The nasty “c” words

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 11:18 PM

OK, get your mind out of the gutter. I am not speaking of anything with only four letters.

The nasty C words I am referring to are Complacency and Criticism. These can be bad words in any topic, yes? But here, we talk about the aerial world. So, how do these words negatively affect us as performers, students and teachers?


Is there an apparatus that you don’t care for? Why? Well, whether you admitted it or not, one of the reasons is likely because you don’t spend enough time on it to enjoy it to its full potential. I see this a lot in class. Example: I tell students we will be doing trapeze for that hour and in come the complaints, groans and sad puppy dog faces. “The trapeze hates me” “The trapeze hurts” “ The trapeze is harder than silks!”

To which I reply: “The trapeze loves everyone, you just have to get to know it”, “Everything hurts” and “No way in hell”

We get through the lesson without any tears and with minimal grunts. Lo and behold, next class these same students may ask to do trapeze again. Why? Because they stepped out of their comfort zone and THEY LIKED IT!!

Sure, we all have our favorite apparatus to train and perform on. Sometimes, that changes with the seasons. But, its ok to try new things...More than once!

To the other end of the spectrum, it is essential as a professional performer to have a specialty; your signature apparatus. You never want to become “a jack of all trades, but a master of none.”

Step out of your comfort zone. When you feel successful on a new piece of equipment, its like falling in love with aerials all over again!


We can be our own worst enemy. As a student it is essential to take criticism from your coaches. Critiques and suggestions should be welcomed and appreciated, not taken personally and shut out. But should it stop there? Absolutely not! As a performer, the best way to improve your act is to do two things:

  1. 1.Film it. I guarantee what you think it looks like? It doesn''t.  

  2. 2.Show your friends, classmates and other performers. They may see something you don’t. They may also have suggestions that will take your already great performance to a whole fantastic new level.

BUT... (and this is a BIG but)...Don’t over criticize it. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to this. Filming your routine is a great tool. Unless you obsess over it. If you try to change little things every rehearsal, you end up with a big garbled up mess in your head. If you are too hard on yourself you will never get to fully enjoy the moment. You know ‘the moment’ right? When you have just finished your routine. After weeks or months of hard work, sweat, tears, bruises etc. You made it through and the audience is clapping, whistling, and otherwise feeding your ego with their appreciation for the amazing thing they just witnessed. In ‘the moment’ you should be proud, relieved and happy. Not stressed and ready to watch the tape to pick out all of your ‘mistakes’.

Don’t be your own worst enemy. While everyone can always use some guidance to improve themselves, you are likely more amazing than you realize.

So there you have the two nasty C words. Oooh!! I just thought of another one: CAN’T  But that’s another topic, for another day...