Grabbing life by the handle


March 17. 2013 2:55AM

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Why are you waiting?


As the years go on, you may find you‚??re asking that question more and more. You want to pack as much into your days as possible, no matter what it is ‚?? whitewater rafting, visiting a foreign land, writing a novel ‚?? but you just haven‚??t gotten around to it yet.


The Weekender staff has experienced the same, but we‚??ve decided to boldly answer that ever-present question with, ‚??I‚??m not anymore.‚?Ě


Thanks to ‚??The Bucket List,‚?Ě a 2007 comedy starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, and shows like MTV‚??s ‚??The Buried Life,‚?Ě the term is incredibly familiar. A bucket list is simply a compilation of things one would like to do before he or she dies, with the objective being to cross off as many ideas as possible.


Well, some of us here have already checked off our first item.


We‚??re not just making a list of the things we‚??d like to do ‚?? we‚??re actively going out there and doing them, most of them locally, so you can not only experience it along with us, but see if you want to take a shot at it yourself.


Some of it has been on our minds for a while (just wait until Digital Specialist Paul Shaw revs up a race car) and others burst with excitement at first mention (Graphic Designer Amanda Dittmar‚??s totally ready to fling herself from a plane that‚??s flying two miles above the ground), but either way we‚??re attacking each task with verve and giving everyone a peek.


On the third Wednesday of each month, there‚??ll be an article on our latest bucket list experience with input from the people who did it, as well as a video to accompany it on our website, theweekender.com. Feel free to contact us with any ideas you may have as we‚??re doing this throughout all of 2013, and also feel free to let us know what‚??s on your personal list.


Maybe ‚??kicking the bucket‚?Ě never had the best connotations, but in this case, we‚??re making it into something spectacular that can improve the human experience, not end it.


So go ahead and kick your bucket list, like we are. After all, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.


Aerial maneuvers

Our first foray may be familiar to consistent readers, as it was a cover story in early December. At the time, none of us were familiar with terms like ‚??riot hooping‚?Ě and ‚??aerial dance,‚?Ě but we‚??ve since been throwing them around the office casually.


Kayla Dyches is a former gymnast who‚??s trained in various circus arts, like the lyra (an aerial steel hoop) and the cor de lis (an aerial rope), but what she offers classes in is aerial dance. Two silks are rigged to the ceiling, and it‚??s up to the individual to twist and turn in the air gracefully, utilizing the fabric to put on a show.


Dyches also makes it look incredibly easy.


We were taken with the trade immediately, so it was a no-brainer when we were figuring out how to begin the bucket list series. Staff Writer Sara Pokorny and Media Consultant Kieran Inglis were kind enough to willingly volunteer, and they share their experiences below. They also show off the graceful (or not) way they took to the silks in an online video and blooper reel.


If you‚??d like to give aerial silks a shot, feel free to stop in and see Dyches at her studio on Division Street in Kingston, call 912.656.4649, or check out facebook.com/riothooping, twitter.com/riothooping, and riothooping.tumblr.com to learn more.


Sara‚??s view

I‚??m afraid of heights.


I have no upper body strength.


So when I stepped into the Riot studio to do a story in December, it was insane that my first thought was ‚??I really want to do this.‚?Ě Yet here, a little over a month later, the experience is under my belt.


I knew it was going to be tough (because of my spaghetti arms), but I was determined to try anyway. Nervous was an understatement as I stared up at the silks, envisioning crashing headfirst onto the cushions beneath them. Thankfully, that didn‚??t happen, but I also didn‚??t exactly exude grace while I was up there.


Of course, I made Kieran go ahead of me, and what he did was simply awesome for a first-timer. Watching him perform each move with ease gave me hope. Alas‚?Ľ


It was quite the task to even get me up into the knot Kayla created as a platform for all the poses. I kept looking at it as that move you always did as a kid on the rings attached to the swing set ‚?? heave yourself up and over backward to complete a flip, but instead end this one with piked legs held up by a wad of silk.


After I got that down, I ran through as many moves as I could without feeling like I was going to fall from sheer exhaustion. I hit a couple and felt really good about them, but there were others that I flaked out on out of fear.


It‚??s a total body workout that requires a lot of concentration and trust, not only in Kayla as a teacher, but in yourself. I realized too late that I was creating my own mental block on certain things, preventing me from doing them. But man, the things I did do? It felt awesome, and the whole experience was one of the coolest things I‚??ve done.


Though I didn‚??t do nearly as much as Kieran (check out his crazy Spider-Man move in the video), I successfully hung myself upside down hands-free and, for a second, felt like a real aerialist. Then I realized how unforgiving those silks are when they‚??re clung tight to girl hips that aren‚??t the absolute skinniest and immediately moved from my perfect pose to use my hands to cover it up.


I‚??m totally going back, totally going to nail it and complete the insane hands-free drop from ceiling to floor at the end ‚?? I‚??m just not going to accidently punch myself in the face while doing it, like someone else I know.


Kieran‚??s view

The Weekender team, specifically Amanda and Sara, came up with the brilliant idea to subject ourselves to some humiliating as well as some exhilarating activities. Since I am basically positive that I would pass out in the air while skydiving, I opted to do this instead.


What is there to say about silking that sounds manly? Well, I got a nice forearm swell ‚?? a little Popeye action always attracts the ladies. All joking aside, going in, I thought I would have a more difficult time than I actually did; it turns out my calling was to wear spandex and show off my amazing upper body strength. Don‚??t get me wrong ‚?? it is very difficult, and I do not posses the flexibility nor the balance required to actually look graceful up there, but as far as performing the basics, I think I did pretty well.


Kayla demonstrated the basics for Sara and myself, which we would then try to imitate. These combinations of moves gradually became more difficult. My hands were the first things to start to give out on me. The amount of hand strength it takes to constantly position your body and maintain poses is fairly ridiculous.


The last move she demonstrated was what is called a drop. You wrap your legs into the silk until you are wearing a sumo thong. At this time, you pull yourself through the silk in front of you and allow your body to drop and spin elegantly through the air. Apparently, I punched myself in the face during the spin. Even though I jacked up my jaw, Kayla did a great job of breaking it down for us and helping us when we were straddling a piece of silk in an ungodly place.


I really did enjoy this, and I suggest you try it out for yourself one day. Sometimes ‚?? well, most of the time ‚?? when we see a performance or activity at a show or on TV, we think, ‚??Hey, I could do that no problem.‚?Ě This is one of those things where you really have no clue what it actually takes to do it.


So brush those crumbs off your Keystone Light-filled gut one day and try something new out. I am one of the biggest procrastinators, but I am always up for a good challenge.




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