She has been in the aerial scene for a long time now and is a well know german aerial silk teacher and publisher. We spent some time with her in order to find out exactly how her journey with aerial started and why she decided to teach aerial silk classes and publish her set of aerial silk cards. Here is what Martina Thaler shared with us.
1. What is your story with aerial silks? How did you start doing it?
I'm a circus pedagogue. During my training years we did trapeze and aerial hoop, but no silk. In the circus school where I started to work, I met a woman who offered Aerial Silks classes in her gymnastics club. I saw there what you can do with silks. That fascinated me very much. So I started to do courses/ workshops myself and to educate myself further. Later I started to help her to lead classes for beginners. Besides that, I continued to train myself through Workshops and by watching Youtube videos. With time I understood the concept and started to invent tricks myself.
2. Are you giving classes now? If yes, where and what kind of classes?
I'm not giving classes right now. Not just because of Corona. I've decided to take a break from teaching after 16 years. We'll see what next year brings.
3. You have 2 sets of cards now on the market. How did you come across the idea of writing cards for aerial silk?
With time I realized that I forget tricks that I haven't done for a long time. Besides, it is important to me that every person in my class can learn what they want. Mostly every student wanted to learn something different. But since I could not show a new trick and at the same time watch what the other students were doing, students often had to wait. So I started to look for books. Unfortunately, there were none in German and there was not much else on the market. This is when I started to take photos step by step and describe them briefly. With this new system, everybody could work for himself and I could go from one to another, help where it was necessary and still see the other students. Since the notes were so well received, the other teachers of the circus school wanted to use them as well. But the description was too short for that because they did not know the tricks. Then I had the idea to make it better and started working intensely on the first set
. All photos were taken by a photographer. After the editing, the whole thing had become so good that other teachers from other circus schools we had contact with wanted to have these cards as well. At this point, I started a Kickstarter project, had the first cards printed
and was happy about the result. But already after 2 weeks, I decided to make another set, because my students already knew all the cards and wanted to have new ideas. And this is how the 2nd set
came on the market almost a year later.
4. Who are your cards for exactly? What should they expect?
are for everyone. People who want to teach themselves tricks can buy them. People who teach like me. Beginners and advanced can use the cards. Because the cards can be used individually, you can take the card to your workplace, you can put together a whole sequence and put it in a row, you can let several people work at the same time. I sold the cards to students as well as to teachers or schools and so far, and I have received only positive feedback.
5. Did you ever struggle to keep motivating yourself when you encountered challenges in this sport? What helped to overcome them?
I personally had no problems. If I didn't get something done, I tried and tried until I could. But I have seen with my students that in the beginning students are quickly annoyed because they don't even get up on the silk. But it is completely normal. In the beginning, they lack physical strength and technique understanding. I also saw that it helped my students to practice a new trick together. Often, they did something that the other did not see. It also helps to watch each other. By watching you often learn to perceive things better. At the same time, you can help the other one.
6. What are things that we should do or not do before an Aerial Silk class?
In my opinion, the most important thing is not to practice aerial silk alone. It can always happen that you get stuck on the silk or you can no longer pull yourself down. For me the warming up and cool down is the most important thing, like in every sport. I also never start directly with tricks. The first thing I do after warming up is exercises and strength training on the floor on the silk. These exercises are at the same time preparatory exercises that will help learn tricks much faster later. Every new trick that I learn I first do on the floor until I can do it safely, then with the minimum possible height. [gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="299,303"]
7. Beginners often think that you need to have a lot of flexibility to use aerial silks. Is this the case?
No, not at all. There are tricks where this is necessary but I don't have to do these. At least not in the beginning. There are many tricks where you do not have to be flexible. I do stretching exercises every training. That way you can learn all the tricks over time. But it does not only need stretching. Strength is also very important. Also, this should be done every training.
8. What are your tips on improving flexibility?
There are many videos, books and information about stretching exercises. The most important is only regularity. It is not very useful if I stretch only once a month. I also think it is very important to stretch after training so that the muscles that had to work so hard can relax again. You can find Martina Thaler`s Aerial Silk cards here.