I am fully aware this may not be a popular post and it is not aimed at anyone particular but simply a response to my experience over the years. In the spirit of furthering invention and celebrating discovery, I'd like to take a moment to talk about Insta-etiquette. I'm not just talking about tagging and bragging, those rules are pretty well observed and are common-sense things we should all do to respect the truly creative artists we ALL copy. I'm talking about acknowledging the fact that as a community - our art is DEFINED by a global community of artists who contribute daily to the shared pool of online aerial knowledge. We can't by very definition own it, we're making it up as we go! That would be like a student getting upset that a lecturer copied Einstein by referring to the theory of relativity - once something is out there and it works, it is going to get absorbed into the general pool of knowledge.
When it comes to aerial skills what is 'invention'? Let's be real here - it would be almost impossible to track down the inventor of every skill. I'm positive that right around the world people are discovering new tricks for the first time, at the same time. So there are likely to be several 'inventors' of any given skill, pose or transition. I don't understand this tendency to try and formalize what is a very organic process of discovery and invalidate someone else's discovery just to claim 'invention'. I see it on Instagram, between studios and even across instructors. And its not only petty, its unfounded. There are a few (but not many) obvious original creations like "Spatchcock" by Felix Cane, but for the most part, the body of online aerial knowledge has come from a community of like-minded enthusiasts, professionals and amateurs alike, whose willingness to share, teach and create together has led to an IMPROVEMENT in quality and vastness of that pool of knowledge.
I consider myself to be creative, but out of all the aerial I teach every week, so far as I can tell I've only truly invented one thing. And I can't be sure; how could I? It's this lovely little exit from Russian Split on hoop into a standing Y. It feels great, it's an expedient transition and it looks cool. But if somebody else claimed its invention it wouldn't bother me in the slightest! In fact I'm positive loads of other people do this transition, I just haven't seen it around much. All I know is than Dan Power and I came up with it at a gig because we needed to change from Russian Split (a shape where we couldn't see each other) into another shape where we could see each other quickly. Necessity as usual leads to invention. And it was a great little find! Now I have students requesting to learn it all the time. My point is this - there's joy in discovery! But as soon we start getting all bent out of shape about who owns a trick and who invented it, the joy dissipates.
Proverb: "There is nothing new under the Sun", meaning that all that is to be discovered has already been, but that doesn't mean that you can't experience JOY in finding these things for yourself! As a teacher I LOVE seeing students' faces light up when they stumble on a new find. In that sense, each and every body's discovery is a valid and authentic experience that we should cherish more than the chance to 'name and claim' something.
In the same token, please respect the work of others by tagging them if you copy their moves and don't write "inspired by" unless your move is truly a variation of theirs - in that way we not only expand the use of creative moves but better ourselves by co-inventing variations to suit all kinds of bodies. Generosity will always disarm disrespect and we only do ourselves an injustice if we start clinging to our 'inventions' and hoarding knowledge instead of contributing, acknowledging and aspiring to attempt the work of those whose dedication and creativity expands our art form. If you don't want your moves to be tried by others, don't make them public, simple as that. Let's not ruin the beautiful ig-vibe that fosters creativity, let's celebrate the endless wealth of aerial knowledge there is to be unearthed and aspire to those who exemplify skills done at their best instead of getting our knickers in a knot because someone copied 'your' move - after all Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery :-)