Tag Archives: aerial arts

The taste of success

“El éxito no tiene sabor ni olor y cuando te acostumbras es como si no existiera.”

The Past

At the very beginning I had the luck to kickstart my aerial and burlesque career at the LBF in 2009. I achieved a whole lot more of a praise that my skills were to take me to.

I was very successful for a “beginner”

Until 2012 I could really not enjoy or live any of the success. It was a struggle of survival, until I could make it all work by the end of 2012.

2013-14 were years of progress and work and some failed dreams and friendships.

Conclusion is, that at an early stage you don’t even realize what you have.

Fast forward to now

For the first year of my son’s life I was planning to do an average 1-2 shows a month, and as a matter of fact I succeeded in that…

Yet I consider this last year a very hard one professionally…

When I got pregnant I had to cancel 3 months of work and events 5 months from the date, I can say I was on top of my game, working a lot and becoming a considerably “OK” (strong upper mid-level if you please) aerialist…

I did expect it to be physically hard to get back, but I did not expect it to be so professionally miserable.

I explain.

I’m terrible at selling myself, I am full of doubts, I cannot watch a video of myself without rolling my eyes and I cannot finish a show without at least once saying how SHIT I was.

I also did want to switch scene and focus on bigger shows instead of gigs and burlesque related productions.

And obviously, I did not expect the burlesque scene going to shit on the meanwhile either.

Visibility on festivals

There comes a time in your life, when doing burlesque festivals for less than free just don’t make it… but let us be honest… I said to myself, let’s try other festivals (not Lbf, which was a safe application process always), than you get the ‘oh thank you, but…’ message…

You, established, good performer… being explained how Kittiey Mc Tittishaker (lets hope nobody owns this name yet), a two year VETERAN of the scene, entrepreneouer daredevil extraordinaire with a hiper original signature classical tribute act has a bigger ‘IT’ factor when it comes to performing… classic burlesque…

So according to facebook and the scenario, I keep being the backstreet circus chick of the show… you know the one other performers are not eager to take selfies with… yet the one to mostly finish off the show as the “strong plate”…

It felt quite unsuccessful, all this.

In reality… with the one show a month I make more money than I did with various years before…

By chance or by luck I landed doing the Barcelona Burlesque Festival, which happens to be a paid thing and goes by invitation… (and I hope they keep it that way)

By conclusion I landed a half year contract with the theater.

This is the real success.

It was hard work, performing, pulling my acts back together, even making them better. Million email, proactivity, and all.

Does it feel like bathing in champagne already?

It is great, yet I only dare to whisper it…

I am the resident aerial artist of El Molino theater…

Feels like it just disappears the moment you say it.

Now, I did not substitute someone on a gig, I did not do a couple of parties or the Festival, noo! Im there and to stay.

Yet, does the burlesque scene cares?

I tell you what, if I feather up my bio and explain it… maybe… but in reality, no shit.

And this is how success feels in the “scene”.

Even if you make it, you need to fake it.

In the city?

It is a great reference, everybody knows it, I have a two page spread photo of myself.

In reality?

I see my osteopath almost every two weeks.
I juggle a baby, a household and my sleep deprivation.
I lost 10 kgs, since baby. (I do have some killer abs, though)

Altogether, I think I am at the right track.

The Struggle

I am a very booring person.

My topics: art, my struggle with art, baby, training.(or the lack of time for it)

I am also tiring with it, constantly analyzing, writing, thinking.

Alltogether it folds out to be some kind of a never ending struggle with the limits of my body and time.

I will never be the best aerialist of the world, in fact being the best in anything is getting impossible by the day.

So at this point I want to calm myself and set out reachable goals and stop eating my soul out with unreachable expectations.

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One by one, the story of an act – The abandoned bride

The most well-known and if necessary to choose my “signature” act.

This act was born back somewhere around 2006-2007 as a striptease act, at that point the dress was nothing like it is now, was more like a gothic lolita striptease act. (whatdoyouknow)

I remember being very excited about the idea, when other strippers told me it was waa-aaay overused and I shouldn’t do it, cuz it won’t be cool…You bet, I did it anyway.

Music choices went evolving (from White wedding to Rob Zombie), and I found THE WEDDING DRESS in a Hungarian second hand shop (Ruhagaléria rulez!) for 40-50 euros approx back in whichever year.

By 2009 it was one important act of mine with the biggest costume I had, performed on pole.

Then came the 2010 London Burlesque Festival, which I took as an opportunity to showcase something new (a skill) and renewed (this number) and challenge myself.

I added a Bibian Blue corset to the already huge dress and a lingerie like silks dress (which I changed for a better one later) and made one huge decision.

Create an aerial silks piece…

You might have noticed that my main discipline is aerial silk, this is where it all started.

During the first year I was not inspired by this apparatus at all, I saw similar tricks and it just never got to me.

Yet, I decided to change this pole act into a silks act to vary and challenge.

Silks are harder than you would think, but 3 months later I had the initial act.

First time performed at LBF 2010.

Here is the video:

I never decided to retire this video, as I believe it was a fairly good performance for only 3 months of silks training.

There I realized something.

Silks take away my enormous fear of heights.

(on hoop I consider myself still quite limitated as of height – more on this in another post)

Needless to say, this act was a blast, is a blast, it is a great act. The public loves it, I love it, it is me inside and out. My darkness of the soul in it’s simplest form.

Clear and just enough stereotipical to be digestable to everyone, yet not too much of an only burlesque topic.

Over the years I kept doing it on pole, mostly in Barcelona and in the Palais Mascotte, and sometimes due to lack of high enough rigging on aerial hoop.

Here is another video from the 2011 Barcelona Burlesque Festival, where lacking proper rigging at the time, I had to improvise the whole on the hoop.

(I was to omit this part due to too personal, but I guess the whole artistic process is already is too personal)

Well, at that point I hated every move of mine, but looking back  it was not that terrible. Still I was so tangled up in my shitty relationship, that it took over a year and a break-up to focus and pull my ass together and train harder and better.

By 2012 summer I decided to pull my head out of my ass and also watched some of my videos (oh yes, do that!!!) to realize that instead of creating new I should clean up my skills and style.

Then came break-up and drama and just vomiting it on Facebook for a while, bitterness, blablabla.

BUT! On the meanwhile, I worked my ass off saved up money and decided to take some months off and start training hard.

So from 2012 November up until about 2013 March I was not performing, just training and figuring out what I wanted next.

In 2013 I had another break-up, now with the new circus company I was with and from one day to another I decided to move back to Barcelona, because Budapest was a dead end.

To start with I was renewing my Black Clown act, so by May, when I performed in LBF, this act was still and sadly improvised as I had no time to finish the two new choreographies…

Here you see, too improvised, off the music and crappy, and obviously the only time when I constantly tangled with the silk… (The curse of the video)

You might ask why I did not stick to the original choreography… good question, I guess I wanted to show off new tricks and did not think too much…

After seeing myself, I was terrified, I did not like what I saw at all once again.

Back to training, fixing, practicing…

Until November, when the World Burlesque Games were on… (more in another post on “competing”)

I was so ready, it was so on the music, I was feeling it so much… Crowd going crazy, etc. (If I was to see I would surely think otherwise)

I made sure a friend come to film Tish von Devil, but he could not stay for the second show, then I thought OK, surely there will be an official footage (Saw the dude filming in the middle)

Then the curse of the video worked its magic!!!

YES!!! No fucking video!!! No fucking way!!!

Then I was arranging for a proper video with big height and by the time I could have done it… I got pregnant!

Now I guess is the new time…

 

Dressmaking

This might be shameless self promotion or just a couple of thougths thrown together about my long awaited new project.

Aerial costume making

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As a self taught dressmaker (and pretty much self taught anything else) I started to sew aerial costumes around 2010 for my own acts. Before that I’ve seen too many crappy, not-well done and also overpriced pieces of costume, mostly in the stripper world, but also in the circus scene, here the not well done, poorly designed costumes.

Here’s a great read about circus costumes, says it all.

http://www.laurawitwer.com/2011/10/06/cirque-costumes-not-to-be-confused-with-your-underwear/

I remember seeing my friend’s new costumes by a well recognised Bcn costume maker from the strippy circuits, that costed her each 200-300 euros plus, with zigzag stitches all over the place, but to such extent, that I wondered how a “professional” can charge for that, while your mother does a better job on a broken pedal singer from the 50’s. And my friend after spending this money trying to fix these leotards that just didn’t seem to fit anywhere. (I mean a lycra onesie, not a metalic corset…)

I also remember fixing messes right before stage time for friends during pole shows.

So since my first pieces were heavily complimented and also borrowed for photo sessions, and proved to be durable, against the fact that I really can’t be bothered to do my dresses on a professional level, although I can. I figured that at some point I should think about selling costumes.

Throwbacks

Circa 2007-2008. I accepted some proposals from strippers to make costumes.

Summing it up:

NEVER WORK FOR STRIPPERS.

Rude, pushy, pain in the ass bitches trying to convince how another costumist just did a whole nicer, bigger, better piece for a sum of money, that would not even cover the textile… Did I mention, that they are never content with the results either?

That.

I commited my errors and learned, so althought I am well capable to create or copy a design upon request, I decided not to. It is a comfort zone thing. I shall leave moving out of mine for high flying aerial work, not for dressmaking.

Now to share my titbits and methods.

Insight

I always loved lace, lingerie, burlesque, pasties and semi-transparence. I always disliked lycra.

Lycra gives that figure skater / rythmic gymnastic feel.

I am damn great in decoration, pearling and also embroidery.

So, my main designs go with the materials I love.

Pearling I might leave for special requests as if I was to charge by the working hour nobody would pay the due price.

I figured out pretty soon after making my first piece that lace itself is just not thick enough to prevent burnings on the silk, but as we know, I dislike lycra, so I was looking for another fabric to back my lace material up and save myself from burns.

The one best working for me is elastic tull, it’s solf and added as an under layer to the lace also has a more skin like texture. (with the advantage of not making you sweat like a pig on a hot summer gig – like lycra would)

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Since I had to start with a home sewing machine, I figured out ways to make my stitches more stretchy instead of going for the general zigzag (blahhh, zigzag is like the signature of unprofessional), the one zigzag I use is the triple zigzag stitch, that you can generally see on lingerie, hence my liking of using it over lace endings.

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Now I own an industrial overlock… (which was considered garbage, before I took an afternoon to clean it), my good old (17 years with momma) brother home sewing machine and a cover stitch machine under renovation.

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Let me not lie. I am not good with straight lines, I have over 17 years using sewing machines and I still fuck it up. So I avoid them and as I don’t want to sew corsetry I guess I can get away with this.

What can you expect from my produce?

Durability.

Even my shittily sewn ones are keeping up with the shows.

Strength.

So they won’t fall into a million pieces during your first rehearsal. Mostly double secured endings and a lot more hidden rubberband that you can imagine so ends don’t get wobbly and wavy after two washes, and hopefully won’t cause a tit blink out ruining an outstanding contorsion move in 10 meters high.

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Detailed work.

(my costume making dream come true would be a fully pearled bodysuit…. payed by the hour of course)

Nice insides and ending.

Nope, you won’t see zigzag, where overlock should go, no way.

Call me overpriced, but I won’t underprice never no more.

I will still be figuring my way with the cover stitch machine, but I realized since my other methods worked I could throw myself in the market.

Here’s the link:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Honeycupflywear

Xxx

The aerial artist and the pregnancy – part 2

First trimester

The first month as mentioned superactive, not knowing, doing it all, just noting myself not at my best from like week 5. Then the world famous 6th week kicked in and I started to be sick all over the place.
(I was still called very lucky, as I talked to friends that could not get out of bed during the first trimester)

Morning sickness?

I had it in the afternoon/evening, I think I threw up only once, but I know that was due to actively avoiding it with every natural measure.

During the two second months I could literally not train at all, maybe once, that just felt plain awful, I was spitting my lungs just with my general warm up… I was sick enough to not being able to do much, with days, that by making it to the grocery store and back felt like being a champ.

Then you read and hear loads of infos, so what I was told was to keep calm during first trimester and train more during second. (Which was just logical, as I couldn’t anyways) On the other hand I read about other aerialists, that were training up to 4th month with normality and started to back off then.

As you see, I cannot give a shiny crossfitmommy example here for first trimester. My advice is to listen to your body and the baby. Remember you have all the time after to be the iron lady, but you only have this 9 months to build the future health of a person.

Recommendations:

Listen to your body – a basic rule of life, really

Google is your enemy – apparently everything natural and healthy is deadly for pregnancy and causes miscarriage and birth defects. Why? Because there is no studies to proove the contrary… Hence it’s a deadly poison… So, no way, don’t take natural cranberry extract for your urinary infection or to prevent one, go to your doctor and get some antibiotic, your baby will be so thankful for that! (For the weaker minded, I’m being sarcastic here) Anyway, I do research a lot, what I eat, but results might stop you from wanting to eat anything…

Breakfast – solid, I used to be big on shakes before, but that would just come straight back up, so I switched to solid breakfast for pregnancy, it doesn’t need to be a full english breakfast, some toast will do. (I do cashew butter with bio jam on rice whaffels)

Ginger tea – natural, ginger in a bowl of water boiled, add cinnamon and clover and a ligh fruit tea of choice to make it enjoyable. It took my nauseas away instantly. In fact I had a little bottle of a strong broth to add to any drink, in the fridge most of the time. (Although google also says ginger is the enemy)

Forget about strick paleo – you need cookies, dry cookies, dried fruits

Pregnancy vitamins – I thought I didn’t need it, but it does make a huge difference

Energy – or however you would group these methods, I do prana nadi, but I would say yoga, meditation, reiki would all go great

Try not skipping meals – I know, I was all freaked out that I was not feeding the baby well due to my lack of appetite and nauseas, but a little is more than nothing. Oh and food in your belly helps to keep nauseas away.

Don’t overeat – this I think is an advice for the entire pregnancy, as for me, I get very sick if I overeat.

Light stretching is more than nothing – yes, do it. I got very stiff during this period, my overslipt only came back to me in the second trimester.

Hidtrate your skin – I use coconut oil and Madara’s (bio cosmetic brand) sculpturing oil to prevent stretch marks, my friend told me, any cream is good, just start using daily from day one.

Bra – I hate it, I won’t lie, I use sport tops not even bras, but I so desperately hate it! But boobs grow a size in the first trimester, the rest we will see…

I skipped taking protein powders, instead I take care even more about my diet, superfoods, quinoa, cashew butter, godji, hemp seeds, etc. I lowered my meat intake, and try to eat more rabbit and horsemeat, as those are not hormoned (if you can believe anything these days about meat)…

Also read these blogs over the topic:

http://fitmommydiaries.blogspot.com.es

Literally all you want to know about how to stay fit during and after, her workout plans really help me to shift from my general way of training to pregnant. Feels wonderful, leaves you with a decent muscle ache if you are not used to the exercises, but conforts baby.

http://www.laurawitwer.com/2013/01/31/training-when-youre-pregnant-the-1st-trimester/

Aerialist about pregnancy

http://www.aerialdancing.com/blog/?p=269

Another aerialist about pregnancy.

http://www.crossfitmom.com

As it says. Experiencing this state I would not actively recommend anyone doing crossfit (and I am a big fan and half ass doer), I did do short WODs during the first month and obviously I’m still pretty pregnant and healthy. So if you don’t get knocked out by the toilet seat on a daily basis and are not as yuyu as I am (first pregnancy, you bet) you can keep rocking it and here you have loads of infos how to.

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Be back once I will be rolling on my belly in the third trimester.

My way to becoming an artist – beginnings

So I started figure skating, I could not explain what was that I loved about it, but I surely thought the world would fall into pieces if I had to quit. After 5 years of devotion and hard work it was me, who decided to end it all. I left the sport so disappointed and feeling so betrayed that I did not return to put on my skates for over 7 years after my last competition. This experience also prevented me from getting involved with other sports. I was 13, I did not return to sports until I was 21.

I thought the cause of my depression was the age, but now I know that it was the lack of physical activity. My body was trained to be used, not only used, it was trained to be pushed to its limits. So when I stopped doing this I just got swallowed into this swamp of emptiness.

Obviously this was not that dramatic, I did great in school (as far as a very bright, but very rebellious artsy girl can) and I became a self taught dressmaker and very genuine punk sweetheart, which for me, rather than anything else means being true to myself. Oh, and after leaving terrible small town high school, where I was claimed stupid and deemed a failure it was discovered that I was a language genius.

Let’s fast forward to age 18. Figure skating did me very good, I had some kick ass muscles even 5 years after I quit.

One month after my birthday I started working in a strip joint, not a sport, but I had a hell of a muscle ache after the first day, so I gotta say those stilletos do the trick. Meanwhile I figured out I wanted to stretch. That has a funny story. While figure skating I was not stretched much as I was not amongst the lucky and talented ones, I guess the coach just considered us the filling behind and top couple, so nothing really happened that you personally did not push yourself into. I started from the point from I could only wave hello to my toes from the distance. Why did I start? I met my future (now past) husband, one morning he decided to stretch. I was outraged, I could not handle that a man was to be more flexible than I was! Even if it was nothing unexpected, regarding my inflexibility. So I started to stretch, just by myself, no methods, no classes. Me on the rug just for myself and my pride.

Age 20. Spain, another strip joint. Strippers, well no!!! And no!!! Pole dancing showgirls. Moves I could not even comprehend. I felt like a little girl in a funfair, actually I still do watching fellow performers. I’ve been training for 6 years now, but I still stop and stare mesmerized when others do their entire choreography rehearsals in any of the circus training spaces. I was surely warned to not talk to that “Romanian whore” that had a fame of beating up Hungarian girls, well, I went straight over to her and asked, and contrary to the beliefs of the other girlies, she did not beat me up or anything, she was sweet, helpful and showed me how to do my first move on the pole. From there it was all looking out for videos trying to learn the moves by ourselves. (This was a time when climbing the pole upside down was to be considered almost impossible) That same summer I ended up working in Ibiza in the legendary Blue Rose… (another story)

Somehow over the years I started to nurse an idea of going to a circus school, I have no explanation, again… I had no idea of it all. I have hardly ever been in a circus, my mom was so terrified of it, she hardly took us.

I mean, if I knew how hard it was to be, if I think about how hard it really is, I still have no explanation how I get up in the morning and go and do it, but it makes me very, but very happy.

I believe I somehow knew it would help me to improve my pole work, at this point I already knew I wanted to be one of the best, that surely never happened and won’t, but I am pretty content, because I have pushed my limits a lot further than I ever would have thought.

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On the way of circus training – part 2 – outlook on my mistakes

After a very intense first year of training and desastrous detour of a marriage that lasted almost 3 years, travelling around Europe, facing my enourmous fear of height, work, life, day to day survival as a full time artist I decided to return to training as I was doing during the first year.
I never stopped training, don’t get me wrong, but I was rather scattered with it.
In 2009 I did for sure 7 months straight in a little private school, where I kept returning until we moved back to Budapest in may 2010 and there it got all messed up.

Schools or acro gyms are good, they give you discipline and also the right track to achieve your goals, yet they are pretty costy, I spent about 300-400 euros a month on classes during my best months. So very obviously if you are not well off this is not an option. Private lessons are also quite expensive and the people worth learning from are not quite advertising it.

After this I pretty much made lots of mistakes on the way until I found my way.

1. Training too comfortably

Yes, after a good beginning I fell for this mistake. Not moving out of my comfort zone of training. Doing the amount of abs that was comfy, neglecting chin-ups or push-ups as I disliked them, etc.

So, are you sweating? Cuz if not you are not doing anything. What is more you better reach the point where you end up without breath, to not put shitting yourself.
No muscle ache? Also wrong, you should have, a lot at least at the beginning.
Same for stretching,  cuz, no I was not born this way, I am not genetically stretchy, not double jointed, I worked my ass off, just as anyone else with an impressive oversplit.

2. Training vs. Rehearsal

The second mistake, I made this one, when I started silks in 2010, well, we know silks are already hard, any ways, so I never thought it can be not enough. I started only rehearsing and slowly, but surely I was getting weaker.

3. Not asking for help

If you don’t know how, ask, the worst that can happen is that you get an answer. Even more, a personal trainer or an older professional can help a lot. I was pretty shy on this front.

4. Neglecting one skill for the other

Even if you are preparing for a particular show, just take a little time to at least pass through coreographies of your other disciplines.

5. Not taping myself

This. This is the most important. I heard that some of the very best aerial artists tape every single training. And, when after a year of diligent silk training I saw the result I wanted to cry. Over the year I took up a series of just horrid habits and moves, like kicking the silk around in the air. I wished I had taped myself before, because I could gave avoided all.

6. Rehearse in show height

Well, I guess this only applies to me, but especially on hoop, I’m afraid up high. I will write more about this later.

On the way of circus training – part 1

I have started training aerial in 2009, January.

Beforehand I was a self taught pole dancer from 2006. This was due to the fact that there were no pole dancing schools in the cities where I was residing at the time (Barcelona and Budapest) and if there were any so called striptease schools I was above the level they taught.

There was a huge change in my life in 2008. It was in September, I was firm about starting the training to fulfil my dream of training aerial arts, when I fell on my head from a pole. I was in a stripjoint, visiting a friend and since I was there I decided to drop in some days. The pole was horrid, nothing made for pole work, obviously, strip joints are no place for proper pole dancing. I was drunk. And I was showing off my new trick, an aysha and after like 5th time my hand twisted out of myself and I fell on my forehead, I wasn’t even able to put my hand down first.

3 months of recovery time, collar and pain. No training. I could only start in January still not fully healed, but well enough. At this point I quit drinking alcohol for the next 3 years (now, I have an ocasional drink). I quit smoking pot and started to train.

I had some attempts to go start my training in December, while I was still in Budapest. I went to my “beloved” MACIVA. If for that place I would have never become any type of a circus artist. Funnily 4 years later I officially am permitted to train there.
So I wanted to do aerial hoop. No. You need to do basic training and maybe, but only maybe in 2 years you might be allowed to touch a hoop. I was fine with this, so I started. Juggling, tumbling, basic training. Tumbling, well, no. I, up to this very day, am unable to. Being at a place where the trainer laughs at you rather than help you didn’t help at all.

When I lost all hopes and was about to get back to Barcelona I got a call from a school I wanted to go to before saying that they are starting their aerial hoop course and there were still space. So I took this opportunity to give myself another chance and decide after I really tried hoop and not only acrobatics.

My first trainer got my heart by simply never saying how lack of a talent I was. He never judges students before having them trained for 3 months. And he and his wife liked me as I was working very hard. 3 months later it turned out I was not that bad after all.

During the first week the muscle ache was unbearable, from Monday to Friday I had serious thoughts of seeing a doctor, because of the amount of pain. Then I pushed myself over the second training and the third, starting with 2 times a week, then 3, one being pair acrobatics and in about 6 months to 5 days a week.