Vertical Dance Research Creating International Connections

This time last year we were just finishing up on the final online sharing of a project called “Creating Connections’, a collaboration with Wanda Moretti and Kate Lawrence  funded by British Council’s International Collaboration Grants to deliver a project exploring participatory and inclusive practice in vertical dance.

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2 aerialists sit in harness, legs outstretched, feet planted on the wall, bodies upright. Lee’s arm is wrapped around Lindsey's waist

Inclusive Choreography Grounded and Flying with Stopgap

Artistic Director Lindsey got to offer a skills exchange with ever dynamic and engaging Stopgap Dance Company. Lindsey’s always been interested and intrigued by Stopgap’s inclusive choreography and process of movement translation between disabled and non-disabled people and bodies.

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2 dancers face each other smiling. They hold 1 finger in front of their noses, trying to regain their balance after spinning wildly.

Inclusive aerial, vulnerability and revelations

Inspired by the change in the seasons, we’re taking this opportunity to reflect on all that’s happened this year. We were grateful to receive a Cultural Recovery Fund grant from Arts Council England earlier this year which enabled us to finally create our own EADF website, go through some deep and inspiring business development and deepen […]

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Grounded with Jo Foley

Coming out of lockdown, so far, I have only done shows that make me happy. Shows where I feel comfortable. Shows where I can be my ridiculous, silly, nervous, oversharing self and I am accepted and embraced for it. I can do without shows that make me cry in the toilets, no matter how big the agent or the money is…..

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Grounded with Tilly Lee-Kronick

When I am struggling, I tell myself to “Hold on to your equipment, hold your nerve, hold in your core but let go of your pride, let go of your self-judgment and let go of your need to impress”.

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Grounded with Ben Brown

During December I started working on an idea I had had for a while, which was to start my own circus school dedicated to Aerial Hoop. What I was thinking during a global pandemic where nobody could leave the house I don’t know, but somehow it worked…..

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Grounded with Rebecca Rennison

I think I’ve realised that there really is a place for us, and a need for art and escapism. Maybe in the back of my imposter mind, I thought that we weren’t important enough, or to use Boris’s terrible phrase ‘essential’ enough! However, anything that takes us away from the fear inducing dialogue which is constantly weighing down on us is absolutely vital… less fear means less stress – which means less of the hormone cortisol – equals better functioning immune systems and there you have it – circus arts is a community health service 😉

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Grounded with Amy Panter

I define myself as an aerialist/equestrienne, (if that’s a thing), teacher and costume maker, although for the last year ‘unemployed’ seemed a more apt description…… last year brought up some tricky questions like age, being good enough and is this a precedent to stop – before quickly realising I didn’t want to stop. I love what I do, so bollocks to that and anyone who says otherwise…..

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Grounded with Suzon Gheur

I’ve been kind of having a falling out with circus since just before the pandemic. I lost the fun in a sea of self pity and judgment. I feel I don’t have the level I should for someone who has done all the training I have, and it makes me feel awkward to train in front of others, to sell my work, to call myself an artist. That sea blocks me creatively and technically, I can’t find the motivation to train.

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Grounded with Ziggy Slingsby

The advice I would like to give to my younger self or anyone starting out in the world of aerial is “You are unique and will do things in your own way, take your time and trust in your own abilities. The bonds you build with people in your training and art are invaluable, make time for friendships especially when things get tough.”

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Grounded with Shaena Brandel

As an aerialist/artist in my early 40’s, having time over the past year to be introspective has been amazing, and something I don’t think I would have made happen otherwise. I am well aware how privileged that sounds- I have been teaching teenagers Aerial and ‘Floorial’ remotely (and in person when possible) over the past year, and I know how hard COVID restrictions have been for that age group particularly…..

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Grounded with Amanda Miles

From her early experience as a young dancer to founding and running her own aerial studio, Amanda  draws on her experience of a career spanning over 30 years in the entertainment industry, as a former theatrical agent and TV producer to the present day.

She shares her thoughts and and talks about the business of creativity.

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Grounded with Emma Poole

During this time, the imposter syndrome found a way into my new career plan and the constant feeling of not being good enough, just grew and grew. It felt like a secret I had to stop people discovering. I changed my eating habits and increased training because somehow, I felt if I was physically smaller and always in the air, it would disguise my lack of skill. I ended up in schedule of constant work/training with no free time, leaving me moody and constantly hungry. I can see now that the struggle of trying to juggle my busy, yes saying ,life was impressing no one and it only left me feeling more inadequate and exhausted …….

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Grounded with Justine Squire

I have thought a lot about how I can create work which aligns more closely to what I care about and what this could look like in a world where we prioritise the health of our planet. …….. Sometimes things get nasty to highlight the stuff that needs to change. This doesn’t make it any easier to go through but I hope we can find the positive transformations from these tough times.  

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Grounded with Katharine Arnold

That was it….once I was on that little round red stage, I was in love with cabaret, and spiegeltents, and crystal-embellished costumes and backstage tequila and using whatever music makes your soul sing and choreographing your own dance on whichever equipment you want to be on, and having your audience so close you can smell their perfume.

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Grounded with Erin Ball

Question everything. Who is not in the room? Why am I teaching the things that I am teaching? It is something that I am passing along simply because it’s the “way it’s done” or is there a safety concern? Rethink aesthetics. Pointed toes are overrated. There is no such thing as cheating if it’s not hurting us or others. Disability is not what I thought it was. Community is everything. Large systems are at play that create power imbalances… as individuals, we can create change. Keep learning. 

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Grounded with Dawn Pascoe

Dawn talks frankly about her career change since her creative partnership of a decade ended last year, her personal challenges of returning to work after giving birth, and the power of telling your truth onstage. She shares some insights and thoughts which could give you a giggle too.

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Grounded with Amelia Cavallo

There are more individuals and organisations than I would like who are still after a year of a pandemic wanting to “go back to normal” whatever that means. Normal for me meant a lot of inaccessible and/or queerphobic spaces. It also meant seriously overworking myself for what currently feels like no reason. I don’t really want to go back to that. But there are also a lot of individuals and organisations who are quietly keeping their heads down and working on themselves by instilling good habits into their practice. That makes me very hopeful […]

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Grounded with Milton Lopes

Milton speaks of his background as an actor, director, musician, writer and aerial artist and of his upcoming show ELEPHANT, which was due to premiere in 2020.

He also shares his upbeat thoughts on what’s coming up; ‘Society will need artists. people will want to go out and see shows. We’re going to have an amazing opportunity to shine so we all have to be ready.’

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Grounded with Lyn Routledge

Lyn shares with us her journey, from her beginnings of doing overseas development work with Oxfam and VSO, into her long and productive aerial performance career and an honest account of the year that’s just been. She speaks of the frustrations and unexpected delights of lockdown, reminds us of importance of the Arts and shares a clip from her most recent project, Corvus Angelicus that so wonderfully illustrates this.

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Grounded with Christina Zauner

It’s ok to not always achieve something, we all have bad days, but you have to put in the effort and work hard, and if things don’t go as you wish straight away, don’t give up, it would be boring if we would achieve things too quickly.
Be clear where you want to go and value your own worth….

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Grounded with Rachel Strickland

What I really wanted was the time and space to explore my own work. What pieces were in me? What creations lingered on the edges of the primordial soup of my subconscious? I wanted to know. I wanted to give them a line and coax them limb by horrifying limb out from the netherworld. Would they be monsters? Would they be angels? I didn’t know – I had been too busy to find out.”

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Grounded with Delia Ceruti

Hi, I’m Delia Ceruti, I identify as a woman and …I am very shy talking about myself and my career: I would rather do a movement improvisation about it, but I love challenges, Lindsey, and the idea of this blog. So, here you go: I am an Italian artist, mostly an aerial mover and sometimes photographer, based in the UK although currently […]

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Grounded with Sarah Bebe Holmes

‘The back road to circus’.
I’m Sarah Bebe Holmes, mostly known for my work with my company Paper Doll Militia. I identify as a woman.

Where are you now and what do you do?
I live in Glasgow Scotland, with my lovely partner and collaborator Bado Reti who has composed the music for two Paper Doll Militia productions as well as improvises regularly with me. I write, perform and direct aerial theatre. My passion is making emotive and narrative aerial pieces and […]

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Grounded with Kat Clark

Grounded with Kathryn Clark

 Kat takes us on her journey from journalism into working with aerial rope. From super technical beginnings into working more creatively using arbitrary restrictions. Aerial explorations in forests. Needing resilience to persist in the non-linear routes through an aerial/ circus career. And knowing yourself in order to resource this. You Can Follow kat Online […]

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Kalina Suter on trapeze

Grounded with Kalina Suter

Hi, I’m Kalina. A dance trapeze artist based in Edinburgh, Scotland (currently doing a 3-month aerial residency in Puerto Escondido, Mexico). I think a lot about what my relationship to my apparatus is. I see my trapeze as a living breathing entity with a personality. Yes, it’s just a steel bar with two ropes, but it’s […]

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Alfa Marks aerial rope

Grounded with Alfa Marks

Who you are/how you identify? Any specific learning from the year we’ve just had? Or not! I am Alfa Marks, a short 32-year-old, opinionated, black female. I use to identify as a performer – an aerialist. It was more than what I did, it was who I was, where I lived and where in the […]

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Grounded with Claire Crook

Hi, I’m Claire Crook, I often (but not always) perform under the stage name Madam Mango. I am originally from North Wales, and have been performing now for 20 years (gulp). I identify as female. Currently living in Kinloss, Moray in the North East of Scotland, I moved in September in what seemed like a […]

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Grounded with Jenny Tufts

my inefficient but scenic route into the aerial world. Hello aerial aficionados! I’m Jenny. I identify as a woman, a weirdo, a recovering perfectionist, an aerial hoop specialist, a chronic dabbler, a creator, an athlete, a lover of books, a socialist, a master dog snuggler, and a perpetual foreigner. This is the story of my […]

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Grounded with Aisling Ni Cheallaigh

The Path. Throughout my career I had a terrible feeling that I was starting too late, because I hadn’t gone to circus school, had no dance background, was not born into a circus family. I believed whole-heartedly in the myth of a straightforward path to the top of the art form and was constantly worried […]

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On inclusivity… or being afraid we’ll get it wrong.

…or on not being inclusive cos’ we’re afraid that we don’t know enough or that we’ll cause offence. I came across a video the other day on facebook called ‘Remarkable’. It was by Dr Kelsie Acton, who is a neurodivergent dancer, researcher and inclusive practice advisor for Battersea Arts Centre. In it she references a quote […]

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Grounded with Lindsey Butcher

Inspired by Understory – a collection of insights from a diverse group of artists in the dance world – I felt it would be useful to curate a series of articles, musings and videos from professional aerialists at all stages of
their careers on how we go about navigating these new times. Looking at our diverse pathways into the aerial arts and the breadth of practice out there, these contributions will be released every Wednesday. I’m Lindsey Butcher…

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