I'm a beginning writer with a Brisbane Bucket-list and a desire to see it all and report back.
Published April 28th 2015
Vulcademy Adult Classes
I arrived at the beautiful Brisbane Powerhouse on Monday night absolutely thrilled to be joining the ladies from the Vulcana Women's Circus for their popular Aerial Taster Class. I had dragged one of my besties along for the ride and as we stepped into the old warehouse our eyes were instantly drawn up to the very, very high ceiling, although my usual fear of height was replaced with extreme excitement. The roof and the multiple beams protruding from the walls were adorned with various ropes, hoops, poles and long red draping material that elevated our anticipation levels up to about a 22 out of 10. The wonderful ladies in charge were extremely friendly and immediately came up to introduce themselves, and then, after ditching our shoes we joined them on the mat for a quick and easy warm-up.
The gorgeous space occupied by the Vulcana ladies.
Warm-Up The class began with the usual stretches associated with any form of exercise, and considering how tender my muscles feel today, 24 hours post work-out, I'm glad we did a little stretching. We also undertook some fun games I haven't played since I was a kid and some new ones that I intend to use in my own classroom sometime this week. We ran around like crazy people, abandoning the usual composure we all hold now we are living adult lives. It felt good to play Tag like a little kid again and it felt good to crawl between the legs of a person Stuck-In-The-Mud. And afterward I felt warm and ready to learn some circus tricks.
The lovely Michelle was our instructor for our time on the tissu and she immediately jumped into explaining the most important skill of this aerial activity... how to come down. It turns out that going up is actually pretty simple, however the descent is the real challenge. It's lucky the girls at Vulcana are very safety conscious because even though I shimmied up the tissu in less than 30 seconds, my trip back to the ground was a lot messier. In fact it ended with a loud thump as my feet, hands and butt hit the thick pads designed to catch us. But it wasn't long until I had perfected the move and could slide back down with slightly more grace than the first time around.
After learning how to safely return to the ground Michelle explained the steps involved to complete a basic climb. This inclining action involved the wrapping together of ankles and material, along with a perfectly synchronized arm movement. What seemed like a series of complicated actions, with the help of our lovely instructor, turned out to be very achievable indeed. Under Michelle's guidance, myself and my lovely circus partner Louise, were both able to climb our way up until we were a couple of meters off the ground.
Now we had learnt the basics; we could go up and we could come down (with varying degrees of success) so it was time to learn a trick, something called the Bird's Nest. I won't even begin to try and put into words what it was we did, it has to be seen in person. But I will say that it ended with us a metre off the ground, hanging upside-down, with gracefully arched backs and ankles wrapped in the crimson material. It was very impressive and probably what I am most proud of achieving during our two our class.
I will also mention that this aerial adventure was set up so that whilst we were waiting for our one-on-one time with the wonderful Michelle, we were able to practice on another tissu. We each took turns working on our three moves and helping one another achieve them. This is something the Vulcana ladies do really well; setting up a community of support amongst its attendees.
Trapeze Next up we headed over to the very fit Tammi who quickly lifted herself up onto the low-hung trapeze with incredible finesse. Then, one by one we undertook a series of basic moves that took us from hanging below the bar, to sitting on it, to standing tall with our arms extended out wide. Louise, my circus buddy for the night, went first and her incredible elegance made it look oh so easy (of course she has been playing sport since the moment she was born). For us lesser mortals it was a little tougher. The first move alone really highlighted to me why the ladies recommend you wear pants that go beyond the back of your knees, because that is the part the holds your body onto the bar, and yes it hurts a little. The pain however is so worth it, and is very quickly forgotten when Tammi helps you push yourself up into a seated position and the feeling of triumph washes over your body instead.
After our first round on the trapeze we were given a second opportunity to try something a little trickier. After hoisting ourselves into a seated position, we were taught to move our bodies backwards and position our legs in such a way we could actually hang from the bar with only our legs attached the rope. With a few pointed pairs of hands and feet it was easy to feel like a real acrobat performing in the big top.
To conclude our perfect evening we did a quick conditioning session to build up the muscles required to undertake these very challenging moves. We did push ups, squat jumps (my favourite) and one other move using the tissue, which I can now call, my favourite circus apparatus. I am very glad that we did this activity at the end of the class, because if we had done it at the beginning I'm not sure I could have pulled myself up the gorgeous red material draped from the ceiling or the hanging bar.
At the conclusion of our little taster course Louise and I stood in the car park until the warmth had left our bodies and the hair on our arms was standing on its end. We had accidentally become distracted from our desire to crawl into bed via a heated discussion about which class to try next. We both loved our time on the tissu but the idea of giving stilts a go is very exciting, or perhaps transferring our new skills to the rope or the lyra. Half an hour later, when we finally made it into our separate cars, no decision had been made, other than the fact that we definitely would be back.