Dance, Main Stage

A Circa Aerialist Shares Her Top Tips For Warming Up Before A Performance


Circa Artist Bridie Hooper

Bridie Hooper tumbled into Spaghetti Circus at the age of 11, where her imagination became entirely unleashed. She was taught to bend, fly and dream, and at 16, Bridie ventured south to the banks of the Murray River to join the Flying Fruit Fly Circus.

In 2008 Bridie bid Australian soils ‘adieu’ to complete her studies at the Montreal National Circus School where she also had the chance to perform in the Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony, at Festival CIRCA, and in the Montreal Completement Cirque Festival in 2010 and 2011.

Upon graduating in 2012, Bridie toured Quebec with Vague de Cirque, performed in GOP Variété Dummy, and returned to Australia to work for Circa. Since then, Bridie has toured across America, Europe, and Australia and has participated in several new creations for Circa, including When One Door ClosesHumans, and One Beautiful Thing.

Bridie and the rest of the Circa crew roll into Boston for their third Celebrity Series engagement March 2-4 at the Boch Shubert Theatre.

Check out Bridie’s top tips for warming up and flexibility!

Circa Artist Bridie Hooper / Photo by Jordan Maxwell

My top warm up and conditioning tips are based on my body’s needs as an aerialist and contortionist.  My shoulders and back do a lot of work, so it’s important to keep them happy by doing lots of rehab and physiotherapy every day.

1. I love to start my warm up with some thorough shoulder physio using a Theraband (stretchy plastic rope for resistance). This increases rotator cuff strength and keeps all the little muscles in check. I generally spend about twenty minutes on this rehab.

2. The next most important thing is core strength.  I try to do ten minutes of core, including things like planks, dish holds, and ‘dead cockroaches’ (lay on your back with your arms and legs bent up whilst trying to keep your bum and upper back off the floor).  It looks very dead bug like and is a great strength challenge!

3. After that series of quite controlled and planned exercises, I like to take a moment and roll around on the mat, swinging legs, having a groove, dancing about, loosening up the body, and letting myself follow movement that my body feels it wants to do.

4. I love a good split warm up, from lunges to hamstring stretches to sitting in splits and stretching the hips.  It also helps me then warm up my back! Once the hips are warm, it’s much easier for the back to follow.

5. Towards the end of warming up I’ll often work on my straps (an aerial apparatus) or I’ll spend some extra time stretching or foam rolling out areas that need some extra love. I think the most important part about warming up and conditioning is listening to what your body wants that day.

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