Behind the Scenes with Jenn Bruyer

We recently had the pleasure of hosting Jenn Bruyer as a guest artist this past month. She taught local workshops and performed in our local show (that was broadcast on Facebook live– hopefully you got to see it!), but the real work was done when she got behind the camera for 10 grueling hours of filming. She was the first guest artist to cover three apparatuses! We took photos and video of her on fabric, sling and trapeze. These videos are now in the editing queue and will hit the video library as soon as we get them done. We hope that you can get to know the artist behind the camera as we did. She’s a joy to be around. ūüôā¬†
Before you found aerial arts, who were you?  How did the discovery change your life path? 

Before I found aerial arts, I was primarily a rock climber. But, more to the point, I was someone to pushed my own personal limits with my chosen activities until I burned out and moved on… over¬†ten years later… I’m still loving every minute of my air time in this circus life. Finding aerial changed my life in every imaginable way. It’s my work, my life and my love. It gives me a venue for creative expression and also satisfies my need for physicality… the two things my body and brain crave most.

What are your pre-performance habits/routines?¬† How do you get “in the zone”?¬†¬†

I usually don’t do much… unless you consider the incredible amount of prep work that goes into creating something that you really feel is ready to present. Other than that… I tend to just show up and try to be the best version of myself I can be that day.

What motivates you to train?  When do you feel the most creative?

I’m motivated by the need to solve problems and answer the question: what’s next!?!

What skill is your nemesis?

Trapeze – Pull over to ankles. I mean, what’s wrong with my butt?!?

What is your favorite trait to discover in a new student? 

The willingness to accept change.
Below is the trapeze piece that she debuted while she was here at our Born to Fly Curriculum headquarters. The following quote sums up the intent behind the dance:

“One day, whether you are 14, 28 or 65,

you will stumble upon someone who will start a fire in you that cannot die.

However, the saddest, most awful truth you will ever come to find‚Äď‚Äď

is they are not always with whom we spend our lives.‚Ä̬†

‚Äē Beau Taplin

And below is an example of one the videos that just got released in our video library from Jenn. This combination puts together moves from our Born to Fly Sling Curriculum. She has given us lots of new sling things to inspire and explore!

Look for more fun things from Jenn in the months to come in our video library!
Jenn is driven by her focus on fabric and sling (hammock) but also enjoys exploring cord lisse, cloud swing, trapeze, lyra, net and rope & harness. She has coached, choreographed and performed across the US from New York to Alaska. And has recently resettled in Seattle, WA after completing a 5 month 25 city workshop teaching tour, which you may have met her on! You can learn more about on her website:



Trapeze Contributions by Guest Artist McKinley Vitale

Hey all! Quick General Announcement before we get to the trapeze stuff::: will remain at this url for now, but please notice that we have updated our logo. We are now Born to Fly Curriculum. You may see this change reflected on our Instagram page and Facebook page as well. Thanks!

McKinley’s Recent Visit

This past month (December 2017), McKinley Vitale made the trek out from Atlanta to visit me in Castle Rock, Colorado. McKinley had a good time performing in our local show (which was broadcast live on facebook), and fun working with our local students, but the work that you might be interested in is our filming of trapeze moves for the Born to Fly Curriculum!

Melissa Roberts, of Canopy Studio, did a fantastic job lying the foundation for me for trapeze curriculum in 2016.¬† Since then, I have moved to Colorado and opened a studio, giving me a chance to beta-test the trapeze curriculum on beginning students. I have to admit trapeze is still a hard-sell at the studio. There aren’t enough beginner moves that “don’t hurt” and sling has definitely been the winner for beginning classes. Those who are wanting to try trapeze at the studio are a little more advanced and I found myself in a position in hunger for more trapeze.

Enter McKinley. She picked up where Melissa left off with intermediate trapeze and away we flew! We documented–through videos and photography–moves such as hip circles, teddy bear transitions to ankles, etc, around the world variations and much much more.

Some Puzzles We Worked On

One of the highlights that stood out was playing with all the variety of leg rolls that you can do on trapeze. See if you can identify the following rolls:


trapeze moves

(1) is the basic leg roll. To enter this roll, the free leg must be threaded around the rope the moment before you roll up into the trapeze. (2) is the reverse

(3) is the Leanna roll and (4) is the reverse Leanna roll. It might be a little hard to see the “reverse” in the ending pose, but the entry is clearly reversed. Again, the reverse part of the name is coming from switching the base leg, not because you are switching direction. The last roll pictured (5) is the Mermaid roll, which is a roll where both legs are in the Leanna roll and you end in a mermaid position of the body.

The next puzzle that I am having fun exploring is all the variations of surrender. Surrender is a classic Canopy pose that has a moving story which we covered in another blog. Here are 4 variations we discovered recently:

trapeze moves2

As you may be able to tell, some variations are more comfortable than others. I’ve been having fun trying to find new ways into all these positions. You can find one of my latest solutions on¬†our¬†Instagram page here:

Now I have the fun job of going through the 1,000’s of photos and sifting through hundreds of videos to edit all the right ones for you! Thankfully, I just hired on some help for this massive project, so hopefully, it won’t be too too long before these moves hit the video library. Eventually, this will all become a part of the trapeze manual, but there are some other manuals ahead in line, so it won’t be coming out just yet. In the meantime, hopefully you get inspired to play on trapeze like I have and send me what you discover! I’m always looking for new trapeze ideas and curriculum, so if you want to share, feel free to do so!!!

4 Secrets of a Successful Studio: Suspend of Louisville, KY

Two like-minded professionals saw the same vision: opening a dedicated aerial space in their town. Meg Johnson Wallace, a University Professor, and Anne Boock Miller, a neuropsychologist, connected four years ago over their common enjoyment of the aerial arts. In March 2015, they decided to co-found Suspend, Louisville’s first and only facility dedicated exclusively to aerial arts and cirque fitness.

suspend studioSuspend opened its doors in June 2015.  For only being open about 9 months, their track record is impressive. They have a packed schedule with over 55 classes supported by 8 instructors and cater to approximately 200 students. These two owners have been busy! They joke that opening night was so good that it explains why Meg coincidentally has been pregnant for 9 months, haha! (She gave birth to a healthy baby boy Osborn Wallace Johnson March 10, 2016.)

The dynamic duo have undoubtedly stumbled found the secrets to a successfully run studio, and¬†they’ve given me permission to share some of them with you.

Number 1: We’re Taking about Smart Leaders

It’s not that they have other careers-It’s that they are smart women! In what she jokingly calls her ¬†“big girl job”, Meg is a professor of¬†Philosophy, with a specialization in metaphysics.

Anne comments of Meg, “I notice that she takes a very discovery oriented approach to teaching. She encourages students to work through problems with the apparatuses, and I think that is why she is drawn most to fabric. She enjoys difficult questions that have difficult and ambiguous answers, and I see that when she performs.”

Anne’s knowledge of the¬†brain translates to how she relates to students. She can work with anyone, of any ability, and it has had a wonderful impact on the culture of the studio. It has even¬†influenced studio policy in indirect ways because she understands how various age groups function.

suspend-main-logoNumber 2: Intentional Choices

There was intentional design behind every decision. Let’s take the logo for example. ¬†When they went to choose a design, it was important to them to choose a design that wasn’t feminine (which is all too easy to do when you are a female designing an inspiring logo.) If you take a look at the Suspend logo, you get the sense that this place is for adults and kids, men and women. And their deliberate choice shows in their student population. They have nearly 50% males in many of their classes. (Most studios across the country are over 90% female in aerial classes. Statistic by observation.)

This kind of intentional decision shows up in every detail of their business, to how they label classes, to the way they advertise. I wish every studio thought about their choices with as much clarity of the end goal as these women have done.

Number 3: Safety 

They spot every person on every apparatus from day one and continue their heavy support through the learning process (lightening up for advanced students when appropriate). Their safety is further bolstered with thick crash mats under every apparatus, on top of gymnastics flooring (which can be rolled back and easily moved around the room).

While I was at the studio, I got the chance to observe a beginning fabric class. Many studios may spot selectively or let people to explore on their own after they have tried on their own so that people get more time on the fabric. At Suspend, 8 students watch their classmates take their turns on one fabric so that each student can individually be guided and spotted. At first, I thought this kind of spotting was excessive because students get so little airtime, but as I kept watching the class, there was a moment where one person started slipping out of their position. The instructor was right there to catch them and everyone watching was learning more about how to move or not move.

suspendBecause Suspend is a heavy-spotting studio, as well as the other choices they have made in setting up their studio, they have attracted people who might not normally fit the mold of who takes aerial. One of my favorite students of theirs was a young girl with Cochlear implants. She was taking class with a young boy with glasses. The young boy asked her what those things on her head were, and her mom explained, “These help her to hear better just like glasses help you see better. In a way, these are like glasses for her ears.” It was such a precious moment to watch. Not only were the children enjoying class, but the parents were right in there, trading off on the hoop as well.

(Notice Anne being her usual encouraging self in the background of the photo! Photo by Kevin Spalding of FotoeWizard.)

Number 4: A Network of Support 

They have an amazing support system. Not only do Meg and Anne have each other to lean on for continual support, but they have highly supportive families supporting them. Meg’s husband is a computer guru and has given the studio support for their website. Anne’s husband is a lawyer. He has contributed his consulting skills,¬†including helping with all the proper permits to be up to city codes, etc.

On Suspend’s website, they describe their¬†classes: “Classes are designed to improve strength, flexibility, focus, balance, and poise in a playful and inspiring atmosphere, which encourages health and community.” These goals have been set and they are reaching them.¬†I have witnessed first-hand the wonderful community that they are growing, and I’m excited to see what happens next for them.

For our Video Library Addition:

Anne taught me a modern dance sequence on the ground. (Note how the picture shows a very classic modern dance movement.) After we learned the sequence on the ground, we took it to the air.

This sequence is BRAINY! It’s done in palindrome style, which Anne came up with. I think of complicated things, but I wouldn’t have ever thought to do a palindrome. Read more about it in the video library. (See New Releases for March.)

Note: a Palindrome is a sequence that mirrors itself like racecar or 3245423. In this case, it’s a movement sequence.

suspend sequence.00_02_23_17.Still007