September 26, 2005

Contortion Training

I woke up super early, drove up to vermont, and spent 3 hours with three other girls in a private contortion training lesson with Bill Forchion of Nimble Arts ( ). I LOVED IT SO MUCH!!!!!!!! First, I was excited to be in Vermont where it was more rural and like Kentucky (ahh, breathing room). Second, I was happy to be with other contortionists (Phoebe 17, Lauren 18, and Morgan 23) for the 2nd time in my life (the first time was meeting them). Thirdly, I was excited to be in a random old mill building with huge old elevators that ran on pulleys that was being used (and not abandoned) by, of all things, a circus school. Fourth, it was neat to meet Bill, an amazingly down to earth, encouraging, funny and enjoyable guy who used to perform with both Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. And it was neat to have his wife Serenity (that's them in the picture) and her twin Elsie, both trapeze artists formerly with Cirque du Soleil and Pilobolus (amongst others) teaching their private lessons on the other side of the same room while we trained.
But most of all, it felt AMAZING to work with my body in this way! As you know, I am not used to feeling good stretches because, well, I stretch so easily to the positions that most people consider lofty goals. But MAN did I feel stretches! Is that what most people feel when they stretch?!!!???!!! Bill was really really good at tweaking stretches so that it would wake up a new part of my body that I hadn't felt in a particular way before (he called these "yummy stretches". I agree!), and then he was also good at pressing you further into stretches for minutes at a time (that felt like FOREVER) where I nearly felt like crying: ow!. At the same time, he was uber concerned with building strength and not injuring oneself. I was happy to find that I had no bad habits to break and that I hadn't been doing anything that was dangerous to my body--phew! We worked on static and dynamic stretches, on correct/strong backbends, on some tumbling things like handstands and back limbers, but also did some things like "contortion rolls" where you go into a backbend, and then walk your arms through your legs and lift the legs off the ground and let yourself roll from your chin to your toes on your belly, and then we did a few partner things.
One of the most amazing things is that even though I knew I could do some pretty cool things with my body, Bill was able to help me realize that there are so many MORE things that I can do--things that I wouldn't have dreamed of--that are sometimes a simple matter of weight change. And what I appreciated most about the day is that for the first time ever in my life there was nothing that was "weird" or "wow" or "eww!"--I mean I was at a circus school, so my flexibility was just accepted as a matter of course and encouraged and then pressed further. The "wow"s were reserved for the excitement of each of us as we attempted and accomplished a new goal. The funny thing was that my height and age WERE considered rather abnormal. Tee hee! Afterward, I felt better than I have ever felt after a massage, a chiropracter appointment, a dance or yoga class. I felt SO loose in all my muscles, all my joints, and strong at the same time. Nothing pinched, nothing felt sore. I felt so invigorated. It lasted, too! I dreamed about being tweaked into perfect stretches, and then I woke up 40 minutes before my alarm went off this morning, ready to go at 6:30am.
I just gotta say, it was truly RADICAL.


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