Adding a spin to moves, combinations and routines can make even the most simple shapes look stunning! It adds a certain flair and creates dynamic movement.
To Spin, Or Not To Spin
Being able to spin whilst in the hoop or silks is an important skill if you're performing or competing. It means you can hold a beautiful move and the audience or judges (or instagram!) can see every angle, this can be the difference between seeing a gorgeous shape and staring at someones crotch! You can tailor the speed of your spin to your music to emphasise points in the music and help add to the mood of your performance. You can use a lovely, slow spin with a flowy piece of music, or a quick, dynamic spin with more dramatic music. Having your apparatus on a spin means you will be able to hold a move for longer, rather than feeling like you need to jump from one move to another to keep the audience engaged.
If you're not performing or competing, learning to create and control a spin is a really useful skill to have. Filming yourself during your practise will help you see exactly what your body is doing, this is handy if you're learning new moves and something doesn't feel quite right, and it's so much easier when you're on a slow spin! The same principle applies for if you want to look in the mirror to check your lines while you're in a move, when you're in a slow spin you can just wait until you're at the right angle rather than trying to twist round to see the mirror or waiting for an instructor to turn you! If you're on your own and want to get pictures of a move, you can create a slow spin to get a screenshot of every angle, this technique is also useful for working out the best angle for photoshoot pictures!
A smooth spin starts with a good swivel! A swivel is attached between two carabiners and will enable the hoop or silks to spin.
The best swivels for aerial are lightweight, so it doesn't add too much weight to your rigging. It should be small so it doesn't add too much length to your rigging. It obviously needs to be strong so it won't break while you're up in the air! Your rigging is only as strong as the weakest point, your swivel should be as safe as the rest of your equipment. And it should be well made so it has a smooth spin and won't start juddering or sticking while you're spinning.
The new Prodigy Aerial Swivel from Firetoys is one of the best and won't break the bank! It is small, only adding 7cm to your rigging, lightweight at only 74g and super strong with an MBS of 30kN! The two parts of the body are machined aluminium and the core section and ball bearings are stainless steel, perfect for a smooth spin!
It's important that any aerial equipment you buy is from a reputable, trusted company that is recommended by other aerialists. When you're upside down and relatively high, good quality equipment and poor quality equipment could literally be the difference between life and death! This swivel (and all my other aerial equipment) is from Firetoys, you can use my discount code uniqueaerialists for 10% discount!
Creating a Spin On The Hoop
To create a spin on the hoop, start by standing directly underneath your rigging point. If you start by standing slightly to the side then your hoop will swing from side to side or around in a big circle, instead of spinning under one point. You can hold the hoop with either one hand in the middle of the top bar or both hands equal distance from the middle of the top bar. Keep one foot underneath you and move your other foot out to the side, or move both feet out to the side (shown in the below tutorial). Wherever you place your feet, you need a straight line from your rigging point, through your hand(s), chest and hips.
Lift up onto the balls of your feet, as this will be easier to pivot than standing on flat feet. Engage your shoulders and core to start to bring your weight off of your feet and into your arms.
Pivot on one foot, on the spot, so your body stays directly underneath your rigging point. Gradually lift the weight off of your foot and bring more weight into your arms until you can lift your foot off the floor. Really focus on lifting, not jumping! If you need to push off your foot to lift it off the floor then you will jerk the hoop which will make the spin much less smooth or could stop the spin completely.
If you would like to invert after creating the spin, continue into an invert from this position. Note, you need a strong invert to invert on a spin as you're not able to push off the floor.
To create a spin on the silks from the floor, you need to follow the same steps.
Controlling a Spin
Once you have perfected creating a beautiful, smooth spin on the hoop or silks, you need to learn how to control it. It will probably feel like the apparatus is spinning you when you first attempt spinning, but with practise you will be in control of the apparatus!
The biggest tip I have is to start slooow. Slow spins often look more elegant than fast spins and it is the best way to build your confidence with spinning and gain knowledge and body awareness around how to control the spin.
Another really important tip that's so easy to forget, is to keep your body engaged. You won't be able to control the apparatus if you're not able to control your own body! Engage your core, shoulders and legs to grip the hoop and maintain the position of your body throughout the spin. Make your movements deliberate so you're not caught off guard and accidentally speed the spin up or make the apparatus swing from side to side.
When you're spinning, the bigger your shape the slower you will go. If you are spinning too quickly, make your shape bigger by leaning out or extending an arm or a leg to slow down your spin. When you make a small shape, you will spin quicker. This is really useful knowledge, it's so natural to turn into a koala when you don't feel in control of the spin, but this is the worse thing you can do as as soon as you cling onto the apparatus and become smaller, you will suddenly pick up more speed! This is good to keep in mind when you're putting together combinations and routines. You can put the moves in an order that enables you to slow down after a quick spin so you can readjust your grip or position, or when you might be starting to feel dizzy! Before going back to a tight shape to speed up. If you are struggling with dizziness, read about why you feel dizzy and things you can do to help in this How To Deal With Dizziness blog post.
If you started the spin too slow and you want to speed up or maintain the speed of your spin. Move your body and/or your arms and legs in the direction of the spin, when you transition between moves. If you move against the direction of the spin, this will slow the spin slightly. For example, in the hoop when you transition from Sitting to Man In The Moon, you can turn either way. If you turn in the same direction that you're spinning then you will maintain or slightly speed up the speed, if you turn against the direction you're spinning then you will slightly slow down the spin.
What moves are your favourite to do on a spin? xx