Podcast Ep.7 – Hannah Finn – Contortionist – Flexibility Explained

Website: contortiongirl.com

Facebook: contortioncoach

Instagram: Hannah Finn

Workshops: BookWhen

Hannah Finn has been doing contortion and other circus arts  for eleven years.  She came into circus arts with a strong background in acting and theater and brought that into her circus discipline. She started out doing circus in Los Angeles at Le Studio (now Le Petit Cirque), at a young age . She has trained and performed all types of circus acts including hand to hand, duo trapeze, duo contortion, and contortion on the trapeze, but her main specialty is contortion.  Shortly after she began doing circus, the world renowned ‘Steben twins’ ( Cirque du Soleils “O” and “Saltimbanco”), took a notice in her, and saw her passion, dedication and talent shine through. The Steben twins took Hannah on as their protégé and began to train her further in trapeze and contortion, becoming her mentors, and long time trainers. While training with the Steben twins Hannah began performing for various shows, and corporate events all over the Los Angeles area, and expanded into other parts of the United States. As she became more esteemed, Hannah got selected to attend the extremely prestigious summer program at Ecole Nationale De Cirque, in Montreal. After coming home from the program she continued performing and extended her presence internationally,  teaching and performing all over the world. Hannah is known for her professionalism, experience in the industry, high level skill set, and an ability to adapt to any event. Her acting background allows Hannah to fit her routines to the emotional needs of any event.

Hannah continued to perfect her art of contortion but at the same time, decided to combine her passion for circus with a University level education (something that no one in the United States had ever done before, to this extent). She graduated from the University of Redlands in December of 2015 with a Bachelors Degree in: Creating and Producing Emotive Works of Contemporary Circus and Theater. By being a part of the Johnston program at the University of Redlands,  Hannah was able to create an interdisciplinary education pulling from different fields of study to explore the multi faceted world of building a show from the ground up, and everything that entails. The details of her study included learning the  business side of creating her own performance company, the theory and psychological side of translating emotion through the body by using circus arts and other expressive movement, the behind the scenes theatrical side of directing, stage managing, lighting design and producing, and continuing to improve her skill level in circus arts. Hannah was also able to alter her courses to infuse circus into her studies.  All of this makes Hannah a key asset for circus companies by knowing not only how to direct,stage manage, and light for theater but also how to do it for the circus world, and what that demands.  In both her behind the scenes, and performing endeavors Hannah stands out with her unique outlook on circus arts, unique movement style, and capabilities as a highly skilled contortionist, director,and creator.



What makes Hannah Finn so special is her unique performance style, capabilities and philosophy.  Hannah’s acts are derived from raw emotions that we all experience, sometimes a story, or sometimes just a feeling.  Hannah graduated with a Bachelors degree from the University of Redlands where she spent her time at school studying the intense and mystifying connection between the moving performer and audience member; what makes the audience feel emotion, and how to deliver that through the body.  With her studies to back up her passion to inspire emotion in others; Hannah is able to deliver these emotions to the audience in such a real way that it stirs intense affect in them.  Hannah hopes to create a circus company that explores this deep subconscious understanding between movement and emotion and how it connects with the audience.  To achieve this she has specialized in such topics as dance therapy, movement theory, Jungian psychology, affect theory in terms of performance and much more.  She plans to use circus, dance and theater along with a variety of multimedia apparati to achieve her goal of creating shows all around the world.  Hannah stands out with her integration of the moving body and the mind, innovative ideas and creations.


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Hannah Finn contortionist you may also like_


EVOL: University of Redlands Circus Collective

In April of 2014 Hannah created the Circus Collective, a performance collective at the University of Redlands.  This collective is one of the only student run circus performance clubs at a University, in the United States.  In October of 2013 Hannah auditioned students from her University and chose the ones that had potential.  With these students she created a schedule, training regimen, and eventually a show.  Hannah trained these students for four hours a day everyday for months until she achieved her goal of producing and directing her first circus show. Not only did Hannah direct and produce the show, but she also choreographed, stage managed and starred in it.  The show beautifully articulated the many different ways that love can be expressed. She used her studies on emotion and movement,  costuming, lighting, sound and more to achieve this feat. The show was the first of many that Hannah hopes to create.  If you would like see the show, contact Hannah through the contact form.


Shadow: Circomedia Spring Project

Hannah created her second piece at Circomedia in Bristol, England. She was given the task of creating an act and wanted to expand her experience as a director.  As in her last show, Hannah chose two performers and coached them in emotional exercises as well as worked on choreography. She dedicated an extreme amount of time and effort into her project, delving deep into research and development and utilizing her studies at University, in the performance. She used psychological movement cues to help the audience understand the story and connect with it. This act was a dance and physical theater piece about oppression of the self, specifically in the way of self deprecating body shaming. Hannah drew from influences such as “Strange Fruit” choreographed by Pearl Primus and Cafe Muller choreographed by Pina Bausch.  Hannah directed, stage managed, and designed the lighting for this performance. She also used LED technology in the performers costume to emphasize the emotions being felt in different body parts.

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Website: contortiongirl.com

Facebook: contortioncoach

Instagram: Hannah Finn

Workshops: BookWhen

Hannah Finn contortionist you may also like_

Posted in Contortion, Flexibility, Podcast Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shoulder + Spine + Hip Alignment for Handstand

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole acrolibrary.com

I just wanted to show you a diagram I drew which shows different kinds of handstand posture.
Pay particular attention to positions 1 & 6.

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole acrolibrary.com

Most people find themselves in position 6 instead of position 1 because limited shoulder mobility means their shoulders don’t open fully. This is why stretching the shoulders regularly can help us get to position 1.

Also notice in position 8 it’s possible to hold a tuck with the back and arms in straight alignment but it means leaning into the wrists and requires a lot of shoulder strength. Position 9 however is more easier on the wrists & shoulders but requires the bum to stick out with a slight back bend to counterbalance the tucked legs.

Anyway. Spend a bit of time thinking about each one and I can help you find your alignment when you come to class.

Consider getting some of these Resistance Bands which can be used to help progress your Strength + Flexibility

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole acrolibrary.com

An example of position 9 where the arms are vertical but the bum sticks out with a slight back bend to counterbalance the legs.

For more coaching on correct technique consider looking at the GMB videos.

For a free 20 minute handstand tutorial visit AcroLibrary.com

Posted in Blog Article, Handstands

Handstand: 5 tips for learning a solid Handstand 

1. Confident and Controlled Entry.

  • Start simple. put your hands on the floor, shoulder width apart, about 10 inches from a wall. Practise a small hop so that one foot just touches the wall. Practice this 5 times on each foot. This will build your confidence so your mind learns where the wall is.
  • If you feel confident, put your hands in the same position and kick up into a full handstand against the wall so both feet touch the wall and your body is straight. Keep doing this repeatedly until your feet touch the wall more gently with more control.
  • If you feel confident to move away from the wall, practise with a leg staying straight and the other leg kicking up into a stag position so the foot touches knee of the straight leg.

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole acrolibrary.com

2. Body tension.

  • Balancing a wobbly body is difficult. Keep the body tense and engaged so that the balancing is done by the fingers not the rest of the body.
  • Practise by laying on the floor and squeezing your bum, abs, legs, pointed toes, and hands above your head as if you’re in a handstand. Practising body tension on the floor will help you engage it when in a handstands.

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole acrolibrary.com

3. Alignment.

  • Alignment makes the handstand easier because the bodyweight gets supported by the skeleton rather than muscle effort. We would like the body (arms, spine and legs) to be in a straight line. If the shoulders don’t go straight then the back will bend to compensate and muscle effort will therefor be needed which is tiring!
  • Stretch your shoulders every day to encourage a straight line between your arms and back.
  • Squeezing your tail bone under will also encourage the back to go straight.
  • If you’re unsure, ask a friend to spot you, or film yourself doing a handstand to see if you’re straight.

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole acrolibrary.com

Check out these Resistance Bands which can be used to progress your Strength + Flexibility.

4. Shoulder Strength & Stability.

  • Even if you have control, alignment, and bodytension, your shoulders need to be strong enough to maintain your body weight whilst in a handstand.
  • Kick up against the wall (hands about 10 inches from wall) and hold a straight handstand for 10 seconds. Build this up to 30 seconds and 60 seconds over a period of weeks.
  • Do press ups and downward dog shoulder presses to increase the shoulder and tricep strength.

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole acrolibrary.com

5. Balance.

  • With everything else in place, the final component is to practise balancing.
  • Kick up against a wall and press in your fingers so your feet are pulled away from the wall. Do this repeatedly to build the strength in your forearms.
  • If you do this repeatedly you will find balance & control begin to improve and you will start to hold a handstand for several seconds at a time without your feet touching the wall.

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole acrolibrary.com

Further thoughts.

  • Everybody has different limiting factors. Some people have great flexibility but not enough strength. Those people will benefit from strengthening their shoulders. Some people have plenty of strength but not enough flexibility. Those people will benefit from more stretching.
  • This is why Crossfit people and Yoga people would require different coaching when learning handstands.
  • Enjoy your practise and be playful. The most important thing is that you find enjoyment.
  • Be patient. Handstand are difficult.
  • Everybody starts somewhere. Don’t compare yourself to what others can do. Some people may learn more quickly, but they may have been doing gymnastics or yoga or strength training for years.

Be sure to watch the free 20 minute handstand tutorial on AcroLibrary.com
If you live in Bristol United Kingdom you can attend Ben Lowrey’s handstand classes here.
Be sure to also check out the Podcast

For further coaching
GMB Fitness

Posted in Blog Article, Handstands, Yoga Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Podcast Ep.6 – Yuri Marmerstein – Handbalancer Acrobat Aerialist

Acro Library How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole acrolibrary.com

Website: www.yuri-mar.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/yuri_marmerstein
Facebook: www.facebook.com/yuri.marmer

A little bit about myself and what I do:

I am a self-taught acrobat.  This does not mean I did not learn from other people, it simply means that for the large majority of my training I never had anyone pushing me harder or telling me what I am doing wrong. Likewise, there were not a whole lot of resources when I needed them that would have been crucial to my learning at the time.   Because of this, the process I used to achieve my skills has been my own.

I was not especially active as a child, and I really did not start getting into all this until towards the end of high school.  I literally got my start from watching too many martial arts movies and trying to imitate them.

In college I had exposure to several new movement styles including capoeira, MMA,. martial arts tricking, cheerleading(stunting and tumbling), weightlifting, and parkour.  I got very involved in movement at the time, but I still had very little resource or instruction.  Most of the progress I made came from me being stubborn and experimenting.

Out of college, I started to get more into gymnastics training.  I was very lucky to get a chance to work with Valentin Kirichenko, a former member of the Soviet Olympic gymnastics team from 1976.  This was a huge inspiration to me because not only could Valentin still perform beautifully at nearly 60 years old, he also had a very deep technical understanding of gymnastics and movement.  It was invaluable to get advice from him on occasion and be able to pick his brain on certain subjects.
On top of that, this was the first time I had any honest critique of my skills, and it took some good shots to the ego to learn how to accept and embrace it.

It was this exposure that started to give me a clear image of what a real teacher should be.  A good teacher should completely embody his art; live it and breath it.  A good teacher can break down a technique to anyone, where the necessity is to be completely technical or simple enough to show a child.  Moreover, a good teacher should continually be a student and inspire his students to never stop learning.  Lastly, a distinction has to be made between learning and following orders, which makes the difference between a student and a soldier/minion.  A teacher should be showing their students how to think and learn for themselves, so that the lessons can extend well beyond the scope of the class.

In 2011 I moved to Las Vegas in the hopes of being around people who were better than me that I could learn from.  I got the opportunity to learn from many amazing acrobats and hand balancers.  Over this time I learned many new skills in the realm of circus arts.  In addition, I was able to perform in some large scale events such as the Winter Cup, the Target Expo, Fetish and Fantasy Ball, Broadway Bares, and the Redken Symposium among others.  I also attended(and taught at) some Gymnastics Bodies seminars with Coach Sommer, where I learned some new perspectives on developing gymnastics strength.
I was also incredibly fortunate on my way to meet and learn from Kit Laughlin, who is another major influence on my work.  I also drew inspiration from Kit’s open sharing of information as well his ethics of how to run a business.

What does all this have to do with my work?  Well the point I am trying to make is that I am not by any means a finished product as an athlete, artist, or teacher.  I do not believe in finished product, just constant works in progress.  I believe that as a human you can either learn and grow, or devolve and deteriorate in your experiences.  Stagnation leads to deprecation if you do not learn anything new as time goes forward.
This brings me to the subject of “fitness”.  What I do is not fitness.  Even when I was young and terribly misinformed I still did not get the concept of “fitness” where people just went through the same motions for years without ever seeing results.
Why not use that time and energy to mindfully learn something?  The human body is so incredibly complex, and so few people actually get to realize their own potential.  The things I teach develop your connection with your own mind and body in a unique way.
What I am offering is a unique perspective on learning acrobatic feats from someone who was not born to the life.  I had to struggle to get to where I am, and you can have the benefit of learning from the many mistakes I made.
However, there is a cost to all this.  It takes hard work, patience, perseverance and dedication.  Learning something new requires you to be uncomfortable.

With that said, I recommend my seminars to anyone looking to learn new skills with their own bodies.  In addition the information is useful for people who want a new perspective or reinforcement on the concepts they already know.  Athletes, yogis, gymnasts, dancers, weightlifters can all benefit greatly as well as those who come from no athletic background.

It’s your body, don’t you want to be able to do something with it?

Posted in Circus, Handstands, Podcast Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My favourite circus Handbalancers

Acro Library How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole acrolibrary.com Music: Benedek - Dial My Number

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics acrolibrary.com

Posted in Blog Article, Circus, Handstands Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Upper body strength for handstands… are you sure?

Many people believe they need more upper body strength to hold a handstand, but in many cases what they need is more shoulder flexibility.

When you’re in a handstand, if your arms and spine form a straight line then you need very little strength to hold a handstand, just like how standing upright on your feet is effortless.

The less flexibility you have in the shoulders, the more angles there will be (closed shoulders, back bend), and the more muscle strength will be required to support those angles. If you don’t know what I mean then try holding a squat for 60 seconds and notice how difficult it is.

The answer is to push and stretch.

  • When you push upwards so that your hands go away from your body, and your shoulders come right to your ears, this has the effect of opening the shoulders into a straight(er) line with the spine.
  • Stretching the shoulders open will also improve the range of motion and make your handstand easier. This can be done with a few basic stretches but will also be improved by yoga and regular full body stretching routines.

Come to class and we’ll work on it. 🙂
If you have any questions email me.

MoveGB Bristol Voucher worth £40 - Free first month

MoveGB Bristol Voucher worth £40 – Free first month

Bristol Weekly Handstand Classes

Feel welcome to come to any of the following

  • Wednesdays at 6pm
    Matter Wholefoods, 1 Greenbank Road, Easton, BS5 6EZ
    (login to MoveGB then register here)
  • Sundays at 1pm (here)
    Bubalu, Gloucester Rd. Bristol, BS7 8AS
  • Tuesdays at 6pm.
    Funky Monkey Studio in Bath
    (Not MoveGB, 6 week block, book with Funky Monkey)

If you are not a MoveGB member please feel welcome to drop-in (£7).

Posted in Blog Article, Circus, Handstands Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Podcast Ep.5 – Jonathan Nosan – Contorture

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole acrolibrary.com Music: Benedek - Dial My Number


How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole acrolibrary.com

CONTORTURE™ is a new method of conscious mobility helping industry professionals and fitness enthusiasts gain extreme flexibility. The contortion based workout – which has attracted a following of athletes, dancers, yogis and models – encourages a total body connection through stretching, strength training and inversions. CONTORTURE™ offers gym devotees a fun and challenging alternative to traditional workouts and an opportunity to master awe-inspiring acrobatics, strengthen their core and improve postural alignment. The low-impact routine incorporates handstands, back bends and deep stretching, a perfect progression for those who are yawning in yoga and bored with Bikram .

Check out the trailer below and the full site at CONTORTURE

Download, Streaming, and App! Yours forever across all your devices.

The five-video CONTORTURE™ series offers an intimate step-by-step program taking students from basics to pro with his method of extreme flexibility training.

By reformatting the body to create smartened muscles and a breath/movement connection, all students will learn how to “backbend from the front” and achieve their flexibility goals.


(All 5 videos, best Value)
Buy now

(Includes videos 1, 2, 3)
Buy now

VIDEO 1: The Basics
Buy now

Your preparation begins with alignment, breath control/connection, counterbalance, ab-smartening, hanging backbends, waterfalls.

VIDEO 2: The Inversions
Buy now

Wrist warm-ups and strengthening along with headstand and handstand theory and drills create a solid foundation for CONTORTURE ™

Buy now

The fun begins. Join a workshop from start to finish, feel your hips strengthening and a smarter core.

VIDEO 4: Weighted Stretching
Buy now

Take it to the next level with weighted plates, dumbbells, and body bars; learn how to be your own personal trainer and find just the right push from you for you.

Buy now

Shot in a workshop setting with your “fellow students” asking the questions you might be wondering. Allow Jonathan to guide you in detail through moves from his renowned acts.

Posted in Contortion, Flexibility, Podcast, Yoga Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Podcast Ep.4 – Josh Brown – Circus Handbalancer, Straps, Rope, & Flying Trapeze

 Josh Brown Circus Handbalancer Josh Brown Circus Handbalancer Josh Brown Circus Handbalancer Josh Brown Circus Handbalancer

Posted in Circus, Handstands, Podcast Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Podcast Ep.3 – Jonathan Last – Circus Acrobat, Gymnast, Movement Teacher, Freerunner, Handbalancer

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics acrolibrary.com



“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing”

– George Bernard Shaw

Being old is simply a state of mind. Age? Just a number. “You’re as young as you feel,” we hear time and time again, but it’s one thing hearing it and another actually believing it.

So when does it all change? When do we go from being young, carefree children filled with wonder and fascination with the world, to being boxed-in by what others think and tell us? When I was little my biggest concern was whether or not I’d get to buy the newest limited edition Pokemon cards!

But it does change. We begin to let our circumstances define our identity. We experience loved ones passing away; we get bullied at school; we get told, “You’re too fat to do this,” or, “You’re too skinny to do that.” We allow the labels put on us to actually become who we are.

What if I told you that that’s not who you are?

At fifteen, I was told by a loved one that I was too old to start acrobatics; that essentially I shouldn’t attempt one of my childhood dreams. The last thirteen years of free running, dance and movement have left me with some of the most beautiful God-given moments of my life: climbing to the top of many buildings with friends to watch the sun set over Oxford; dancing in a church with a group of my friends till the early hours of the morning; filming in Rotterdam with roads closed-off JUST so that I could run down them; attending movement workshops in Amsterdam with some of my best friends (being so tired that we fell asleep at the airport and missed our flight… it’s funny now). These are just a few of countless beautiful memories I’ve had, none of which would have happened if I’d believed the words that were spoken over me when I was just starting out.

Which words have you allowed to define you or knock you off a childhood dream? And what have you locked away because it now seems too frivolous next to the demands of daily life? I can’t say I’ve kicked against everything that’s been spoken over me (yet) but one thing I have definitely held onto this whole time is my childlikeness; the permission to play. And that is part of what I want to encourage in others through these classes. It is possible to reach a high standard in something without losing the fun and playfulness you have when you start out. So whether you’ve always wanted to try new kinds of movement, or you’ve been doing it for years and it’s got stale (or anything in between), come along and see what we’re about.

And, classes aside, why not choose today which negative label you want to get rid of in your life? Think where you could be in a year’s time if you started now!

Have a beautiful day and know how loved you are!


Here at Bristol Movement Collection we’re passionate about using these incredible bodies we’ve been given to the fullest, so we offer a place where you can mix and match different disciplines of movement. We massively love seeing students obtain new abilities, grow in confidence and achieve things they didn’t think possible, and we encourage a healthy dose of childlike play and wonder throughout. It’s about exploration.

Who are we?

We’ve been teaching different forms of movement for over nine years – things like hand balancing, gymnastics, free running, circus and contemporary movement. We love teaching very much. We love seeing people adding new vocabularies of movement to their ever-growing repertoire of locomotion (thesaurus win).

We love finding the synergy when two or more disciplines meet and create something beautiful. What happens when you put together floor work from contemporary dance and hand balancing? Or combine free running with ballet? We see this kind of contrasting partnership in so many aspects of life – in nature, in urban environments, cultural crossover, language, street art… anything from a thorny rose or thunder & lightning, to different nationalities, classes or faiths doing life together. Why shouldn’t we mix it up a bit in how we explore movement?

This is simply why we’ve set up these classes. We have some incredibly talented teachers and we can’t wait to see what develops as we combine our collections of disciplines to create something beautiful… and fun!

Posted in Circus, Handstands, Podcast, Tumbling Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Podcast Ep.2 – Danny Charge Male Pole Dancer, Dare-devil, Ninja Warrior Contestant

Scottish Male Pole Dancer and Acrobat Danny Charge will be our next guest on the Acro Library Podcast

Danny Charge

Posted in Acrobatics, Circus, Podcast, Pole Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,