SFCF is proud to host instructors from around the country in a wide range of disciplines. In addition to offering classes in aerial and ground disciplines, we are excited to host a variety of workshops. From rigging, stage make-up, show production, panel discussions & more, SFCF will have something for everyone. Come join us and Immerse Yourself in Circus!
Our 2017 Schedule Is Coming Soon!
SFCF 2017 Class Offerings
Allie Cooper: Introduction to Momentum and Efficient pathways (Beginners+/Int) This single-workshop is a great introduction to momentum that will break down the mechanics of common pathways. It is ideal for intermediate/advanced students looking to explore flow in their aerial technique. Beginners will build a strong foundation by following a safe progression while students looking for refinement in their technique will be challenged with more intricate pathways and drills. There will be an emphasis on conditioning for strength and endurance as we search for the most efficient pathway. While I find it easier to introduce these pathways on rope, students who want to work on silks are welcome to do so. - Pre-requisite: Students must be able to climb, hipkey, and invert in the air (repeatedly!) Vertical Theory (Advanced Beginner/Int) In this 4-day workshop we will explore fundamental wraps and the relationships between them. Understanding vertical theory will allow for efficient sequencing and innovative transitions, allowing us to always know Where We Are and our options of where to go next. This is an Adv.Beginner/Intermediate workshop but Advanced aerialists will also be challenged both physically and mentally and we use our bodies and brains in the air.Pr-requisites: Ability to invert repeatedly in the air 5 times, clean hip key in the air, students have at least 6 months of aerial experience and good grip strength.
Backwards and Forward (Int/Adv) This series-workshop offers variations on familiar moves and breaks down the relationships and transitions between them. Fundamental momentum pathways will be applied as new entries and exits are introduced. Students will be challenged to test their understanding of aerial theory as we explore phrases in retrograde. - Pre-requisite: Students must be able to invert in the air (repeatedly!)
Slack-drag Loops (Int/Adv) Slack-drags are tricky entries for many common movements. This workshop will introduce the different slack-drags and offer tips to execute them with and without momentum. This is a fun and challenging workshop that will make your brain work! - Pre-requisite: Students should have some foundation with beats and a solid familiarity with catchers, swrap, inside seatbelt, and hiplock. Students must be able to invert in the air (repeatedly!)
Get a Grip (Int/Adv Silks) In this workshop we will explore how utilizing different grips in sequencing allows for smoother transitions in our choreography. We'll work backwards to discover efficient pathways and new entrances into familiar moves.
Jen Bruyer: Flashy Skills (Fabric) Workshop Level: Intermediate We’ve all seen it… That routine that looks so showstopping but seems so simple we can’t help but think… I can do that. And, you can. In this workshop we will learn how to add some flash without breaking the bank. Not every jaw dropping skill has to be terrifying, impossibly painful or require some super human strength. We will explore some really accessible skills that will add some extra sparkle to your routine. Students can expect to work on: simple but surprising drops, flips, unexpected set ups for standardized skills and showy poses.
Creating Continuous Movement on Fabric (2 part series) Level: Intermediate This workshop/mini series will explore the pieces and parts of ascending, descending and rotational movement; structure and the methodology to combine it all. Together we will twist, spiral, invert, roll, wrap and construct our way up, down and through the vertical canvas.
Behind the Curtains – Fabric Theory (3 part series) Level: Intermediate This workshop will begin to explore the many parts of fabric theory. Length/tension management, wraps, locks, knots, separation, stick vs. slide, sculpture, complex relationships and the methodology of direction changing drops.
Tanya Burka: Wheeldown Helicopter Special Snowflake Why must it be so hard?!?! A workshop focused on improving your wheeldown on silks (or rope too) without rearranging your internal organs. Drills, conditioning, muscle isolations, hand placement options, and flexibility all specifically geared towards mastering this evil evil trick. Wear a tight shirt that can tuck firmly into your leggings. (2 hours)
*Easy – Aerial silks sequencing/choreography (3 days) Get your drama on! Sometimes there’s no better way to have fun AND start getting a feel for composing choreography than by learning someone else’s. Join Tanya for a 3-day workshop using intermediate-level skills to learn choreography set to music. Even though the skills are staying at an intermediate level, prepare to be challenged: the pacing of transitions and rhythm is geared towards performance level. Prerequisites: Intermediate level on aerial silks – at least 2-3 semesters of experience. Clean inversions and endurance to work in the air for up to 3 minutes along with being able to consistently execute skills like double foot locks, single star drop, and hip key with good form.
Trapeze: Single Point Trapeze/Dance TrapezeCoach: Xochitl Sosa Prerequisites: 3 straight arm straddle ups, 1 arm hang, meathooks. This workshop is all about spinning and finding transitions with the spin. We will learn some traditional low flying dance trapeze techniques as well as a more contemporary take on the single point trapeze. Since Dance Trapeze is usually about flow and movement we will work in sequences, concentrating on being moved by the spin instead of moving around the spin.
Trapeze:Contortion TrapezeCoach: Xochitl Sosa Prerequisites: Backbend on the ground, comfortable in splits both sides, straight arm inversion, inversion in the ropes. To all the bendy people out there, come learn techniques on how to use the trapeze to showcase your flexibility. Trapeze is the perfect apparatus to bend and fold around we will learn how to use the ropes and dynamic bar techniques to look our bendiest!
Trapeze: All About the Beat Level 1, The Basics to Beats and Tempos: Coach: Xochitl SosaPrerequisites: Experience with beats, comfortable in knee hang. This workshop is all about beats and tempos. We will concentrate on how to generate momentum through breaking down the physics of beats. From there we’ll dive into the possibilities accompanied with momentum, how to link tricks together and find exploration in your weightless moments. This workshop will improve your body awareness on the trapeze and teach you how to extract the most from your movement. This is a beginner/intermediate level workshop it will cover basic techniques on how to understand beats and tempos.
Trapeze: AdvancedAll About the Beat 2 Coach: Xochitl Sosa Prerequisites: Comfortable with beats and switch beats, 5 straight arm inversions, 5 pullups, working towards more high level dynamic tricks. This workshop will take beats and tempos to the next level. We will work on using weightless moments in the front and back of the beat to execute tricks. We will look at pops and release moves and how to safely work towards those tricks. This is a high level workshop for people who have experience on the trapeze and want to work on higher level tricks.
Trapeze: Exploring through Transitions Coach: Xochitl Sosa Prerequisites: Inversion in the rope, 2 years trapeze experience, 2 pullups. Sometimes trapeze can get a bit rigid and static. This workshop will introduce a new theory towards movement on the trapeze. First we will focus on using momentum and how with proper technique you can begin exploration in your moment of air. Secondly we will go over some sequences that begin unveiling a whole new language of trapeze. From sequencing in the ropes to movement under the bar we will play with a variety of new transitions that will bring a fresh breathe to choreography on the trapeze.
Trapeze:The Art of Duo Coach: Xochitl Sosa Partnering is about finding movement and weight with another human being. This workshop will cover fundamental partnering on trapeze as well as covering solid technique for basing and lifting. This workshop will also go into improv and tools on how to find individual movement with a partner.
Dynamic Rope w/Emiliano Ron Each workshop will be 2 hours of rope awesomeness. Options for Int/Adv and All Levels classes. 1 day option, 2 day option, 3 day option & 5 day option available
Rope: Advanced Facility with Abandon Coach: Terry Crane Prerequisites: 1 year of rope or tissue training, ability to do 4 pull-ups, ability to do 8 bent-arm, or 4 straight-arm straddle-ups. In this workshop, students will practice moving dynamically with a sense of ease and effortless-ness on the vertical rope. We’ll practice a progression of beats and exercises to generate momentum, and then explore using this momentum to maximum effect, either in flashy power moves or to wrap the rope hands-free. Time allowing, other topics may include: fake release moves, building large drops, using body shape to balance on the rope, and some sequences of movement to take home.
Rope: AdvancedRolling Up Coach: Terry Crane Prerequisites: 1 year of rope or tissue training, ability to do 4 pull-ups, ability to do 8 bent-arm, or 4 straight-arm straddle-ups. Rolling up is about learning how to use your core strength and flexibility, as well as organizing your body to use balance and weight to your advantage. In this workshop, we begin on the ground, and learn a progression of exercises to which will break down the technique to roll up the rope. As time permits, we’ll work on a variety of knots and styles of rolling up the rope.
Rope: AdvancedPartnering Coach: Terry Crane Prerequisites: 1 year of rope or tissue training, ability to do 4 pull-ups, ability to do 8 bent-arm, or 4 straight-arm straddle-ups. Two people on a single rope demands some creativity and practice to move gracefully through the air. This workshop will give experienced aerialists some basic building blocks for rope partnering, such as 5 positions you can base from, ways of climbing and dropping together, as well as some practice working and communicating as a duo. No partner required for this workshop.
The Other Wheel of Death - Aerial Hoop Conditioning Aerial hoop takes a different balance of muscles than vertical apparatus like silks or rope, and often the muscle firing patterns aren't intuitive. Come torture yourself in that best of ways by doing apparatus-specific conditioning (and a tiny bit of flexibility!) that will help your lyra skills get to the next level. (2 hours)
Cheating on Me – Lyra choreography (3 days) Get your drama on! Sometimes there’s no better way to have fun AND start getting a feel for composing choreography than by learning someone else’s. Join Tanya for a workshop using intermediate-level skills to learn a short choreography set to music. Even though the skills are staying at an intermediate level, prepare to be challenged: the pacing of transitions and rhythm is geared towards performance level. Prerequisites: Intermediate level on aerial hoop – at least 2-3 semesters of experience. Two pullups from dead hang, solid inversions, endurance to work in the air for up to 3 minutes in a row, and willingness to work in sustained spin along with skills like single knee hang, back balance, front support, and candlestick.
Swing Kids/ Like a Record Baby - Lyra spin and swing technique and sequencing (4 days) The two primary and most challenging techniques of aerial hoop are spinning, and swinging. In this workshop we'll spend time developing both. Swinging technique is one of the most fun parts of aerial hoop and, when done right, feels effortless. Learn the correct way to tap, vault, and tempo in swing, and instead of feeling like a sack of potatoes up there you’ll start to feel like you’re flying! The spinning section will work on fundamental concepts in spin direction, efficiency and centering to help you learn how to link skills together in a faster spin. These three elements are the keys to avoiding nausea and having the right balance of flow versus flash in a true spinning sequence. We’ll also cover some great methods for generating more spin off the floor, tricks to help with dizziness/discomfort, and trouble spots to watch out for as you get more comfortable increasing the rotational speed. Prerequisites: Intermediate to advanced level – at least 2-3 semesters of experience. Be willing to work on longer sequences in spin, and have two pullups from dead hang and solid inversions. This workshop is open to people who don’t specialize in aerial hoop, as the techniques are also applicable to dance trapeze, sling etc. But have solid intermediate/advanced level in your discipline and know transferable skills like mermaid, gazelle, amazon etc.
Basic Flexibility Coach: Melissa Knowles Prerequisites: None For total beginners and those wanting foundational tools for their stretching needs. Students will learn how to connect and mobilize their bodies safely with foundational passive and active stretches to increase the flexibility in their legs, backs, hips, and shoulders. The goal is to learn ways to increase their range of motion, understand the difference between concentric contraction and eccentric contraction, and learn how to relax during a stretch in order to reduce tension and avoid injury.
Advanced Flexibility/ContortionWorking the Back and Splits Coach: Melissa Knowles Prerequisites: Backbend with hands over shoulders and at least 1' from feet, Hold a chest stand for at least 20 seconds, Controlled backbend from standing, Full/square Side Splits This workshop is for students who have already achieved a higher level of flexibility, control, and coordination. Students should have a deep knowledge of their body including how to control and move a stretch to different places in their body. Focus will be on increasing active flexibility and learning to safely hold positions in a cheststand, elbowstand and handstand.
'Obscureography' for Sling (Choreography) Workshop Level: Intermediate on sling, Prerequisites: basic forward dive to crucifix, ability to invert from standing in sling Sling is my absolute favorite! It’s the perfect mix of fluidity, contour continuation and dynamic freedom (in a supported setting). It allows for concepts that are not possible on any other apparatus, giving it a vocabulary and movement style all its own. Join me to discover my particular brand of aerial sling panache I’ve spent years developing. Examples may include: unusual mounts, alternative and asymmetric set ups for dives and drops, direction changing drops, thready and unexpected pathways, intriguing sculptural shapes and of course, obscure aerial items of interest.
Dynamic Sling Workshop Level: Intermediate on sling, Prerequisites: basic forward dive to crucifix, ability to invert from standing in sling Sling is my absolute favorite! In part due to the dynamic freedom you can explore in so many unique ways. It allows for drops and dynamic concepts that are not possible on any other apparatus. Beyond creating and perfecting skills for use on sling, this work can often be translated to other apparatus for conditioning, pathway development and ultimately choreography. Examples may include: beats, flairs, releases, spins, both simple and complex dives and drops, alternative and asymmetric set ups and direction changing drops.
Flashy Skills for Sling Workshop Level: Intermediate, Prerequisites: ability to salto on fabric, windmill on fabric (recommended), forward dive on sling, ability to invert standing in sling We’ve all seen it… That routine that looks so showstopping but seems so simple we can’t help but think… I can do that. And, you can. In this workshop we will learn how to add some flash without breaking the bank. Not every jaw dropping skill has to be terrifying, impossibly painful or require some super human strength. We will explore some really accessible skills that will add some extra sparkle to your routine. Students can expect to work on: simple but surprising drops, flips, unexpected set ups for standardized skills and showy poses.
Sling for Intermediate Aerialists (3 part series) Level: Intermediate skill level on fabric, trapeze, lyra or rope Sling is my absolute favorite! It’s the perfect mix of fluidity, contour continuation and dynamic freedom (in a supported setting). While it uses techniques and gathers inspiration from fabric, lyra or trapeze, it allows for concepts that are not possible on any other apparatus, giving it a vocabulary and movement style all its own. Examples may include: fundamentals, open sling and closed sling skills, mounts, dives and drops, beats, sculptural shapes and balances. Join me to explore how what you already love to do can translate to this new and unusual form.
Acrobatic Partnering w/Dan Stern Prerequisites: none Through a modern approach to partnering, a combination of traditional circus pyramids, adagio, and duo acrobatics, this session hmis will ephasize how to establish and maintain a physical connection with others through various static poses and dynamic transitions. No prior experience is necessary and feel free to come alone or with an established partnership.
Partner Acrobatics: A Crash Course Intensive w/Dan Stern Prerequisites: general comfort standing, occasional comfort standing on hands Just because your business card says 'aerialist' doesn't mean you're exempt from ground choreography and even worse, someone some day may even ask you to do acrobatics with another living, breathing human being! Expect this week long session to be a 'crash course' in lifting, throwing, catching and stacking people on the ground. Each day will be split into technical and artistic developments, encouraging confidence and safe exploration of the techniques taught.
Handstands / Conditioning
Stretching for Handstands Coach: Melissa Knowles Prerequisites: All levels This workshop will focus on alignment drills and stretching/strengthening the wrists, shoulders, pike, and straddle to find better positioning, compression, and alignment for your handstand.
Condition Your Handstand! Coach: Melissa Knowles Prerequisites: Ability to kick into a handstand against the wall, Hold a plank for one minute on your hands in good form Come ready to train and work hard! This will be a fast paced workshop with lots of core, shoulder, and compression work that will use solo and partnered drills. Focus will be on good form and technique for each exercise to insure the best positioning possible.
Other (acro, performance, clowning, cyr, juggling)
Juggling: All LevelsCreative Ball Juggling Coach: Ty Vennewitz Learn variations on the basics in this engaging workshop for all ages and abilities. Three ball juggling forms the foundation for countless manipulations while building coordination. Ty’s years of juggling, dance and clowning experience offer a unique perspective to this traditional art.
Hula Hooping: All Levels Coach: Ty Vennewitz Everyone gets a turn in this group hoop jam and skill share. A master of comedic hooping, Ty will guide you through a dizzying array of tricks or help you master the basics. Learn to hoop on your hands, hips, feet and even on your friends.
Multicordes: Intermediate/advanced (in silk or rope)Coach: Sara Randall Multicordes is a technique where you have a lot of 1 cm thick ropes in a bunch together. Because they hang straight down you can do silk and rope tricks in them, but because there are more of them and they are skinny it is also possible to do similar things to straps, handstand and even some chinese pole. I teach a combination of technique and creating own material in the ropes.
Movement Research/Development Coach: Cooper Stanton Dance workshop for any level (or mixed level group), focusing on organic movement - assisting participants in finding their own authentic style in an improv based environment.
Dance/Acro Technique Coach: Cooper Stanton Providing tools to expand the basic repertoire of Acrobatic Dance. This workshop is best suited for participants with at least 2 years of dance experience (any style) and basic acrobatic proficiency (cartwheels, rolls, walkovers).
Clowning and Physical Theater Coach: Ty Vennewitz, Terry Crane When asked: “What do wish you knew as a young artist? What skill has been the most valuable to you in your career? What would you teach young you?” Acrobatic Conundrum answered with a resounding “Clowning!” Whether your focus is dance, theater or circus: you have something to learn from this workshop about physicality, truth, storytelling and comedy.
Master Class: Loop Coach: Terry Crane Length: 5 days, includes performance on Saturday Prerequisites: Applicants should have a background in vertical aerial (tissue or rope), a year minimum. Other skillsets such as aerial partnering, partner acrobatics, or tumbling may be useful as as well.
The aerial loop threaded through 2 pulleys has many different configurations, each with their own possibilities for interaction. The apparatus is by nature a partnered form, as there is no inherently fixed point, and everything that occurs on one side must be counterbalanced on the opposite side. With a small group of aerialists, we will explore several modes of operation for this apparatus. Time permitting, we’ll research new concepts with this apparatus. With the ensemble of artists who will undertake this workshop together, we will build a short presentation of the skills explored in this workshop. **Loop Master Class will perform their piece Saturday afternoon (8/14). All participants must be available for the performance in order to attend this workshop.
Netiquette w/Tanya Burka The internet is the wild wild west of the aerial world these days - from Instagram influencers to password protection on your videos, let's talk about netiquette. How do you take inspiration from other's public work without becoming a copycat? Are there conventions about how and when to credit other's source material, or how to establish contacts? What's the trend with websites and promos these days? Bring paper, pen and burning questions! (2 hours)
Basic Bidtch w/Tanya Burka Starting to work professionally? Don't get burned by not having a contract to give your client or - worse - not knowing what to put in it! Let's go over basics of bidding and contracting with a client for event work so that your rights as an artist are protected. Bring paper, pen and burning questions!!! (2 hours)
Cirque-style Makeup w/Tanya Burka Want to make a statement, or are you working on a large stage? Learn the steps to doing full cirque style makeup designs - rules, tips, tricks, cheats! Tanya will demo on herself (or potentially a brave volunteer) while explaining the process and how to create different looks using step-by-step templates. Bring paper, pen and burning questions! (2 hours)
Devising/Performing Workshops Stage ready - Fine tuning and act development for aerials: Intermediate/Advanced Coach: Xochitl Sosa Prerequisites: 3-5 min endurance on an apparatus, 3 inversions in the air, 3 pullups. Making an act can be stressful. This workshop will cover tools of preparing your body to be stage ready: exercises for getting beautiful lines, endurance and musicality. As well as tools on how to develop your act, playing with structure, character and movement. A lot goes into making an aerial act having a variety of tools to assist you saves you time and helps bring your work to a next level. This workshop has been developed from my years of act research and experience creating acts.
Collaboration & Company Building AKA How to make a small contemporary circus company, the AC Method In this 3 hour workshop, we’re going to touch on a variety of topics which will help you make a contemporary circus company.. Topics to be covered will include: choosing collaborators, company structure, division of labor, show creation, collaboration, and production. The class will be approximately will be equal parts lecture, discussion, and hands-on practicum. The aim of this workshop is to give you information on how to best create or maintain a company that is financially feasible and makes quality circus ensemble work in an environment of fun.
One Arm Positions: Hooks, Flags, Spinning and Beyond Prerequisites: intermediate or advanced aerial experience This week long session will focus single arm positions that are commonly seen across aerial apparatuses. Meathooks (front flag), flags (back flag, reverse meathook, 'armbreaker') and their numerous variations will be closely investigated for not only their physical stability, but also for their aesthetic and artistic versatility. Students will take a look an extensive look at the physical preparation necessary for safe transitions into and out of these positions as well as how to use the shoulder to support the body and similarly, how the the body itself can make the position lighter and more comfortable. All participants will be encouraged to train some of the fundamentals on straps, but are welcome to bring, train and practice the application of this technique on their preferred aerial apparatus (rope, fabric, hoop, trapeze).
Straps for Aerialists Prerequisites: previous aerial experience (fabric, trapeze, rope) Working on the aerial straps requires the body to support itself, and as such, is a great cross-training tool for all aerialists. Fundamental positions on straps teach excellent body awareness and can help stretch, strengthen and stabilize the shoulders, arms and core. Beyond being a wonderful apparatus for performance in its own right, training on straps can build strong, healthy bodies for any work in the air.
SAVE YOUR SHOULDERS! Shoulder Injury Prevention for Circus Artists Are you at risk for shoulder injury? This highly interactive, two-hour workshop will lead a through a battery of circus-specific strength and flexibility tests to determine your injury risk during participation in circus activities. You will receive either a pass/ fail score on each part of the test, and will be instructed in specific exercises for the components that you did not pass. At the end of the workshop, you will have a comprehensive injury- prevention plan of exercises, mobility drills, and stretches that is specific to YOU and your body! You will also be instructed in the BEST warm up and cool down routine that will both optimize your athletic performance AND prevent future injuries!
Circus Booty: The key to a pain-free spine Are you at risk for low back injury? This highly interactive, two-hour virtual workshop will lead a through a battery of low-back, circus-specific strength and flexibility tests to determine your injury risk during participation in circus activities. You will receive either a pass/ fail score on each part of the test, and will be instructed in specific exercises for the components that you did not pass. At the end of the workshop, you will have a comprehensive injury-prevention plan of exercises, mobility drills, and stretches that is specific to YOU and your body! You will also be instructed in an optimal warm up and cool down routine that will both optimize your athletic performance AND prevent future injuries!
Supercharge Your Splits! This workshop will give your flexibility/contortion practice a serious boost, and give you the tools necessary to prevent injuries while (safely) getting even bendier legs! There are many anatomic structures that can limit flexibility and mobility, and muscles are just one of them. This workshop will teach you how to address ALL structures that limit flexibility, and how to integrate this into your training. We will discuss methods to address joint mobility, nerve tension, muscle tension, and ACTIVE flexibility issues surrounding front, back, and middle splits, and how to leverage various tools, such as the peanut and the superband. A large emphasis will be placed on active flexibility and end range control, and how to make sure that you’re supporting your flexibility with strong stabilizer muscles.
Bending backwards, part 1- low back and hips This workshop will amp up your backbends, while also teaching you strategies to prevent injury, with a focus on the low back and hips. We will break down the anatomy and mechanics of a proper back bend, and then address each structure in a step-by-step fashion. You’ll learn active flexibility drills, end-range control drills, and self-mobilization strategies, leveraging the peanut and the superband. A large emphasis will be placed on active flexibility and end range control, and how to make sure that you’re supporting your flexibility with strong stabilizer muscles.
Bending backwards, part 2- shoulders and upper back Are your aerial shoulders getting in the way of your backbending?! This workshop will focus on safely improving your upper back and shoulder mobility, so that these regions will start contributing more to your composite backbend. You will also learn strategies to prevent injury while working towards increased flexibility. We will break down the anatomy and mechanics of a proper back bend, and then address each structure in a step-by-step fashion. You’ll learn active flexibility drills, end-range control drills, and self-mobilization strategies, leveraging the peanut and other mobilization tools. A large emphasis will be placed on active flexibility and end range control, and how to make sure that you’re supporting your flexibility with strong stabilizer muscles. ill both optimize your athletic performance AND prevent future injuries!