Fall in Love with Rope

Posted on: October 13th, 2014 by Rebekah Leach

Join us this Fall 2014 for a series of Rope Videos starring Rebekah Leach and Rain Anya of Paper Doll Militia. We are currently working on compiling moves for a Rope Manual Series. Volume 1 is anticipated to be released by the end of Winter 2015. Videos will be released as they completed (edited and all, etc).

To kick off our journey of the Corde Lisse, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the rope rockstars who inspired my own journey through rope. In no particular order, they are:

1. Allie Cooper

When she posted this video on YouTube in 2009, I was on a place to California on a mission to study rope in a matter of months – it was that powerful. While I had been on a rope in 2005, it was nothing like what Allie Cooper presented in this video. It made me want to take a fresh look at this apparatus.


2. Kevin O’Connor

After Allie posted her rope video, I called her up and was like, “Dude, this is awesome. Who taught you – I want to learn from them!” Her suggestion was Kevin O’Connor. So, out I went to California to take classes, workshops and privates with Kevin. I jammed in everything I could over a two week span. Kevin’s methods are very grounded in dance, and they are just grounded period. I LOVE the way Kevin works, the fluidity, the ease of movement, and the methods & theories. It was a very inspirational week.

Rain Anya also happened to be in the same workshops. I liked her technique and how similar it was to the way I worked in my own body – that sparked a connection that leads us to the present day working together. :)


3. Jukka Junkii

No surprise that Jukka is connected to Kevin as Kevin is connected to Allie – it’s a small world, this whole aerial business… Anyway, while Jukka is in the above video, he is also in the one below. The video below is a video I ran into around 2009 when I was just getting into rope. This whole idea of using momentum to flip and fly around the rope was new to me and opening me to new possibilities. While I knew I would never be one to actually do any sort of flips or release moves, there’s still a lot of momentum ideas that this group was opening my eyes up to.


4. Terry Crane

You can’t talk about the rope revolution and not mention Terry Crane. It seems like every time I do a background check on a move to try to trace it’s roots, it goes back to or through Terry. He had been a huge bridge between Europe circus arts and American circus arts. You’ve probably heard of the Crane Roll? Yeah, it’s from Terry Crane. Of course.


5. Kendra Greaves

Yay for another girl rockin’ the rope! I ran into Kendra’s video early 2009, even before Allie’s. I used it as inspiration for a lot of what I did on fabric. Back then, I was mostly into fabric and much of the ideas translated well. Now that I work on rope, I have new eyes for this piece, but still love it all the same. I will forever picture Kendra in her overalls on Rope. :)


6. Irena Purschke

Again, I ran into this video in 2009. It was a huge source of inspiration for me. I loved the relaxed attitude – and the attitude period – which Irena performs this winning rope piece. There are a lot of little things about the piece that make it for me: everything from the costume, to the red lips, to the way she swings the rope around with attitude and then lets the rope swing around her. I love it!


7. Amaury Vanderborght

I think it was the music that really made this video for me, but whatever it is, I can’t stop watching. Amaury’s transitions continue to surprise and inspire me every time I watch this video. You can also view the performance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Alx7DT7sbeo&list=FLA7BTLw1A3kSc-VSwUiP9ug&index=16


8. Gabriel Tramullas

This is a more recent rope video that revived me. When I was training to get back in shape after the birth of my daughter, I was really looking to gain strength on rope. Gabriel’s grace and control never fails to motivate a workout! I’m pregnant again so I can’t imagine doing anything close to this right now, but I know that in about a year, this will be the video I will come back to to pick me up and make me workout!


Who inspires you on Rope? Feel free to share in the comments below. And thank you to everyone who shares their work on YouTube to inspire the rest of us – I really appreciate being able to come back to these videos to be freshly inspired! On that note – steal like an artist. Never copy choreography without explicit permission of the artist.


Aerial Dance = A Lifelong Pursuit

Posted on: August 30th, 2014 by Julianna Hane
Susan Murphy has had a profound influence on my work in aerial dance, and I am thrilled to introduce her to the AerialDancing.com community.  Susan began training with Terry Sendgraff, a gymnast in California who saw potential for expression in the air.  Terry is credited with inventing the single point dance trapeze and starting a movement of self expression and healing through aerial dance.  As one of her proteges, Susan has performed her work at Lincoln Center and currently tours with Girls on Trapeze, an all-female aerial troupe whose work, Herself Rising, recently won Circus Now’s International Contemporary Circus Exposure competition in 2014. If you’ll be in New York January 8th, 2015, you should check it out! Susan will be performing a solo about her grandmother and great-grandmother with plenty of other fabulous pieces from the company at the show. Also Upcoming: Susan is also hosting a retreat this September 2014 at her studio. (See the end of the article for more on that!)


Interview with Ilona Jäntti: Creator of a One Woman Show

Posted on: June 28th, 2014 by Rebekah Leach

ilona jantti


Ilona Jäntti studied circus at Circus Piloterna in Stockholm and contemporary dance at Laban Centre in London obtaining a master’s degree in choreography. Ilona has collaborated with a diverse range of circus, dance and theatre companies and venues including Shakespeare’s Globe, Royal Opera House, The Place and Darwin Centre at National History Museum in the UK, Circo Aereo and Flow Productions in Finland and Cirkus Cirkör in Sweden. She has been a resident artist at V&A Museum of Childhood since 2010. Ilona has been awarded a three-year Artist Grant by the Finnish Government, starting in 2012. We were lucky enough to snag an interview with her between shows at the 2014 Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC. Special thanks to Circus Building for hosting the Meet & Greet event.  (more…)

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