Learn the Art of Aerial Acrobatics

Posted by: on July 26, 2013

“Do It In A Day” stopped by to learn more about aerial silks. You can, too, in this short video featuring Heather Hammond and student Polina.

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Helium Aerial Dance @ New York Dance Week & Zico Water Promotion

Posted by: on June 19, 2013

Helium Aerial Dance had great fun offering discounted aerial silks classes and lyra classes to new and old aerial arts students alike. Thanks to New York Dance Week’s Aileen Malogan for having us participate in the Zico Water promotion, and for the awesome photos. Our students had a delightful time posing for in the air and on the ground.

Missed New York Dance Week? Don’t despair – you can come to trial class anytime by signing up

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Heliummm Featured in Industry Magazine!

Posted by: on June 4, 2013

We are thrilled to be featured in Industry Magazine! Read “The Aerial Up There” – all about Heliummm’s latest fun!

The Aerial Up There - Industry Magazine

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Pop Quiz: Creative, Controversial, or Clueless?

Posted by: on May 30, 2013

What makes an artist creative, commercial, controversial or clueless? What kind of artist are you? There’s an interactive Pop Quiz at the end, so read on, and please answer honestly, so we can have a fruitful discussion.

Today’s post is inspired by a recent article in the NY Times about the controversial Chinese artist and social activist, Ai WeiWei’s latest work. In this video called “Dumbass”, he graphically recreates scenes from his illegal detention, set to heavy metal music.

aiweiwei

Love it or hate it, Mr. Ai’s work usually provokes some kind of emotion. His work is often a staunch commentary on the Chinese government, which has landed him in jail on more than one occasion. So there’s definitely some ‘juice’ to his opinion, that seriously rocks the status quo in his environment.

So it got me thinking about what it means to be a controversial artist, and what’s controversial in the aerial arts world these days.

What’s controversy anyways? According to Merriam-Webster:
con·tro·ver·sy — noun
1: a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views : dispute
2: quarrel, strife

I used to shy away from controversy. I was too afraid to be on the ‘wrong’ end of a discussion, to be disliked or to be ridiculed. I’ve grown to learn, however, that controversy is positive. In fact, it’s a key component to the entire democratic system. Discuss, listen, agree to disagree, and perhaps change your mind or someone else’s. Controversy shakes us out of our complacency and helps us to evolve, personally, professionally, artistically, however painful that may be.

While my art is still far from controversial, I’m OK with that. I’m not ‘the disturber’, nor do I wish to be. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) But as I’ve found my creative voice, I contribute to my art form in the realm of fusing aerial and dance and character for the WOW factor with beautiful lines and pointed toes for my corporate gigs, and emotion and humanness expressed inventively for my more artistic gigs. I’m creative and I’m commercial – a combination that keeps me busily employed at a high level and providing work for other artists.

Many aerialists are intensely creative and are really moving the art form along by fusing diverse art forms, media, props, incredible virtuosity, new apparatus, costuming and music. But how many of us are truly controversial, with a capital ‘C’? I’d love to hear from you about who you think is controversial in the aerial world, and what discussion or opposing views that artist brings forth with their work.

As a point of comparison, I found this list of 10 Controversial Artists of the last Century by Annemarie Dooling (God, I love the internet, sometimes). The list includes artists like:
-Georgia O’Keefe, who painted nature is ways that were interpreted at the time to be racy representations of the female anatomy,
-Pablo Picasso, who once stated, “For me there are only two kinds of women: goddesses and doormats.”, and
-Christo Javachev, whose work “The Gates” covered part of Central Park with orange banners. Art to some, a waste of fabric to others.

So, aerialists, do you have to get yourself arrested like Ai Weiwei to be a controversial artist? No. Does getting arrested mean you’re controversial? Not necessarily. Did your act lead people to consider the world differently? Were you challenging existing norms, commenting on the current state of society, the government or it’s people? Or did you just want to create a stir on Facebook, and gain some notoriety?

The aerial controversies I’ve come across lately have more to do with whether aerial instructors should be insured, and whether teacher certification is good for the industry or is elitist. But these are controversies for a subsequent post. And is bad rigging controversial, or is it simply bad?

I’m not suggesting you have to be controversial to be a respected artist. But I am suggesting that if you want to call yourself a ‘controversial aerialist’ you probably want to challenge the status quo in more ways than safety and creative costuming.

Here’s our Pop Quiz to keep the conversation going: We will tabulate all results.

Controversial, Creative or Clueless

Select the answer or answers that best reflect the artistic endeavor. We'll tabulate the results and let you know what everyone thinks. Replies are anonymous.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

References:
1. NY Times Article “Prison Was Awful, but He Likes the Video Version”, page C1, May 22, 2013. Full article here
2. Ai Weiwei website: AiWeiwei.com (accessed May 22, 2013)

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Heliummm participates in Dance Week!

Posted by: on May 23, 2013

NYC Dance Week collaborates with select studios in New York City to celebrate the joy and diversity of dance with an exhilarating 10-day event many free dance and fitness classes.

Heliummm is delighted to be offering discounted Aerial Dance classes on Wed, June 19th. Come fly with us and participate in Dance Week!

Always wanted to run away and join the circus? Well, now you can with fun and fabulous aerial dance classes from Heliummm Aerial Dance. Try aerial silks or lyra (aerial hoop) on Wednesday, June 19 at 50% off! But hurry, classes are limited to 6 people.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER and use promo code DW13 to get your discount.

Schedule for June 19:
3:15 pm Silk Class
4:30 Combo Silks/Lyra Class
5:30pm Lyra (aerial hoop) class
6:45pm Silks Class
7:45pm Silks Class

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

Check out some of our fabulous students here!

 

 

 

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Spring Student Showcase May 2013

Posted by: on May 17, 2013

Our peeps rocked it out at the May Spring Student Showcase. There were bowties, glitter, duos, juggling and a special appearance by BritBrit. I am so proud of everyone’s hard work. Here are some photos that capture each of our lovely performers.

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Look who’s on CBS TV!

Posted by: on May 13, 2013
Thanks, Toni on NY for coming to check out our classes. We are proud to be part of your show, and to be wearing Made-In-America World Stretch pants, too.

CLICK HERE to watch Toni On! New York: Workout Like An Acrobat!

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Smirnoff Sorbet Light Tasting Event

Posted by: on April 26, 2013
Helium’s bubble contortionist and rhythmic gymnasts looked almost light as light and delicious as Smirnoff’s Sorbet Light Vodka.  The attendees loved the product and our gals. Thanks to MKTG inc for having us.
Photos courtesy of Insider Images.
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Going for Gold – How to train to be a professional aerial artist without coming in last

Posted by: on April 26, 2013

woman climbing rope

Today’s question comes from a recent aerial addict. She asks, “Mama Silk, I LOVE aerial and want to become a professional. I’m going to train six days a week to get super good, super fast. What do you think?”

I love the enthusiasm. And, if you believe the adage that it takes 10,000 hours to be a master at a particular skill, then I can understand the sense of urgency in getting good fast. The thought process goes something like this: ‘Let’s see, I could train 5 hours a week from now till the end of the world, or  I could train 1000 hours a week* and be an expert by the end of the summer!’ Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a shortcut to excellent results? But are the results from super intense training all that excellent?

Sadly, no. And overtraining can actually set you back instead of helping you reach your goal faster. That sentence bears repeating. In bold. Overtraining can actually set you back instead of helping you reach your goal faster.

It’s important to take good care of your body and to pace yourself if you want to have a career of any longevity. The impatience and exuberance of youth can lead to over doing it. Injuries stink, slow down your training, and are often with you forever…

‘But it won’t happen to me. I’m super fit already’.

You may be. But ask yourself if your current stability and strength lie in the key body areas we use in aerial.  Many times I have cautioned eager new students to take it slow and easy. They groan when I start class with warming up shoulders, back and lower abs, and when we end class with conditioning. They just want to get right to the drops.  There are places that ‘teach’ like that, but I don’t recommend them. The risk of injury is far greater.

image icining knee

What is overtraining?

Overtraining means that the volume and intensity of your training exceed your capacity for recovery. Listen to your body. When you overtrain, you can actually lose strength and be more prone to injury.

Signs of overtraining:

-constant muscle soreness

-more injuries

-insomnia

-weight loss

-more frequent colds/flus

-irritability

Prevention is key.

Increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts gradually. Allow for adequate rest between workouts. Focus on stability first, then on increasing strength and endurance.  Remember that training volume should be inversely proportional to intensity. The higher the physical intensity of a particular skill, the less frequently it should be done in a workout.

Your training plan should contain adequate rest periods and vary the amount of stress placed on the each part of the body to build strength and prevent injury.  There’s a reason those bodybuilder guys don’t train chest and back 6 days a week. Their muscles, and yours, need a rest in between. Consider keeping a training log and consulting a skilled teacher who can help you build a training program that will help you meet your goals while keeping you as healthy and injury free as possible.

Stay safe – Train Smart.

Love,

Mama Silk

 

*Yes, Mama Silk knows there are really only 168 hours in a given week. I took artistic licence with the math to make a point.

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Heather Accepting BizBash’s “Entertainment Act of the Year Award”

Posted by: on April 25, 2013

Heather Winner's BizBash Readers Choice Awards Entertainment Act of the Year

Just came across this video with a quick glimpse of Heather accepting BizBash’s “Entertainment Act of the Year Award”. Check us out at 2:00. BizBash 2012 Review – Entertainment Act of the Year at 2:00

We are SO honored to receive this award!

 

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