I recently read an article written by Ryan DeBell over at The Movement Fix about hip anatomy. Here’s a photo from his post: you can SEE why some people’s turn out just… won’t.
Friends, as circus folk we are in CONSTANT pursuit of the ability to split MORE.
Have your splits? Great, but are you hips PERFECTLY square??
Have your splits with perfectly square hips? Great, but can you get back foot to head while in the split?
Have foot to head? Great, but are you in an over split?
You’re in an over split on a block? Great, but can you turn the block on its side?
On its end?
Back foot on a block on its end?
Both feet on pillows on blocks?
Both feet on chairs?
Both feet on the BACKS of chairs?
Can you fit in a doorway?
Can you go into full needle WHILE licking your shin? With your back straight?
What about something like this?
No? Fuck. Train harder. Stretch more. Want it harder!!! Foam roll. Massage. Chiro. Contortion. Contortion MORE. Roll on a Tennis ball. Lacrosse ball. Golf ball. Marble. All the protein! Gelatin. Freak out. Feel bad. Switch to clowning. Realize that physical demands of clowning are JUST AS HARD.
One of the things I love about circus is that it’s a PERFORMANCE art! An ART, you see, not a SPORT. That means that every performer is completely free to develop their own movement style as their bodies allow and their brains see fit. Train backbends for years without much result? Maybe you’re not a bad person. Maybe your bones are just hitting each other. Maybe you’re never going to be able to cross your feet under your chin, SVETLANA.
It’s okay, friends! You’re not failures. Maybe you CAN cross your feet under your chin (or put them in your armpits) but your single arm hangs are not so solid. That’s okay, too! Use your strengths and your preferences to create an act that’s distinctly you and your audiences will love it all the same. They’ll likely love it MORE because it’ll be different and new.
In conclusion, continue to train, stretch, massage, foam roll, etc., but listen to your body. When you notice a limitation that doesn’t seem to be surmounted by the above, see if you can work with it. To put it out there, my back bends are not so great, but I looooove elbows and feet, so I play with making body shapes that interest me.
Start with a standard skill and change something: turn a hand or grab a different part of the leg: gorg’!!
Then there’s this.
What’s your favorite way to play with your flexibility or body position? Does anyone have a fun and different way they like to approach working with their body? Please share! 😀