Aerial Silks

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Aerial Silks

Aerial discipline derived from the Aerial Rope made up of a large length of fabric folded in half to form two fabric panels hanging vertically from a hooking device.

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Balancing

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Balancing

 Alexander Veligosha

Ancient acrobatic discipline dating from the most ancient of times that requires the balancing acrobat to execute various moves and acrobatics while balancing on the hands or head, either on the ground or on virtually any type of apparatus. The principal apparatus used in balancing is called canes, two metal bars set at varying heights with small blocks on the top upon which the balancing acrobat can place the hands to perform the balancing moves.

 

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Banquine

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Banquine

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Acrobatic discipline executed at ground level by two carriers who, using their arms, catapult a flyer to stand on the interlaced hands of the carriers, a position called banquette. The impetus allows the flyer to perform acrobatic leaps and return to the starting point, the ground, or the banquette of a second team of carriers.

 

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Chinese Hoop Diving

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Chinese Hoop Diving

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Specialty originating in China, consisting of a set of wooden or metal hoops of varying diameters that are balanced one on top of the other on the ground, through which the acrobats propel themselves while performing various acrobatics.

 

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Chinese Pole

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Apparatus of Asian origin consisting of one or several vertical metal posts fixed into the ground and generally 3-to-9 metres in height, along which acrobats move, climbing and executing various moves and acrobatic jumps. An offshoot of the Chinese Pole is the Swinging Pole, similar except that rather than fixed into the ground it is suspended by cables at the top to hang roughly 60 centimetres from the ground. The Swinging Pole allows the acrobat to inject more dynamic and diverse moves into the number due to the swinging movement created by the pole.

 

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Cloud Swing

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Aerial discipline consisting of a slack rope attached at both ends to form a swing roughly 6 metres long. As it swings, the acrobat performs holds, turns and other aerial acrobatics. Used in the seventeenth century by Tightrope walkers, this discipline predates the invention of the Trapeze.

 

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Contortion

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The practice of extreme physical flexibility, thousands of years old, which allows the contortionist to accomplish exaggerated  positions using extreme stretching, flexing and bending of the arms and legs. The practice of Contortion can be divided into three categories: back bending, front bending and dislocation. Back bending has its origins in travelling shows while front bending originates in Asia. A contortionist may practice more than one type.

 

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Cyr Wheel

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Acrobatic disciple derived from the German Wheel invented by Quebecer Daniel Cyr, cofounder of Cirque Éloize and composed of a simple metal circle in which the acrobat moves. Using his own impetus, he is able to turn unceasingly while executing acrobatics. As opposed to the German Wheel, the Cyr Wheel's structure allows more fluidity in the rotations, which accents the dynamism of the discipline.

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German Wheel

Photo © www.arnoldhenri.com

Of German origin, this apparatus is comprised of two large metal circles joined along the perimeter by a series of short bars, inside which the acrobat stands and uses his own impetus to propel the wheel, whirling and performing acrobatics while defying the laws of gravity.

 

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Hand to Hand

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Demanding acrobatic discipline performed by two or more acrobats on the ground in which the carrier executes various moves involving strength, balance, elevation and flexibility by carrying the flyer on the hands or sometimes the head. There are two forms of Hand to Hand:  Dynamic Hand to Hand and Static Hand to Hand. 

Static Hand to Hand often is executed in a smaller space, because the carrier and flyer perform only moves involving strength and balance with no great need to move through space. The feats of balancing and strength are presented in a slow manner, so that the audience can fully appreciate the skill and endurance of the acrobats.

Dynamic Hand to Hand makes use of the entire performance space with much larger movements and a faster rhythm to some moves, since the carrier provides the propulsion via a push of the arms to the flyer, who is able to perform different acrobatic jumps landing on the shoulders of the partner, another carrier, or the ground. Several individual types of acrobatics, synchronized or not, are often added to the number. Because of certain qualities and the fact it is practiced by two acrobats, Dynamic Hand to Hand is similar to Banquine.

 

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Juggling

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Art requiring dexterity and agility dating to the most ancient of times. Juggling may be practiced individually or in a group, in the air or on the ground, and consists of throwing various objects in the air that may be of almost any type: rings, balls, pins, etc.  The object is to keep them in motion at all times, with the juggler re-launching each as it falls. 

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Russian Bar

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First employed by Boris Isaevy in 1958, this acrobatic discipline is executed on the ground by two carriers who support, either on the shoulder or arms, a flexible bar upon which a flyer stands upright and performs a variety of precarious moves.

 

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Spanish Web

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Aerial apparatus consisting of a cotton rope stranded or braided to a 3-to-5 centimetre diameter that hangs vertically upon which the acrobat executes various acrobatic tricks and moves. The Spanish Web may be used with a loop into which the acrobat can insert either the hand or foot to accomplish various feats while rotating, with the help of rotational push provided by an assistant on the ground.

 

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Straps

 Lewie West

Acrobatic specialty of Asian origins, consisting of two thin parallel straps several metres in length, along which the acrobat rolls and unrolls using the wrists and arms to execute rises, falls and acrobatics, all the while suspended. The straps also make it possible to perform large rotations the length of the ring, granting remarkable grace as the acrobat rises.

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Teeterboard

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Collective number involving several acrobats wherein one or two pushers leap onto one end of a rocking board from atop a pedestal and catapult flyers into the air. The flyers perform acrobatic feats before returning to the ground, to the shoulders of a team of carriers, or to a perch or chair. For some time this discipline was a specialty in Eastern European countries.

 

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Tightwire

 Molly Saudeck Tightwire

Apparatus consisting of a metal cable suspended horizontally between two mounts upon which the acrobat moves and executes a series of moves, balances, dance steps, leaps and acrobatics.  Tight Wire is generally performed at a low height, often metres from the ground, distinguishing it from another tightrope walking form, the High Wire, which is performed at a great height.

 

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Trampoline

 Blues Brothers Trampoline

Discipline evolving from gymnastics that first made an appearance in circus shows at the beginning of the twentieth century. It consists of an elastic film of varying sizes stretched between supports on a footed frame, upon which acrobats execute various acrobatic moves and jumps. The trampoline is often used with other acrobatic disciplines to augment the height of the flyers' leaps.

 

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Trapeze

 Doubles Trapeze

Aerial acrobatic apparatus consisting of a round horizontal bar suspended from both ends by two vertical cords that attach it. Several versions of the trapeze exist: Flying Trapeze, Swinging Trapeze, Dance Trapeze, Static Trapeze, Washington Trapeze, Double or Triple Trapeze, etc.

 

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