Sunday, July 31, 2011

Athlete first, Street Performer second...

I have always struggled with the 'freestyle footbag as street performance' aspect of the game. I love playing in front of crowds, it somehow improves my string length, and it is a great experience to even be able to draw a crowd. But when people say, "You should put out a hat...!" I never had a great response until now.

I'm an Athlete first, and a Street performer second!  So in that sense I do not rely on income from footbag endeavors, and when I play in front of crowds, I usually play in a casual circle. So looking in from the outside, we are a group of people who each take successive turns and we always pass in the same direction. If you watch carefully, we give each other props for good strings, and there is a fairness to it all, in that we each get equal opportunity to do our best tricks. We play like athletes.  When we play in public, we organically draw crowds, people watch us play, but we are playing because we are all athletes trying to improve ourselves, not because we are asking for money.  There is an element of 'showing off', but from my personal standpoint, I am really just trying to put together long strings of guiltless tricks while jamming to the music.  I'm trying to better my overall game, while maybe getting some of the best of it on video.  It's always a great feeling when people give us money when we are not asking for it, they can see the value of passive entertainment.

I've seen my share of effective street performers, and they all have a process. They rile up a crowd. They build up the excitement by engaging passersby to stay for a few minutes for a big performance.  With street dancers, jugglers, gymnasts and musicians, they all draw a crowd and build up suspense for an upcoming show.  Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.  The whole point of getting people riled up is to get them to open up their wallets and give you money after your performance.  The Street Performers have a 'schtick', a short performance, planned which all builds up to a climactic ending and then they ask for money.  The street performers day is cyclical because they repeat this process for the next group of passersby.  They are organized around the goal of raising money.

I have great respect for Jugglers, Breakers and Gymnasts who can pull off these kind of shows.  They not only have the athletic talent it takes to pull off dynamic tricks, but the performance awareness to monetize on it.  I really wish I had 1/10th the natural performance ability of someone like Peter Irish or Tim Kelly.  They can pull off the hard tricks, with the music and smile looking good the whole time.

So when you see me shredding with my friends next time, please join our circle or watch us try our best tricks, but don't expect too much of an organized show, we're purely shredding for the enjoyment of it!  Not to mention that if we put a hat out, the police in Chicago would either give us a hella-expensive violation or they would kick us out, and we don't want either of those!

I'm an Athlete first, and a Street performer second!

Best regards,

Shred Notes: 7/31/11  - 1684 Days in a row shredding today.  Been skoolin' tons of juggles, seamless in and out.  osis, spinning osis and twirls into Stepping tricks like blurs, blizzards, blurry whirls and stepping same osis.  Still playing at Mammoth Springs Training Center in Oak Brook, IL mostly.  Vacation coming up.  Keep playing!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How Dragons (and outsider) led me to Heels and Refractions

Recently, Jonathon Schneider came to town and I spent weeks preparing my dragons. I suppose his openness to body rolls and alternative surfaces led me to reassess my heels and my Refractions.

Since he was here, I've hit an astonishing array of new tricks. Well, modified From tricks I've mastered, but tHis is the basis of my freestyle theory, that freestyle is component based. All my future tricks are the product of my past tricks.

Double leg over ending in heel
Whirl ending in heel
Gyro whirl ending in heel
Whirling refraction
Spinning butterfly refraction.
Stepping opp whirl ending in heel.

That is just the past 3 days.

Then I watched a video of David Clavens and my mind was blown. The guy is a god. Wow. Makes me wonder how. How. How? Wow.

See ya!