This past weekend, I went to the Edinburgh Aerial Acro Convention 2017.
I stayed in a lovely flat at the top of a 17th century tenement on the Royal Mile.
Luckily I am not scared of heights (anymore) - but the spiral staircase did terrible things to my balance after a day hanging upside down... !
I am very much a beginner in all aerial disciplines.
So even the "beginner" classes were a challenge, because most of the other participants were skilled in at least one area of circus fitness.
I went into each of my chosen classes with energy and enthusiasm, but there came a point where I had to take an observational role, to know when to stop!
That's OK - I was useful to others, because I could often see what they needed to do next, even if I was not capable of doing it myself.
My first turned into a private lesson because nobody else had signed up for it - woo hoo!
This was great, because I was able to take my time to break down the mechanics of the most basic "climbs" and "wraps".
I also tried Static Cloud (the loop in the foreground of the above picture).
This required basic trapeze skills (to get up there) but quickly progressed into something springier and swingier.
Really clever people can loop-the-loop, using their own momentum to keep going.
I managed it once and decided that was quite enough for now, thank you :)
A highlight for me was Aerial Cube.
I say "highlight", in the sense that I was deeply intrigued by the prospect of navigating a three-dimensional trapeze-like structure.
I got up there OK, all by myself, using trapeze skills.
And I got down again OK, using monkey bars skills :).
But somewhere in between, I lost my confidence.
Probably when I realised I was too short to reach the top bar from a seated position...
Other people were doing forward rolls over the top bar and dropping to the lower one in one smooth motion.
Me? Ha! No chance!
The teacher had me "drape" myself in a horizontal position, with the aim of rolling across from one side to the other... but I got stuck face-down, flailing like a... flailing thing.
Not very elegant!
I managed to do this though:
I also took Flexibility and Strength classes - both involving pairs' work.
Circus fitness is not suitable for people who guard their personal space too closely.
Ever done a sit-up while a complete stranger is sitting on top of you, trying to push your elbows down to the floor?!
And I tried Corde Lisse - which is basically rope-climbing with artistic dangling once you get up there. I managed a couple of tiny climbs and then dangled at just-off-the-floor-level.
On the Saturday evening, some of our teachers put on a show.
These are professional circus people and they can do all the things.
I was blown away by all of them, but the highlight was definitely the trapeze piece by Chiara.
Here is her YouTube showreel:
Not even in my wildest dreams...!