5 Pocket Jean - 30 / Indigo
$ 404.6 $ 304.6
5 Pocket Jean - 30 / Indigo
$ 404.6 $ 304.6
5 Pocket Jean - 30 / Indigo
$ 404.6 $ 304.6
5 Pocket Jean - 30 / Indigo
$ 404.6 $ 304.6
5 Pocket Jean - 30 / Indigo
$ 404.6 $ 304.6
5 Pocket Jean - 30 / Indigo
$ 404.6 $ 304.6
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{"#stickybar-display":"flex","#stickybar-action":"goto_checkout","#stickybar-font-family":"News_Cycle","#stickybar-background-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-height":"70px","#stickybar-position":"position_top","#stickybar-offset":"0px","#stickybar-display-type":"alwayshow","#stickybar-title-font-size":"16px","#stickybar-title-color":"rgb(0, 0, 0)","#stickybar-title-font-weight":"500","#stickybar-title-font-style":"normal","#stickybar-title-text-decoration":"none solid rgb(0, 0, 0)","#stickybar-buynow-text":"BUY NOW","#stickybar-buynow-width":"130px","#stickybar-buynow-height":"35px","#stickybar-buynow-font-size":"11px","#stickybar-buynow-effect-hover":"slide","#stickybar-buynow-font-weight":"700","#stickybar-buynow-font-style":"normal","#stickybar-buynow-text-decoration":"none solid rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-color-hover":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-background-color":"rgb(242, 108, 79)","#stickybar-buynow-background-color-hover":"rgb(242, 108, 79)","#stickybar-buynow-border-width":"0px","#stickybar-buynow-border-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-border-color-hover":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-border-radius":"2px"}
{"#stickybar-action":"goto_checkout","#stickybar-display":"flex","#stickybar-font-family":"News_Cycle","#stickybar-background-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-height":"70px","#stickybar-position":"position_top","#stickybar-offset":"0px","#stickybar-display-type":"alwayshow","#stickybar-title-font-size":"16px","#stickybar-title-color":"rgb(0, 0, 0)","#stickybar-title-font-weight":"500","#stickybar-title-font-style":"normal","#stickybar-title-text-decoration":"none solid rgb(0, 0, 0)","#stickybar-buynow-text":"BUY NOW","#stickybar-buynow-width":"230px","#stickybar-buynow-height":"70px","#stickybar-buynow-font-size":"11px","#stickybar-buynow-effect-hover":"slide","#stickybar-buynow-font-weight":"700","#stickybar-buynow-font-style":"normal","#stickybar-buynow-text-decoration":"none solid rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-color-hover":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-background-color":"rgb(17, 17, 17)","#stickybar-buynow-background-color-hover":"rgb(17, 17, 17)","#stickybar-buynow-border-width":"0px","#stickybar-buynow-border-color":"rgb(0, 0, 0)","#stickybar-buynow-border-color-hover":"rgb(0, 0, 0)","#stickybar-buynow-border-radius":"0px"}
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{"#stickybar-display":"flex","#stickybar-action":"goto_checkout","#stickybar-font-family":"News_Cycle","#stickybar-background-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-height":"70px","#stickybar-position":"position_top","#stickybar-offset":"0px","#stickybar-display-type":"alwayshow","#stickybar-title-font-size":"16px","#stickybar-title-color":"rgb(0, 0, 0)","#stickybar-title-font-weight":"500","#stickybar-title-font-style":"normal","#stickybar-title-text-decoration":"none solid rgb(0, 0, 0)","#stickybar-buynow-text":"BUY NOW","#stickybar-buynow-width":"145px","#stickybar-buynow-height":"70px","#stickybar-buynow-font-size":"11px","#stickybar-buynow-effect-hover":"none","#stickybar-buynow-font-weight":"700","#stickybar-buynow-font-style":"normal","#stickybar-buynow-text-decoration":"none solid rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-color-hover":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-background-color":"rgb(247, 148, 13)","#stickybar-buynow-background-color-hover":"rgb(247, 148, 13)","#stickybar-buynow-border-width":"0px","#stickybar-buynow-border-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-border-color-hover":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-border-radius":"0px"}
{ "#stickybar-display":"flex","#stickybar-action":"goto_checkout", "#stickybar-font-family":"News_Cycle", "#stickybar-background-color":"#bdd", "#stickybar-height":"60px", "#stickybar-position":"position_top", "#stickybar-offset":"0px", "#stickybar-display-type":"alwayshow", "#stickybar-title-font-size":"16px", "#stickybar-title-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)", "#stickybar-title-font-weight":"500", "#stickybar-title-font-style":"normal", "#stickybar-title-text-decoration":"none solid rgb(255, 255, 255)", "#stickybar-buynow-text":"Buy 1", "#stickybar-buynow-width":"180px", "#stickybar-buynow-height":"42px", "#stickybar-buynow-font-size":"14px", "#stickybar-buynow-font-weight":"700", "#stickybar-buynow-font-style":"normal", "#stickybar-buynow-text-decoration":"none solid rgb(255, 255, 255)", "#stickybar-buynow-text-align":"center", "#stickybar-buynow-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)", "#stickybar-buynow-color-hover":"#89bdd3", "#stickybar-buynow-background-color":"#89bdd3", "#stickybar-buynow-background-color-hover":"rgb(255, 255, 255)", "#stickybar-buynow-border-width":"0.989583px", "#stickybar-buynow-border-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)", "#stickybar-buynow-border-color-hover":"rgb(255, 255, 255)", "#stickybar-buynow-border-radius":"0px" }
{"#stickybar-display":"flex","#stickybar-action":"goto_checkout","#stickybar-font-family":"News_Cycle","#stickybar-background-color":"rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.9)","#stickybar-height":"89px","#stickybar-position":"position_top","#stickybar-offset":"0px","#stickybar-display-type":"alwayshow","#stickybar-title-font-size":"14px","#stickybar-title-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-title-font-weight":"400","#stickybar-title-font-style":"normal","#stickybar-title-text-decoration":"none solid rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-text":"ADD TO CART","#stickybar-buynow-width":"130px","#stickybar-buynow-height":"40px","#stickybar-buynow-font-size":"14px","#stickybar-buynow-effect-hover":"none","#stickybar-buynow-font-weight":"700","#stickybar-buynow-font-style":"normal","#stickybar-buynow-text-decoration":"none solid rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-text-align":"center","#stickybar-buynow-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-color-hover":"rgb(0, 0, 0)","#stickybar-buynow-background-color":"rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.9)","#stickybar-buynow-background-color-hover":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-border-width":"1px","#stickybar-buynow-border-color":"rgb(255, 255, 255)","#stickybar-buynow-border-color-hover":"rgb(0, 0, 0)","#stickybar-buynow-border-radius":"0px"}
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    3 Things I Learnt From Cirque Du Soleil

    Last June we started creation on a brand new show for Cirque du Soleil. We’ve visited over 50 cities, done three hundred and something shows, created complicated tax liability in over 20 different states and we’ve met and worked with some truly wonderful people.

    I was also chosen to be Artist Coach for the twenty-something cast of acrobats, which is a role CDS has that sits underneath, and works with the shows head-coach. This mean I was responsible for helping to organize and plan the various trainings for the shows, figure out which cast member needed to go into which spot should the situation arise where we needed to cover another artist and generally help keep the show running smoothly.

    It was a stressful and challenging year to say the least. But, it was an extremely educating, inspiring and humbling year as well.

    Today, I’d like to share some of my biggest lessons, and how I think those lessons can be applied to you, your training, and your practice.

    Survival Of The Caffeinated  

    The human body is this incredible thing, and everything we do with it, especially acrobatics, is only possible because of it’s amazing ability to adapt to an external stimulus. When your body is exposed to something, it says

    ‘ohh boi. We’d better be ready for that next time’

    and makes a little progressive march forward towards adaptation. I would describe the external stimulus of a CDS creation and show schedule as: ‘boi. You want me to do what?’.

    But, in the greatest way ever. You’re so tired because you get to spend all day throwing ideas, tricks and suggestions around in the pursuit of creating something amazing.

    Our days across the three-month creation ranged from eight hours towards the beginning, to twelve hours towards the end. Doing acrobatics for eight hours a day is always going to be tiring, but being a part of a creation and creating new work general is tiring in a completely different way!

    So, I was tired all the time. It’s not surprising, the demand I was putting on my body was significantly higher than what it was used to. It needed to adapt.

    Adaptation is only possible if you give yourself enough rest.

    All training is just a game of finding balance between stimulus and rest.  Too much stimulus and not enough rest? You’ll become over-trained. Too much rest and not enough stimulus? You’ll make no beneficial adaptation and your progress will stall.

    Enough stimulus and enough rest? That’s the sweet spot. That’s what will keep you marching ever forward towards your goal. It’s what kept me from falling asleep on the ice in the middle of rehearsal, that’s for sure! That and four cups of coffee a day.

    You need to prioritize rest and recovery as part of your training schedule. This means (among other things); sleep, nutrition, and deliberate active recovery.

    I would make sure I got at least nine hours of sleep a night. I’d figure out when had to wake up, and subtract nine and boom. My bedtime. Out of everything I did, this made the biggest, most noticeable difference to my energy, focus and overall level of ‘ouchie’ the next day.

    To ensure I had adequate nutrition, I would meal prep over our days offto make sure when I got in exhausted from a ten hour long rehearsal day I had something to eat. Being able to collapse back into my room at the Cirque Residences and just throw a meal in the microwave was a blessing.  

    Rather than just laying around in bed all day on our days off, one thing I started doing was taking ice baths. I think the science is still out on this, or a little iffy still, but anecdotally: ice baths are amazing. If you’re sore, or your body is feeling beat up, grab a big old bag of ice or two, run a cold bath, dump the ice in the bath and make you a you-cocktail.

    Being active in my recovery also meant being diligent with my stretching and prehab / rehab routines. I know my body and if I neglect certain stretches or neglect working out, it only makes things worse. So we would finish an 8 hour day of rehearsal, pop over to the CDS HQ and workout or stretch before it closed. I didn’t want to do this, I’d much rather go collapse into bed. But doing this was important in ensuring I felt good, and was able to do my job, the next day.

    If you want to take your training seriously, take recovery seriously. There’s only so much you can do before you’re gonna burn out, and by maximizing your recovery, you’re maximizing your potential in training. 

    Russian Children

    There’s a joke in the circus that; ‘no matter how hard you work or how good you are, there’s always a 12 year old Russian girl somewhere who’s working harder, and doing it better.’

    I pride myself on having a good work ethic, and I like to think I’m a hard worker. Until I met Jack. Jack is an unstoppable juggernaut of physical activity and work ethic. Jack was my 12 year old Russian girl.

    He ran a 5k every day for a month during creation. He would work out multiple times a day during show days. He would come in hours before we were due to start work to train, and would stay hours after. He was always the first to push for new tricks. He was always the first to offer a hand. He was a standup guy.

    For a while it made me feel bad. Feel like I wasn’t working as hard as I should do or could do. I tried to push myself to keep up with Jack. I failed. I just wasn’t able to. Which made me feel worse. I then resigned myself to thinking that maybe I wasn’t such a hard worker after all.

    Eventually I realized that everyone’s upper limit is different. No one expects a donkey to outperform a thoroughbred. And comparatively, I was a donkey.

    Here’s the thing; you can’t compare yourself to others. That doesn’t do anything. It’s all too easy to hop on Instagram and look at all the cool stuff everyone else can do. But it doesn’t matter what they’re doing or able to do, what matters is what you’re doing and what you’re able to do.

    What you can, and should, do is look to others for inspiration. So that’s what I did.

    If I was in a workout and I was meant to be ‘going to failure’ (doing as many reps as possible until you physically can’t), as it started to burn and get hellish the little voice in my head would say

    ‘Ok. That’s enough. Put the weight down’

    And then another little voice would chime in

    What would Jack do? He wouldn’t put them down’

    And I’d crank out a few more reps, then collapse in a heap. Jack became my weightlifting Jesus.

    Don’t look for comparison, look for inspiration. You are not them. You are you. They are them. Ask them for help, use them for motivation, but don’t compare yourself to them.

    ‘Failure to Plan, is Planning to Fail’ – Benjie Franks

    That’s right. I’m dropping quotes on you now.

    Part of my role as artist coach was to integrate new artists into the show. This meant it was up to me to figure out what skills they needed to learn, what ‘track’ they needed to do and when we were going to teach them all of this. A track is a catch-all term for what someone does in the show, or in a specific act. We had a fairly constant need to have artists learn new tricks, or new ‘tracks’. Which meant a lot of work for me!

    This isn’t anything that’s out of the ordinary for shows, it’s happened in every show I’ve ever been a part of and is very much just part of the game. But Crystal was by far the most complicated show I’ve worked on, and the problems we faced on a daily basis were by no means simple.

    In the beginning this was a little overwhelming! The complexity of the show meant it was almost like a house-of-cards. One small change over there, meant big changes somewhere else. I found myself having to be very reactionary; I had no plan, I was just reacting to problems as they came up.

    I realized I needed to make a change. I needed to be one step ahead of the problems. At the start of the week I would sit down look at the schedule, figure out what exactly we had to accomplish as a matter of necessity, and what would be nice to get done if we had time but that wasn’t crucial and then I would plan exactly what we had to do in each training session.  

    This was a game changer. I was now one step ahead of the problems. Suddenly everything was less stressful for me, and all the acrobats were able to have a much clearer idea of what we were doing than before, and as a result of that we were able to work much more effectively and efficiently.  

    So, my advice for your training is: make a plan. Know ahead of time what you absolutely have to accomplish in a session, like rehearsing a number for an upcoming show, and know what would be nice to get done in that session, like a trick you’ve wanted to work on for a while, and then commit that to a plan.  

    This sounds a little formulaic, but in practice it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be written down like my training plans for Crystal, it can just be a quick five to ten minute conversation between you and your partner before you start training. It’ll help you make the most of the time you have, and help you to prioritize what needs to be done.

    Coming To A Close 

    We chose not to renew our contract for another year, so our time at Crystal is nearly up. It’s been a hell of a ride, I’ve learnt and experienced so much and it’s given me a new found appreciation for a company that created some of my favorite shows.

    We’re going back into the wide world of freelance artists, a world where a whole other set of lessons, stories and experiences await us. If any of them are even half as interesting as 18 months with CDS, I’ll be sure to let you know about them.

    What It Really Means To Be A Base - Part 2

     Welcome back! If you haven't already I suggest you read What It Means To Be A Base - Part 1 before you start reading Part 2.

    I think that 'Being a good person' for your partner, while a fairly broad responsibility, comes down to two things:  

    Treating them with respect
    Understanding you're there to support your partner


    It was important for Aretha, and it’s important for us. This should, ideally, come fairly naturally. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many occasions where it hasn’t. Being respectful and supportive involves:

    Tone of voice / Keeping your frustrations or emotions in check

    Partner Acrobatics can be frustrating as hell. You’ll get mad at yourself, your partner, the world, and your technique all in a span of 5 seconds. It’s important to not take those frustrations out on your flyer, even if what you’re frustrated with is her. You can express your frustration, but take the time to do it calmly and clearly.

    This means keeping your tone of voice in check. It’s so easy for ‘Can you open your hips in your handstand?’ to go from respectful to disrespectful just because of your inflection.

    Choice of words

    We covered this recently in our communication blog, but it bears repeating: your choice of words is important. Be careful with the language you use. Aim to focus on solutions, and ‘we’ based language.

    An example of what not to do: back in circus school when I was naive and hot-headed, I was frustrated with Isis and chose to express my frustrations with the phrase

    ‘You’re being a fucking cunt’

    This is a prime example of two things: being a dick and an extremely poor choice of words that I’m now incredibly regretful of. Choose better words than 19-year-old-me. He was a dick.

    Taking the time to listen and understand

    It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of training, and to want to just keep on going, but if your flyer is trying to tell you something make sure you take the time to really listen, and to really understand what they’re asking or saying.

    I’m the worst at this. Isis will say a sentence and I’ll be like ‘Yup. Got it. Let’s go.’ And then she’ll stop me and say another sentence and I’ll think ‘Yup. Got it. You already said that.’ And then she’ll say another sentence and I’ll think ‘Wait. What? I don’t get it.’ And then at that point I’ll start listening and trying to understand properly, and only then will I get what she was trying to say. Save time, and just listen from the very beginning.

    Once you’ve understood, enact. I’ve seen it a lot, and done it myself, where bases will brush off flyer suggestions for whatever reason. I’ve even seen it where another base will make the exact same suggestion, and suddenly it’s worth trying. Even if you think it’s not gonna work, as long as trying it isn’t going to cause anything dangerous to happen, what’s the harm? Ignoring flyer ideas just because they’re a flyer? Dick move. 

    Taking the time to communicate and be understood

    On the flipside of that, is taking the time to ensure your communication is clear, and clearly understood. Brian Konash of the NYC crew clearly, and with surgical precision, states before every attempt of a trick, what trick they’re doing, how they’re getting into it, what order they’re doing it in, how they’re coming down and then he checks ‘ready’ with the spotter or person pulling lines if there is one. Every time.

    You perhaps don’t have to be as clinical as Brian is with his communication, but you have to respect the intention to be so committed to ensuring a shared understanding of what’s about to happen for everyone involved. 

    This behavior applies to sticking to your word as well. If everyone involved thinks X is happening, and then halfway through you decide to do X+Y without telling anyone, then that’s a dick move, friend. Surprising flyers in the middle of a trick is a quick way to cause an accident, and a quicker way to erode whatever trust you’ve built. Also, it’s a total dick move.

    Acknowledging and being mindful that you’re a partnership

    I think when we start throwing blame at each other as individuals it’s very easy to lose the respect in those moments. It’s very easy for training to become one person telling the other one what to do and how to do it. Always remember you’re a team, and the responsibility for success and failure lies with the team, not necessarily an individual. 

    As well as that, remain mindful that your errors or mistakes can create problems for the flyer. It’s easy to see those errors and say ‘you need to fix that’ without thinking or realizing that you’re the one actually causing the error you’re seeing. Classic example is a wonky or misaligned handstand in hand to hand, 90% of the time the wonkiness comes from the base but the flyer will get blamed.

    Ask the flyer to make a correction without first thinking or checking if you could make an improvement or correction? You guessed it, dick move.

    Because bases are able to ‘see’ what’s happening while flyer’s can for the most part only ‘feel’ what’s happening; I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the ‘information’ you, as a base, receive about a trick is more valuable than a flyers. I should know, I’ve done it enough.

    It’s not uncommon to have a situation where the flyer says ‘I feel like I’m piked’, and as a base you can clearly see that they’re not. This doesn’t mean you should dismiss what they’re feeling, even though it’s clearly, visibly not happening.

    While what they may be feeling isn’t happening exactly as they feel it, they’re still feeling something out of the ordinary that’s hampering their ability to perform the trick correctly. It’s worth exploring what that is rather than dismissing it outright because what they feel doesn’t line up to your observable reality.

    Respecting your partner’s ability

    This is one I see crop up a lot, and this has the potential to go both ways, so flyers…listen up.

    Say you and your partner are working on a trick, and you’re having trouble with it. It’s not working. But you based Kelly-short-legs for this trick last week and the two of you nailed it 1000 times and got a sweet post for the gram. But now, Emily-longer-legs-than-Kelly and you are working on it, and it’s not working. It’s Emily’s fault right? Because you can clearly do it because you did it with Kelly last week.

    Wrong motherfucker.

    It doesn’t matter what you did with someone else last week, it matters what you and your partner can do today.

    There are infinite reasons why Kelly could do it but Emily can’t. Maybe it’s her namesake short legs. Maybe it’s that she did gymnastics for 12 years, and Emily didn’t. It could be one of so many reasons. 

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking you were the deciding factor in the success of last week’s attempts. There is no quicker way to be disrespectful to your partner’s ability, or your partner herself by claiming yourself ‘not the problem’ because you did it before. Classic dick move. Maybe even the classic dick move.

    Support, Not Force

    Our Director and Acrobatic Coach for Cirque du Soleil sat all the porters down towards the end of the show’s creation and spoke to us about our role as porters for the pendular poles act. This act has elements where the risk is extremely high, and the consequences severe. One of the things he said to us was:

    ‘You’re there to support, not to push. If the flyers are scared about jumping a new trick, it’s not your job to say “Go on. Do it. Don’t be a pussy.”
    It’s your job to say “We’ve got you if you do it. We’ll be there to catch you.”’


    That really stuck with me, and it’s something I’ve always known but instantly became more tangible that night.

    Your role is not to make or force the flyer to do a trick. It’s to support the flyer enough so they feel comfortable and confident to do the trick. There is an incredibly fine line between where ‘supporting’ ends and ‘pushing’ starts. It’s up to you to judge that line for your partnership, and for the person you’re working with.

    Sometimes, no amount of support is going to make the flyer comfortable or feel ready, and ultimately, the flyer is the one in control. Always.

    The flyer always has the ability to say ‘No’, and that ‘no’ is sacrosanct. If you think there’s an element you can change that might help them say yes, like

    “What if we got another spot?” or“What if we added more crash mats?” or“What if we did it in a longe / safety lines?”

    then by all means, offer it to them. But if they say no, you’ve got to respect that, move on, and come back to it in the future.

    Learn from my mistakes

    As I was writing this, I realized most of the advice I give out comes from a mistake I made and learnt from. In the past 13 years, and 10 with Isis, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve done things badly, I’ve been a bad base, and a bad partner. This article, and others like it, are essentially what I’ve learnt from screwing up. If you follow even some of this advice, you’ll save yourself from making the same mistakes I did.

    I included ‘Is there anything I’m going to trip on?’ specifically because in 2010 I left a kettlebell I’d been using to warm up on the floor near where we were training, and we bailed a trick, came down, Isis hit her foot on the kettlebell and broke her foot and was out for six weeks.

    I included the section about watching your tone specifically because I get so passionate about hand to hand, it can quickly move from passionate to heated. That change in tone has hampered our training on numerous occasions and caused problems, and I’d like to spare you those problems.

    There are many other instances where I have, admittedly, done the exact opposite of my advice and ‘been a dick’ but I've learnt from, and try not to repeat those mistakes.

    So thank you for reading, for skipping the mistake-making middle-man, and just going straight to the learning and improving yourself part.


    What It Really Means To Be A Base - Part 1


    Today is the first part of a two part blog where we’re going to take a look at what I think are the unique responsibilities of being a base, and what it means to be a base in a partnership.

    This is going to be centered around traditional ‘Mixed Pair’ partnerships, partnerships where the base is a guy and the flyer is a girl. There will, I’m sure, be moments of epiphany for anyone who works as a men’s pair, or a women’s pair, or as a mixed pairs where there is a female base, and male flyer. It’s written with Mixed Pair (male base, female flyer) partnerships in mind as they’re the most common and where I have the most experience.

    Bases, consider this a manual on what I think underpins what it means to not only be a base, but to be a great base.

    Flyers, consider this is a gauge in your toolbox to help you ascertain if you should work with someone new. 

    Sit down somewhere comfy and settle in. This is an extensive article about what I think it means to be a base. Get hype.

    The Floor Is Lava

    As a base, your job essentially boils down to ‘keep yourself between the flyer and the floor’. You as a base have a responsibility to keep the flyer off the floor.  At its most fundamental level, you’re a piece of furniture in a convoluted and acrobatic game of ‘the floor is lava’. If you picture (nearly) any acrobatic trick you’ll see that they’re all a layer cake that goes Floor – Base – Flyer.

    I want you to extend this delicious-cakey-concept to when tricks go wrong, if a trick falls down you need to put yourself in-between the flyer and the floor.  I’ve seen some people refer to or talk about this as ‘base spotting’, where I think it should just be called ‘basing’.

    This idea, to catch or break the fall of a falling flyer, I don’t think should be given its own umbrella. It’s not an accessory skill.  It’s as fundamental as it gets. It’s as ‘put-yourself-between-the-flyer-and-the-floor’ as it gets.

    Flyers are special, and flyers are sacred. Look at them how the Egyptians looked at cats. Flyers are ultimately the ones who are taking the risk when they choose to work with you or with anyone, they are the ones in danger and you need to respect that, and never lose sight of that.  

    You need to own that responsibility.

    That is not something to be taken lightly, another person has entrusted you with their safety and, essentially, their lives.. You need to cultivate, create, and maintain a mentality whereby keeping the flyer safe is your number one priority and instinct. Spiderman has ‘Spidey-sense’? You have ‘Basey-sense’.

    For me, this means constantly being aware of things like:

    • Do we have enough space?
    • Is there anything I’m going to trip on?
    • Should we use mats?
    • Do we need a spot?
    • Do I trust the spotter?
    • Have we prepped this well enough?

    There is of course more you could add to that list, but it’s a good baseline. No pun intended.

    As for honing your basing instinct, it will come. But it will only come if you have it as a priority in your head, if you keep it ‘I won’t let the flyer touch the ground’ as a mantra before every trick. It will come. It’s one of the reasons why I think it’s so important to work on and solidify the fundamental skills first, as that’s where you’ll hone this instinct. If you jump miles ahead of what you realistically should be working on, your basing instincts won’t match the level of what you’re doing. 

    I don’t think it’s possible to ‘train’ this necessarily, because every fall and every situation is so unique and typically so chaotic that it’s hard to replicate the environment or demands. We did try, and we created this exercise to help bases hone their reflexes and their ability to keep the flyer off the floor. I know other coaches have developed other exercises to try and train this as well.

    I’m not fully confident of its effectiveness, because I don’t think a couple of exercises is going to make up for time spent working at a level appropriate for you or your partnership. I’m not saying to not do it, or I think it’s a waste of time but I do believe that You cannot fast track instinct.  

    To Dick? Or Not To Dick?

    Acrobatic partnerships are basically relationships with added danger.  As in any relationship, romantic or otherwise, you have a responsibility to be a good person to your partner as well as a responsibility to not be a dick.

    ‘Not being a dick’ is the slightly simpler of the two, and I’d hope you know how not to be a dick from your time spent as a functioning member of society. So, I won’t cover that in great depth. Just, don’t be a dick. 

    To complicate matters, sometimes the problem with dicks, is that they don’t realize they’re being dicks because they’re dicks 24/7 and so ‘dick’ is just their ‘normal’.

    Sometimes nice people, who are nice 99% of the time, don’t realize they’re being dicks that 1% of time either.

    With either version of dick, you’re completely within your rights to say ‘Please can you stop being a dick’ to someone who is suffering from ‘dick-blindness’.

    As far as ‘Being a good person’ goes, that is a pretty broad responsibility, but for me it comes down to two things:

    Treating them with respect
    Understanding you're there to support your partner


    Click here for Part 2


    So You Want To Be A Performer?

    I think that’s amazing. I 100% support you in that decision, and I’d like to do whatever I can to help you.

    If you’re able to go to a vocational circus school, do that. That’s hands-down the best way to acquire the relevant and necessary skills you’ll need. But I appreciate that you might not want to do that or you might not be able to do that. So if you’re unable to dedicate your entire life to running away and joining the circus, I have some advice for you. It’s not perfect advice, and I’m unable to encompass all the facets and angles of becoming a performer and what that requires, but I’ll do my best.  

     If you’re someone who’s been doing acro or circus for a while and wants to take their first steps on stage, or someone who has been doing it for a while and wants to improve as a performer, then this article is for you. This advice is just as useful for the person who wants to start performing for fun as it is for the person who wants to increase their skills or the person who maybe wants to take a shot at becoming a full time performer.

    This is a longer read than the other things I’ve written, so buckle in.

    It’s Simple Supply & Demand, Except it’s Not That Simple

     There are a lot of steps you’ll have to take before you get to a point where someone is asking you to perform for them, so chronologically this advice is completely in the wrong place, but it’s important and I think it deserves to be first. It would be remiss of me not to include this:


    If someone is asking you to perform for them, someone is asking you to provide a service for them – a highly skilled, specific, niche service. If that someone doesn’t want to pay you for your service, then really take time to decide whether or not you should do it.

    There are times when it’s fine to work for free: for a friend or for a charity you strongly believe in and want to support, among other reasons. But if someone is profiting from your work and you’re not seeing anything for it? Fuck that. You are being exploited.

    If an event has a cover charge for guests but the event organizer ‘has no money’ to pay performers and you are being asked to work for free because ‘it will be great exposure’, fuck that. You are being exploited. Someone is profiting off your free labor. If they are asking you to perform, it’s because they think you will add value to whatever their event is. Don’t add value to someone else’s event for nothing in return.

    If they say they don’t have a budget to pay the performers, then direct them to a better accountant and tell them to sort their budget out. They somehow managed to find a budget for bar staff, venue hire, maybe food, a DJ, lights, a bouncer, but not the performers? You are being exploited.

    There are only so many performing jobs in the world at any one time, and there are most likely more performers than jobs. This means that there is going to be competition for those jobs. Whenever there is more supply (performers) than demand (performance jobs) you’re likely to create a race to the bottom for prices.

    Because whoever is contacting you is probably shopping around to find the person who’ll do it for the lowest fee, or even for free. Don’t be that person. If you take one of those jobs for free, you are directly taking food from the mouth of another artist because.  Hyperbolic, but I stand by it. When supply is higher than demand, which it absolutely is, it’s so easy for prices to bottom out to the lowest bid. Don’t be a part of that. 

    Know your worth.

    What you do is impressive and you worked hard to be able to do what you do, and you deserve to be paid for that.

    It’s nearly impossible for me to give you an accurate ‘lowest acceptable fee’, because it’s going to be different for everyone depending on what city you’re in, discipline you do, gig you’re doing and a myriad of other factors. We have a minimum that we’ve decided for ourselves, but our minimum is absolutely not going to be relevant to you.

    Our quote can vary by thousands of dollars depending on what we’re being asked to do, who we’re being asked to do it for and where we’re being asked to do it. It’s something you’ll have to arrive at yourself, and you’ll need to use your best judgement as to whether it’s fair or not.

     If in doubt, reach out to performers in your city or the city you’re being asked to go to and check in with them what an acceptable minimum is. We’ve told our minimum fee to all our friends who perform Hand to Hand in London because if we all have the same minimum, no one gets undercut and no one gets ripped off.

    Entrance: Stage Left

    With that out of the way, here’s some contradictory advice: do whatever you can to get on stage. Performing on stage is a skill just like anything else, and you’re going to need exposure to it in order to get better at it. At first, you’ve just got to get on stage and get good at being on stage.

    My advice would be to try to create or find opportunities to practice being on stage and performing in front of an audience.

    My immediate, low-effort, high-reward suggestion would be to look in your community for other people who are interested in performing and see if there’s enough of you to organize a ‘scratch night’.

    A scratch night is an informal show where people can perform new material in front of an audience to gather feedback or performance experience. It’s a hugely helpful tool in any artist’s arsenal and is very easy to set up.

    If there’s only a couple of you interested, you could come to a communal consensus that once a month you’ll use the last 20 minutes of your community’s jam to let people show something they’ve been working on. The people at the jam will be your audience. Simple.

    Maybe that grows over time and you get more people performing, and 20 minutes is no longer enough, and you add a little 45-minute show onto the end of the jam. Before you know it: boom, a monthly performance opportunity for you and everyone else who’s interested.

    Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that ‘a stage’ is something specific. You don’t need lights, or a curtain or tiered seating. You don’t need anything fancy. You need a floor and an audience. You can create that anywhere.

    Other suggestions would be to look for ‘open mic’ nights in your area and see if they’d be open to you performing there. Check that the ceilings are high enough. You won’t get paid for these, but don’t go in there waving Trump’s ‘Art of the Deal’ in their faces and quoting me – these events are adding value to you, not the other way around. They’re giving you an opportunity to gain experience in front of an audience. You’re going into these events with the understanding that you’re performing for free, in exchange for experience and practice.

    This sounds remarkably similar to what I said not to do, but the difference is that you went to them looking for experience – you weren’t approached by someone asking you to take experience in lieu of payment.

    Stay Classy

    Go and take classes in dance/theatre/improv. Like I said earlier, being a performer is a skill all in itself and it’s one that requires cultivation. It’s not enough to just go on stage and throw some tricks and wait for the applause to roll in.

    Being a performer is about connecting with an audience and drawing them in, it’s not about who can do the most Icarian front tucks in a row. In the three years of circus school, we do dance, movement, clown, theatre and improv classes, and exercises to grow that skill set and become more than just a trick machine.

    Google ‘contact improv/modern dance/contemporary dance/ballet/improv/clown/theatre classes near me’ and get yo’ ass to some classes. It is going to be such a helpful tool for your development.

    It can be scary, and it can be hard. You’re maybe going wayoutside your comfort zone, but that’s kind of the point. You have to throw caution to the wind and leave your embarrassment at the door.

    Maybe take a shot or two before attending, just to lose some of those inhibitions. (Note: Don’t do that.)

    If you are a man who has never gone to a dance / movement class before, this will likely be the most embarrassing and difficult learning experience you will have as an adult. But it’s probably going to be one of the most important on your journey to becoming a performer.

    In 2016 Isis and I auditioned for Cirque du Soleil, and during the audition (to no one’s surprise) there were theatre and movement exercises. This audition was the first time I ever felt truly comfortable to let go and just go all in without (nearly) any embarrassment or feelings of holding back.

    Now, keep in mind I’d been doing these kind of exercises for 11 years at that point. It took me 11 years to get comfortable doing these kind of exercises. I attribute some of this to my repressed-English-middle-class-existence, but I think it’s not a unique experience.

    I think leaping into things like this is a bigger challenge for straight men than for women (potentially marking the first time being a heterosexual man has been a hindrance). So if you’re a lady (who might’ve already done some kind of dance as a kid) reading this and wanting to involve your straight, male acro partner in something like this, be kind.

    It might seem like a little, easy thing for you, but I guarantee for your partner who came to acro from the gym or from a competitive sport, it is going to be very far outside his comfort zone. But like I said, that’s kind of the point. Just be considerate, mindful, and supportive if your partner expresses hesitation. 


    Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork

     I’m making an assumption here that you, the reader, is doing Hand to Hand / Partner Acrobatics.

    I think you need a permanent partner to make this work. It’s going to be extremely hard to ‘pick up and perform’ on stage the same way you’re able to ‘pick up and play’ at a Jam for a myriad of reasons.

    There’s the logistical problems of scheduling rehearsals and performances, there’s the acrobatic and performance problems that come with working with brand new partners. You have to have someone who’s committed not only to you and your partnership, but to what you’re both trying to accomplish.

    You and your partner need to have a conversation about your goals, individual and as a partnership, and how you plan on and expect to achieve them. You need to make sure you’re on the same page, about what kind of acts or shows you want to do, whether you want to do this full time, as supplementary income, or just for fun, and how many times a week and for how long you’re willing to train to achieve your goals.

    Performing as a duo is as much a business partnership as it is a relationship; constant, open communication is a must. Especially when you’re first starting. You don’t want to throw all your eggs and dreams into the basket of someone who’s planning to move across the country in six months time. Just as you wouldn’t want to go all in with someone who’s only half in.

    Your dreams, goals and aspirations have to be similar and how you plan on getting there should be too.

    In the End, It’s Worth It

     Starting your journey to becoming a performer is going to be difficult and fraught with self-doubt and complications.

    You might think you’re too old (hint: you’re probably not), you might think you’re not good enough (hint: you probably are) and you might be embarrassed and afraid to put yourself out there and subject yourself to what can feel like judgement, but (hint:) it’s worth it.

    It’s worth it for you – for the feeling you’ll get when you finally put something in front of an audience that you’re proud of, something that is made up of months or years of your hard work and something that you’re passionate about above all else.


    3 Training Mistakes To Avoid!

    I’ve been trying to think of an introduction to this for 30 minutes and have decided instead to just refer you to the self-explanatory title. Look up at it. And then look down to read the rest. Good day.

    Can’t catch the trick? Catch your breath first. 

    Breathing is important. Without it we die. So why do we pay so little attention to it?

    I see this all the time, especially at workshops where there’s a certain ‘time crunch’ element to learning a skill, people attempt skills back to back, over and over again without giving themselves time to rest in-between.

    One of the key pillars of Crossfit, and what makes it so challenging, is you’re asked to perform complex movements under ‘metabolic demand’, which is a fancy way of saying ‘being out of breath’. You learn these complex & difficult movements (Snatch, Muscle Up, Clean & Jerk), and then to make them more challenging and more difficult, you couple them with exercises that raise your heart rate (Skipping, Running, Burpees).

    Movements are harder to do under higher metabolic demand. The harder you’re breathing, the harder a movement is to do. Breathing harder makes movement harder, and by virtue: harder to learn. See where I’m going with this?

    If you’re attempting to learn something new, and you’ve done 10 in a row, and you’re breathing heavy as you set up for the next one, you are hampering that attempt and your own learning. Take the time to catch your breath or try to at least bring it down a little.

    I’m not suggesting taking 5-minute breaks in between each attempt, but I’ve seen people look like they’ve just run a marathon setting up for their 16thinlocate in a row. Take a breather. Let your body recover, let your brain digest some of the new information. Whatever you’re working on will be better off for it.

    Math is sexy: Diminishing Returns

    More does not always equal better. It would be nice if every attempt of a trick, gave you 10 points of progress towards that trick or towards an improvement. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. You will hit a point of diminishing returns. Each attempt will contribute less and less progress than the ones before it.

    You know the feeling, you’ve been working on a trick for a while and at the start you were making clear, tangible improvements from one attempt to the next. Every time you attempted the trick, you felt it got a little bit better. Hurrah. But then, alas, disaster strikes, and you try the trick and it was worse than the one before. And then again, another attempt that feels like a step backward.

    You say, ‘ok we’re gonna try again and make it better’, but heavens! It’s not better. It’s worse again. You get frustrated and keep pushing through, attempt after attempt with no signs of the improvement you once had. You my friend, have reached the point of diminishing returns for that trick, and it might be time to stop and move on to something else.

    It’s so easy to fall victim to this, I’ve done it and I’ve watched countless others do it, and it’s the quickest way to get frustrated, angry or even hurt. Even Rocky knew when to throw in the towel. I think. I’ve never seen any of the Rocky movies. I just know that Dolph Lundgren punched him into next week one time. I think. This metaphor has gotten off track.

    Make the smart choice and say, ‘This is no longer getting better, our time would be better spent on something else’. Or, follow mine and Isis’ rule of:

    ‘We’ll do this trick until you’re sad’

    Just Do It

    (Probably my favorite GIF I've ever found)

    I’m gonna put my hand up on this one! I’m the absolute worst at this.

    I always want to dissect what we just did, outline what went wrong, and the corrections needed. This isn’t always helpful. Sometimes you have to just let the internal feedback mechanism of you and your partner run its course. Time you spend talking is time spent not training.

    This is something I’m incredibly mindful of in my coaching. When I work with someone and we start working on a trick, unless anything catastrophic happens, I’ll give them ‘three for free’.

    Three attempts of a trick before I say a single world. One attempt is not enough information, for me or for them. Was it a fluke? Did something weird happen that never normally happens? Three attempts are a decent minimum before we start talking about and dissecting a trick. You could probably stretch that to five and be fine. 

    Obviously, if there’s some huge misunderstanding, or clear lack of preparation I’m going to step in and you should too. But don’t be afraid to not say anything and just try again. Our internal feedback system is very strong and gets stronger with experience. You quickly learn to analyze and solve mistakes you made on your own. Just a quick ‘I’m gonna do X’ is all you need before you hop back up and try again.

    Take the time to let your partner know you’re doing this on purpose, so they don’t just think you’re stonewalling them. @danieacro puts a similar rule in place whenever she works with someone new. 

    < is >

    These aren’t easy things to do! A lot of them are asking you to do less, which I know is hard. Think of it as doing less to do more. By making these changes, even just one, you’re helping to make your training or practice that little bit more worthwhile.

    It feels counterintuitive to say, ‘Sometimes you’ll get better at a skill by doing it less’, but in my experience coaching others, and even in my own practice I’ve seen it work time and time again.

    So, remember:

    Less is more.

    Quality over quantity.

    Rocky over Ivan.