Acrobatic Symposium 2015

Acrobatics: Anatomy and Approach

The Acrobatic Symposium took place over two days and included lectures, workshops, artists outlook and round table discussions in which we brought together disciplines such as sports medicine, dance and movement sciences.

This inaugural event was a collaboration between Mimbre and the National Centre for Circus Arts.

Visit the video gallery.


Scroll down for more details and resources on who was speaking and what was covered

James Earls

Writer, lecturer and bodyworker specialising in Myofascial Release and Structural Integration.

Keynote: Limits, What Limits? Range of Motion or Range of Movement

Visit the Video Gallery to watch James' Keynote.

Back bends are everywhere in circus skills, whether it be hand balancing, contortion or trapeze, the performer has to extend through the full body. Full body movement requires full body involvement but yet many performers sacrifice areas that move easily to compensate for limitations elsewhere. Training our eyes to see and/or feel the sequences of ‘essential events’ can be an empowering skill for the trainer and especially for the performer.

This presentation will explore the contribution of individual joints to long range movements and what happens if one area or joint doesn’t give enough. Often we see the areas that move too much and miss the actual culprits. Many examples will be shown and explained, some of which may surprise you but will certainly increase your ability to see the beyond the limitations.

Silvia Fratelli

Founding member and joint Artistic Director of international circus and street performance theatre company, Mimbre.

Break Out Session: Women specific training needs, pregnancy and post-natal training

Visit the Video Gallery to watch the discussion.

As circus training has become more main stream and the demography of performers has become wider, there are increasingly more questions asked about pregnancy and circus training. The need of more awareness of the considerations which should be looked at during pregnancy when training circus, lead to this discussion group. 

This report is a written version of the open discussion that took place at the Symposium and is by no means intended as guidelines, recommendations or advice for pregnant or post-natal circus performers.

Lina Johansson

Founding member and joint Artistic Director of international circus and street performance theatre company, Mimbre.

Presentation: Using your Creativity to Deal with the Obstacles

Visit the Video Gallery to watch the Lina's presentation.

Unlike sports, circus is as much a search for originality as a pursue of difficult techniques. Sometimes not being able to do something the 'normal' way can bring impulses to create more original material, finding different ways to achieve a trick where the way in and out might be the highlight, or encounter a whole different approach to the performance. This session reflects on how we can use our creativity constructively in how we approach different body-types, injuries or disabilities; allowing obstacles and falls to shoot us in a different direction instead of just crashing into the floor.

Arran Peck

Strength and Conditioning Coach and Athletic development specialist for the Lawn Tennis Association.

Keynote: If you wanna be the best, you need to plan your rest: organising training to optimise performance.

Visit the Video Gallery to watch the Arran's Keynote.

"There can be no doubt the training and performance of circus skills is physically demanding. The often unconventional pathway to the circus arts and divergent training histories of the aspirant performer makes the planning and progression of development programmes more challenging than in many other physical pursuits. Frequently overlooked in this process is the importance and need for properly planned recovery between drills, sessions and days, without which general wellness and physical adaptation are compromised and successful performance & longevity in the circus arts is at risk. At the end of this presentation, you will understand a little more about the science behind training optimisation as it relates to other artistic, skill based and physical endeavours." 

Edel Quin and Emma Redding

Edel is the Programme Leader MSc Dance Science at Trinity Laban. Emma is the Head of Dance Science at Trinity Laban.

Presentation: Supporting training and performance from a Dance Science perspective.

Visit the Video Gallery to watch the Edel's Keynote.

This presentation will describe the work of the Dance Science Department at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. We will explain the various ways in which student dancers are supported in terms of their health and well-being particularly in relation to our screening programme and discuss the educational opportunities for students and staff in the area of safe dance practice and dancer well-being.

Jami Tikkanen

Coach to Annie Thorisdottir - Worlds Fittest Woman 2011 and 2012, Movement specialist, Osteopath.

Keynote: Movement, a common language for high performance.

Ability to move effortlessly unites high performers in all fields of physical practise including sports and performance arts. All human movement, regardless of its form, shares common themes. Our opportunity as coaches, teachers and physical performers lies in looking for solutions to our challenges across different disciplines rather than limiting ourselves only to our own field of expertise. We will explore a simple model of understanding movement in an effort to introduce a common language and to encourage collaboration across circus arts and other forms of movement practise.

Will Tullett

Movement Specialist at Chelsea Football Academy.

Keynote: Maximising physical potential, a long term pathway.

Visit the Video Gallery to watch the Will's Keynote.

This talk will firstly highlight the surprising development similarities between circus performers and young footballers. What are the outcomes we are both looking for? What environments are we aiming to set our athletes up to succeed in? A physical development model will be set out which is applicable irrespective of the desired sporting specialisation. This model will look at the development process from a pre-elite and into elite performance enhancement perspective and explore how we can set young people up to have long and healthy careers far before they specialise into a single discipline.

James Wellington

Director, Perform Health Ltd. Performing Arts Physiotherapist.

Presentation: The Challenging Role of the Physiotherapist in the Performing Arts Sector.

Visit the Video Gallery to watch the James' presentation.

Exploring the medical needs of Circus Artists. A philosophy and approach.