Thursday, 17 September 2015

My Experience at the Paper Doll Militia Teacher Training Course

After a successful weekend learning new skills and improving old ones at the EAAC (Edinburgh Aerial Acrobatics Convention), I, Stephen went on to take part in an aerial acrobatics teacher training course to further my knowledge in developing students' skills as aerialists.

The course was run by Sarah Bebe Holmes and Rain Anya Willson of Paper Doll Militia, founded in 2007 in Santa Fe. Careful attention to detail, a warm, gentle nature and cleverly devised lesson plans with both written and physical elements saw the week go by flawlessly. We studied anatomy, how to devise a secure lesson plan to include different ages and abilities, safety measures and how to take care of your body before and after training. We talked about different people, abilities, genders, disabilities, religions and how to accommodate, adapt and respect individual needs.  We practiced basic movements with other instructors guiding us through the trick, using a hands on approach to spot each other and learn how to keep each other safe on the equipment. We played games and instructed short classes to ensure our minds were paying attention and absorbing the information given to us. I found myself fascinated by every aspect of the course, and even looked forward to going home and completing the homework assignments.

This is a small overview of the knowledge I obtained during the course. There were so many interesting lessons to be learned, and I advise you, whether you are already teaching, or just starting up, to look into the next available course run by Paper Doll Militia. I guarantee, you will not be disappointed.

Each individual on the course was there for their own particular reason, and it was fascinating listening to their ideas, and exciting to witness the circus community growing right in front of me. Aerial acrobatics is no longer only accessible to circus productions such as Cirque Du Solei, or the big cities like London. The community has grown to include all areas of the UK and the rest of the world, and all individuals as well. Whether you live far north in the highlands of Scotland, or are near a city but have a disability, rest assured there is a place for you within the steadily growing aerial family.

Upon completing the course, I feel it safe to say that every member of the group left feeling more confident, enlightened and involved in a wonderful newly forged community of already existing and completely new aerial instructors. Thanks to the efforts of Sarah and Rain, Adventure Circus, and many other companies, will grow to vast new heights, and I am proud to say I have made some fascinating and wonderful new friends.

Written by Stephen Armour