Choreography Intensive

I've been wanting to teach a choreography workshop for years and I finally had the opportunity to teach it on Monday 3/27 from 3-6 pm. If you missed out on this workshop, I'm looking forward to doing another one this summer.

The first part of the workshop was Vine choreography and games that helped warm us up and have fun playing and exploring transitions and sequences. I was having so much fun teaching that I didn't get to take any photos.

The second part involved creating individual pieces on the silks that included movement quality, theming, and endurance. 

If you feel you missed out on a fun and fantastic workshop (it totally was), keep an eye out here, on our email newsletter or on our Facebook page.

If you want to begin your aerial journey, we are offering several drop-in classes throughout the week.

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What are you expecting?
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People enter the Kudzu studio all the time so they can see what they can do. Some have the expectation of flying high, while others simply want to know what it's like to hang upside down. 

What you expect when you come into the space is just as important (if not more important) than what you learn once you are in the classroom. 

If you walk in thinking that you are going to be in Cirque Du Soleil three weeks after starting your first class, I can't teach you anything that will match your expectations of circus stardom. 

If, however, you do come to class inspired, you are more than welcome to ask questions and see what is possible (who knows, maybe circus is in your future after all).


Your expectation might be to simply stay through a whole class without feeling like a total misfit. If this is your expectation, I can definitely help you. I strive to create a sense of belonging in circus for everyone who comes into my space.

Managing expectation is key to a healthy and fun class. Here's some things you can expect from one of my classes:

1. To take care of your physical and emotional safety by only working on movements you feel comfortable with (the inverse is that I will not teach you something that you think you are ready for, but are not).
2. To properly warm-up the body (and creating modifications for every level of fitness)
3. To create a space of comfort and relaxation (especially during savasana & meditation).
4. To feel a sense of accomplishment after class.
5. To have fun! 

Remember: even if you only attempted a move, I want you to feel that you are working on a pose that will not only make your body stronger, but it's connecting you to a deeper history of movement.

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If you are the kind of person who only likes to do things if they are perfect the first time, this is not for you.  No one gets it perfect the first time. Perfect isn't the goal.

The goal is to move freely and with stability. It doesn't matter what pose you focus on, each time you revisit a move, you are going to get something new out of it. The practice never gets boring, and in the process you will learn something new about yourself.

If you have questions about your own expectations (or even your personal objections for why you are hesitating flying), just send me an email here and I'd love to talk with you more. 

My passion is connecting people with flight so they can learn more about themselves. Aerial is a conduit for deep, personal introspection, healing, and growth; and I want to help facilitate that growth. 

No matter your expectation, I look forward to flying with you in the Vines.

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10 Reasons why I Love Teaching Kid Circus Camps
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Step Right Up!
Step Right Up!

Kudzu Kid Circus Camp is back for Spring Break '18!
 

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10 Reasons why I Love Teaching Kid Circus Camps

1. The laugh of a child after they do their first "Kerplunk!"
2. Watching a student get a move after several tries.
3. Creative choreography time
4. Playing "Games"
5. The progress made over 3 short days.
6. Beginner students being inspired by intermediate students.
7. Intermediate students learning the value of encouraging beginners.
8. Lyra spin time. 
9. Teaching a little circus history
10. Student showcase, on the last day of class.

Why I (Still) Won't Teach Your Child Contortion

This is a re-post from the old blog site when I first opened Kudzu Aerial and remains one of the most-visited articles on my site. 

My teaching philosophy comes from the belief that we only have one body in this life and we have to learn how to nurture it into difficult poses, rather than force it (and the best part is that the science backs this belief up).

The following is the article with a few minor updates in content & graphics, if you want to visit the original story, you can read it here: http://www.kudzuaerial.com/fromthevine/noteachcontortion

I've had several requests to teach Over-Splits, Needles, and Back-Bending moves from parents and children over the years. My answer has not and will not change: No.

That isn't to say I won't teach healthy stretching, but contortion is usually not a safe or reasonable exercise for most bodies to practice - especially, the bodies of adolescents.

Our social media feeds are clogged full of bendy kids or performers who take it to The Extreme but the problem is, that no one sees what it takes to get there, or what happens next.

People who go viral with their talents are usually the products of years of moulding into a certain way, and before that, they had the correct anatomical build to get to where they are. You are born with the body you have, and it is the only body you will have, maximize it's use, don't limit it by pushing yourself to the point of injury for an Instagram photo.

I don't want your child's back pain on my conscience, no matter how badly they want that Instagram photo. An injury is not worth a few hundred likes. An adult life spent in chronic pain is not worth a "viral video".

I realize to many I come across as a hypocrite, my personal Instagram account is chock-full of me being bendy...but at the heart of it all, I'm not proud of being bendy - I was born bendy, I'm proud of the strength I've struggled to build my entire life. Aerial made that strength possible.

Every ounce of strength I've gained, I've had to train for EVERY SINGLE DAY. I know the oversplits look impressive, but the ability to use my body in a healthy way is why I continue to train, and why I enjoy teaching others.

For a majority of my life, my extreme hyper-mobility caused more problems than it solved. Thankfully, the dance training I received did not force my flexibility, otherwise, I can only imagine the problems I would have now.

I know I've lost a few clients because I won't teach them my "Secrets". The truth is my Secret is a genetic abnormality with several health consequences (including being blind in one eye, thyroid problems, and chronic pain for several years of my life). 

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After suffering a hip injury in my early 20's (related to my EDS) I had severe lower-back pain and limited mobility for years. I wouldn't wish that kind of pain on anyone. Thankfully, I had a very skilled chiropractor who also practiced acupuncture who helped me avoid surgery. But the road to recovery was long and there were many days I would cry with just the act of getting out of bed.

I know I am very fortunate. Most people who get back pain are stuck with debilitating pain for the rest of their lives. I don't want your child's back pain on my conscience, no matter how badly they want that Instagram photo. An injurty is not worth a few hundred likes. An adult life spent in chronic pain is not worth a "viral video".

This being said, there are some great contortion instructors out there (and I can recommend a few), but the best ones will never FORCE you into anything you aren't ready for. If you or your child are serious about pursuing contortion, research your teacher and what their health background is. The sad truth is, most teachers don't have the knowledge of the danger of teaching back bends, forcing splits, and encouraging hyper-mobile students to "show off" their skills.

Adolesents don't usually know the difference between good and bad pain, but they do know they want to please and will go through exhaustive efforts to look a certain way. This is unhealthy and won't give them what they need to sustain a career in movement. 

Go ahead and look at any true professional dance company, how many times does the corps do a "Needle" in the middle of Swan Lake, or The Sugar Plum Fairy does a backbend in the middle of her pas de deux? Don't confuse tricks with art. Kinetic arts are about strength and grace and movement quality. Art should never be about taking away your joy or your body's ability to function as you age. 

The same lesson goes for life. Hard work and grace will allow you to pass through life with your head held high. I can teach your child that. In fact, if your child works very hard, that split and back bend will come (maybe not to the extreme level you want) because with proper training, increased range of motion is possible....but that requires hard work, focus, and dedication. 

And I'm okay with taking a little more time to make sure that your child gets what they need to have a healthy body for life.

For me that's my professional #goal.

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