Individual skills are developed:

  • 5-step series and more difficult movements.
  • (Pair acrobatics, partner lifts, not mentioned here.)
  • Group acrobatics and simple pyramids (not mentioned here).
  • Applied acrobatics in dramatic situations.

At level I, two to three acrobatic movements were linked. At level II, at least five movements build an action phase.

Exercise 2.66: Chose five movements from the list in level I (tumbling, jumps, balance and direction shift) and join them. Study the links between the movements.

Examples of 5-step series exercises 2.67–2.79

Exercise 2.67: ‘From a landing aeroplane’.

  • Bend the straight upper body of an arabesque downwards, the free leg upwards and put the hands on the floor and bend the arms. Stop with the arms, the cheek to the side. The extended leg works as a counterweight. The movement is done in flow.
  • Jump through the hands beside the shoulders onto your back.
  • Roll back (over one shoulder), land on the knees.
  • Swan fall.
  • Jump up on both feet from the knees and into a squatting pose.

Exercise 2.68: Handstand/ roll forwards

  • Handstand
  • Rolling forwards, end up on the back
  • Neck jump, to squatting
  • Shoulder stand
  • Rolling down, end with one knee on the carpet (knight’s position)

Each person should study at least three different series. Later, he will be able to improvise with acrobatic movement.

Exercise 2.69: Study the starting position and the end position of your series.

Exercise 2.70: Study directions and directional changes of the movements carefully.

Exercise 2.71: Find a good sportive rhythm for the movements.

Exercise 2.72: Change rhythm within your series at least once.

Rework the ‘sequence of movements’ (the 28 movements) from level I in sketch 4)

Exercise 2.73: Find the dramatic condition of each movement.

Exercise 2.74: Find adequate breathing.

Exercise 2.75: The sequence of movements with impulse sounds.

Exercise 2.76: Talk or sing throughout the exercise, using the impulses as well.

Exercise 2.77: Move to music.

Exercise 2.78: Execute the ritual in a group.

Exercise 2.79: Deform the sequence and make a ballet from it.

Remember! There are different ways to do all these acrobatic exercises:

  • Technical exercises that develop movement skills.
  • Giving each movement a motivation, develop acting skills.
  • With acrobatic movement with physical impulses from a partner, develop social skills.

The following exercises are inspired by the training of martial arts and contact improvisation, and are based on the exercises in level I. A movement, a physical impulse from outside, becomes the reason for an acrobatic movement. A purely acrobatic movement gets a dramatic reason or justification.

A physical impulse, a push, given in the right spot on the partner’s body (as an example, with my right hand, I push with a short impulse his shoulder) makes him lose balance and fall.

With my fist, I give a light push into my partners belly – he contracts. But these impulses must be given:

  • In the right spot
  • In the right moment
  • With the right movement direction
  • With the necessary energy and force

To carry out the following exercise series correctly, one must know precisely where each movement starts in the body, in what direction it goes, what body parts are most involved, and where the partner may have difficulties. (The right impulses can help the actor make a movement correctly.)

Note! Mutual trust in the group must be developed, and responsibility for each other must be taken!

Group exercises 2.80–2.90

Exercise 2.80: Giving impulses for two actors. B gives impulses to A (with hands first, later with leg, head, knee, kick, etc., as done with the jinai in level I). B makes A roll, or stay on his hands, etc. Experiment by giving impulses that provoke movement, first with your right hand, and then with your left. Later, experiment with impulses of the fist, an elbow, knees kicks, foot kicks, etc. (To animate the partner to stand on his hands, an impulse must be given to bend forwards and push himself onto the hands, to raise the pelvis, to be up and down with outstretched legs…) For rolling down, an impulse for rolling and forward direction should be given.

Exercise 2.81: A gives B the impulses for the 5-step series: Handstand – roll down – onto the knees – swan fall – ‘jump through’ – neck jump.

Always give the impulse in the right spot on the partner’s body, with the right energy, in the right direction and at the right time.

Exercise 2.82: Two or more partners collaborate and give impulses. The ‘victim’ must collaborate and be able to execute the series in a good flow.

Exercise 2.83: A may not be able to do difficult movement alone. But the right help – the right impulse, lifts, etc. – will make it possible, (such as neck jumps, hand jumps, even salto backward, flicflac, bridge, etc). Collaboration is everything! Trust is necessary! The partner(s) need very good knowledge about the movement itself (its course, crucial points, energy, speed and impulses, directions) and the partner’s reactions. Very advanced exercise.

From here, all kinds of partner acrobatics and lifts from classical dance, etc. could be added, including in a group.

Exercise 2.84: Individual acrobatic movement in flow. Practise acrobatic enchained movements, use a 5-step series as well as free combinations. Each participant invents further combinations (free combinations) of acrobatic movement. All practise their movements on the floor in a defined space. Space must constantly be shared and energy kept throughout the exercise.

Exercise 2.85: A and B relate their movement to each other: Rolling through the legs of a partner, jumping over each other, etc.

Exercise 2.86: Reduce the common space. (Same exercise as above.)

Exercise 2.87: Extension of time. (Same exercise as above.) Flow of movement initially only for two minutes, later up to max. 20 minutes.

Exercise 2.88: After some time, the space is limited further. (Same exercise as above). The actors must share space; adapt their movement without touching each other (jumping over each other, etc.) Initially only for two minutes, later up to 20 minutes. Develops maintaining energy, control and concentration.

Exercise 2.89: Same exercise as above, with variations of speed (movement in slow motion version, medium (sportive speed) and quick speed.

Exercise 2.90: As per the exercise above. With variations of direction.

These exercises develop, maintaining high physical energy and focus. Very tough physically and mentally when done fully! These types of exercises are based on the training philosophy of Grotowski – they require the full involvement of the actor as well as fearlessness, control and continuity.

For further acrobatic development, practise pair acrobatics, classical pair lifts and pyramids, and other acrobatics outside the carpet and the comfort zone.

Applied acrobatic movements

Applied somersaults exercises 2.91–2.97

Exercise 2.91: Forward flop-somersaults. You land lying on your back (in surprise!)

Exercise 2.92: The doll. Forward flop-somersault, ending sitting stiffened on the carpet – in surprise!

Exercise 2.93: Winking to somebody: ukemi (from walking or running, one arm moves in a big arch, forwards and downwards, and gives speed and energy to the forward somersault over one shoulder.)

Exercise 2.94: Backward flop-somersault, ending ‘crashed’ lying on the stomach – in surprise!

Exercise 2.95: Walk, speak with a partner, roll, and continue your walk without breaking the rhythm of walking and the rhythm of discussion.

Exercise 2.96: Backward somersault over one shoulder, the free arm stretched out to the side, holding a plate with a cake (that should not land on the floor during the roll).

Exercise 2.97: Forward somersault over one shoulder, with a glass of water in your free hand.

Rolling with a stool exercises 2.98–2.99

Exercise 2.98: Try to sit down on a stool on the carpet, but miss sitting on the right spot, fall backwards (lifting the bent arms and beating them from elbow to wrist to the floor (on the outer edge of the hand), while at the same time lifting the pelvis – in surprise.

Exercise 2.99: Sit on a stool on the carpet, fall back, hold the front legs of the stool, and end by sitting on it again.

Three ways to react to slaps, pushes and kicks[169] exercises 2.100–2.106

For the following exercises, three people are required. A slaps B on the cheek, B receives the slap, C marks the sound of the slap by clapping hands or a percussion instrument.

Exercise 2.100: Slapping in the face. First practise slapping with a relaxed hand, throw it (as if you have mashed potato in your hand) with otkas on the partner’s cheek, with an open hand, and stop one millimetre before you reach their skin, then retire the hand quickly. B does not move. C accentuates the slap with a clap.

Exercise 2.101: Start as above. Count 1+ 2, 3, 4. A claps on 1. B receives the clap on +, reacts by bending the head away from the slap.

Exercise 2.102: Reactions on slap in the face. With the slap, the head is turned (just a very short time thereafter, timing 1+). For the reaction, on 2, 3, 4, the head must go back to the normal position.

Exercise 2.103: B’s reactions to the slap in éclosion: B gets a slap on his right cheek. His head turns away from the slap, bends to the left. The right hand reaches out and touches the cheek and the head at the same time the head regains its normal position. B stands with his hand on his cheek.

Exercise 2.104: As a physical reaction: (The slap hurts the cheek). B’s head is tilted to the left, the right hand reaches there first and touches the cheek, ‘Ow, it hurts!’ and hand and head move together into the vertical position. The hand touches the cheek for a rather long time.

Exercise 2.105: As a psychological reaction (the slap hurts in the mind): The head goes after the slap back to the vertical position. Only afterwards, the hand touches the cheek symbolically. ‘He slapped me!’

Exercise 2.106: Try to react to different kicks and pushes with the three reaction systems.