We decided back then that we would try to arrange to return for one or more of the workshops, in particular we were interested in the day long session on rigging.

Brattleboro is a two hour drive from our home in Somerville. The journey is rather picturesque, as you drive through the rolling hills of the Appalachians, passing by (and over) rivers. Some of the roads are very twisty, and at times you're driving on an undivided highway of only one lane each direction, so you need to be paying attention. When I return in February (more on this in a bit) I'm going to have to be careful on these roads. Anyway, this isn't about the drive, it's about the aerials learning.

On Sunday we did a 2 hour session with a friend of ours from Edmonton who was at NECCA for teacher training. Our instructor was Destiny Vinley, who we'd met in the summer. She was super fun to work with, and we learned several cool poses that can be built upon to do all kinds of different moves. I only a have a few videos from this session, which are rather slow and not very graceful, so here are a couple of shots from the summer instead.

Monday was a 6-hour workshop on rigging for aerial equipment. Andrew and me both felt it was important to learn more about rigging, in case in the future, we find ourselves performing on our own around Ontario. The session was very informative, but as pointed out by the instructor, we are not now free to travel about the country rigging silks and trapezes as if we were professionals. What we are able to do is recognize when rigging is done safely or not, which is key for aerialists.

One of the coolest things we saw during the session, was how many pounds of force are created from different aerial tricks. Surprisingly, the greatest amount of force achieved was just shy of 1,000 pounds (from a double ankle drop). That was very reassuring to see, as it tells me that the ratings for all of the equipment is far greater than what is needed to avoid crashing to the ground. I think we'd both like to take more sessions in the future, so that we might become more qualified and experienced with rigging.

I'm going back to NECCA in February to take their introductory course for instructors. I'm looking forward to the 5-day session, as I'm hoping to start assisting with a couple of the beginner classes at the studio in Boston.




Anonymous said...

Hi Andrea,

Is the double ankle drop the one we (Firefly) call the Drop to Charlie (Chaplin)? If so... no wonder it hurts!


PS.. I hope to see more photos from your trip!

Andrea Milne said...

Double ankle drop--yes, I'd say it was the same as the drop to Charlie Chaplin. It was the most force anyone could generate. Everything else (including double drops, slack) only made it up to about 500lbs of force.