I have been wanting to start a blog for quite some time. It so happens that I have finally put my head down to it at a moment in life when time is scarce, projects are many and workload has gone up through the roof. Although this is the right time.
I thoroughly enjoy reading and writing. I do however find that many avenues of current social media are inappropriate for putting across elaborate posts. It was meaningful to me that I should start a blog with the exhilarating experience of my first official comeback job, an aerial silks ensemble at the Savoy Hotel London for a well established UK corporate performance troupe. I was back in the spotlight after one year of pregnancy bliss and post natal struggles.
There are many comebacks to aerial dance. I have indeed experienced plenty throughout ten years of my aerial career. Lengthy most needed breaks, travel, and also day to day comebacks where I re-encounter and tune into my body in a way that feels completely different to the day before. The body as a working instrument is a living stream and it flows to its own accord.
The postnatal comeback has been by far the most enriching in terms of discovery outcomes and perspective gaining. I do believe there is a time threshold upon which we step in order to gain true perspective over what is meaningful to us. We often don’t have enough time, with busy schedules filling our days. Pregnancy slows time right down and that is one thing I cherished consciously as I got too big and uncomfortable to get up in the air. It is a wonderful thing, to have time and just wait.
My postnatal recovery process and fitness achieval are worth another blog post and I wish to focus on my first gig back. My job: to perform a physically demanding silks routine as part of a synchronised silks trio at the London Savoy’s Ballroom, followed by a floor partner acrobatic ensemble with other nine performers, including ballerinas, gymnasts, acrobats and a cyr wheel artist. The dance floor is a tight 7×7 metres, closely circled by dining tables with lit on candles.
The troupe is comprised of people I know really quite well from previous jobs and training space share, and whom I highly regard. There is an air of familiarity and I am slightly baffled at how ok I feel as the first walk through rehearsals take place.
Dress rehearsals are not quite the same. I haven’t been in an aerial costume for over a year and its cling on feel whilst up in the air is something I had almost forgotten. The costume also covers my feet, adding an extra layer of difficulty to my climbs and foot grip. Performing in costume is definitely an added pressure I am unaccustomed to after all this time.
As I am in the air and the choreography is in full flow, I find that some worrying thoughts are creeping through to disturb my tight mental music counts. For the first time after my birthing, I come to a full realisation that I am responsible for a tiny human being. I am six metres off the floor and furthermore there is a huge golden chandelier very close to me, blocking the sight of the other two aerialists. Oh what a weird and wonderful place to come to terms with such an important fact. However the effect is somewhat a crippling brain freeze. My forearms have also acquired a jelly-like quality. The rest of the run through occurs in a surreal blur. I stay up in the air like a non-choreographed accessory until the end, but it is really not a great run and I am called away from the director for a quick word.
There is now a three hour wait until the guests come in and we get to perform. We get served a massive Double Decker Savoy sandwich and I casually get praised by my cooking skills in conversation. I start to feel better. I lock myself in the Ladies for a few minutes and practise some of the most efficient detachment and solution focused techniques I have learnt during hypnobirthing with the wonderful Claire Brigg at the Clifton Practice in Bristol… it wasn’t that long ago! They really make an impact upon my wellbeing and I feel positively charged again. There is nothing wrong with my arms, I can do this and here is where I want to be today.
Now this is definitely where the many years of experience in aerial performing come in to play a positive self assuring role. Squeezing through the vanishing self doubt, in come flashbacks of performing 14 metres up in the air, doing silks in a Big Top in the Indian dizzying heat many years ago. Climbing wet fabric after the Monsoon rains hit the camp. And that time at the London Princess Stadium where the audio froze mid routine and we aerialists were left hanging mid air for over ten minutes waiting for audio to resume. They were all tough endurance exercises and the Savoy is only one more.
Our minds are such powerful engines when channeled in the right direction.
Needless to say that I did an amazing job in front of the audiences, and I thrived on that feeling once again. Here is to many more! Here is to the perspective, knowledge and discovery journey that the arrival of our little one has brought upon me, just as one of his many presents.
“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not enough time” – Leonard Bernstein