Partner acrobatics – Collaboration

On the other side of chaos, the unknown is waiting to be explored.

History of Partner Acrobatics

Partner acrobatics is an example of a mix of acrobatics and equilibristic. This discipline is primarily based on what two or more human bodies can do in collaboration. Most commonly, one body lifts or tosses another into different positions and acrobatic figures, or they balance together. The bodies most often meet at the main points of contact: hands, feet, shoulders and heads. An artist will normally be specialized either as a flyer or as a base, but the partner acrobats can also be equal in size and therefore change roles. In partner acrobatics, it is the base that is responsible for the balance. The flyer on top must rid him- or herself of balance reflexes and totally rely on the base controlling the balance.

Partner acrobatics is not necessarily performed in pairs but can also be performed with a large number of people, creating different formations and pyramids together. In these instances, the balance is found within the common Centre of mass. Another kind of partner acrobatics is banquine, in which several people join their hands to form a grid of support then used to catapult a flyer into the air. The flyer then lands on someone’s shoulders, at the top of a human pyramid or is caught in other ways by his partners.

Excerpt from "Inside a Circus Heart"

The chaos is back. I always create chaos. Always. Why can’t I stay with my own kind, follow a manual and select a manageable format? I consistently expose those around me and myself to clashes and unconventional meetings between people, perspectives, street and high-end culture, art and science, commercialism, and idealism.

Unconventional meetings cause friction. Friction emits heat – that is certain, but with enough friction, sparks start to fly. You never know which of the sparks will ignite a fire, and you cannot control where or when that fire will burn. And here I am, in the middle of the smouldering sea of fire of confused and whirling sparks. Here, no one agrees.

There is only consensus about one thing. A resounding unison demand for someone to bring some order! I am prepared to throw in the towel and take a strong lead to smother the fire when I ask the partner acrobats how they can stand it. They answer:

When you work with others, you do not only carry your own tangles but theirs too. Everything has the ability to double; confusion becomes double confusion. You are confronted with yourself and your preconceptions. What you consider to be strength suddenly proves not to be strong, and what you think is weakness is not necessarily weak. From all the differences that grind against each other a common expression slowly emerges, one that is something else, I would like to say something more.

I notice that I know what they mean. Out of the friction and the chaos comes the possibility to achieve more than you would together with like-minded people in convenient ways. When you have the strength and the courage to bend the element of chaos, a little further, a little more, the result will be greater than what we can find within our existing horizon of knowledge. That on the other side of chaos, the unknown is waiting to be explored!