Weekend Immersion: Rope and Fabric w/ Molly Graves & Jessica John

April 17 – 19, 2020

Get ready to defy gravity and challenge your aerial brain with vertical zealots Jessica John and Molly Graves! Areas of focus will include the biomechanics and body control involved in challenging techniques such as c-shapes and roll-ups, slow-mo analysis of complex dynamic skills including various beat pathways, and plenty of time geeking out on esoteric brain teasers and juicy rope/fabric theory! We will dump out our collective vertical tool boxes, exploring topics like changing planes of movement in standard wraps and drops, how momentum translates from rope to fabric, as well as demystifying sneaky techniques including stuffits, slack drags, tuck throughs, surprising grips and hand-switches, and the elusive world of hip hops/break beats! This workshop is open to intermediate to advanced students of rope and/or fabric, and time will be spent on both apparatuses.


Date: April 17-19, 2020
Cost: $350 ($325 early bird before March 27)
Instructor: Molly Graves & Jessica John
Age: 16 & up or by permission
Schedule: Friday, 1:30 – 5 pm. Saturday, 10:30 am – 3:30 pm. Sunday, 9 am – 12 pm.
Prerequisites: This workshop is for intermediate- to advanced-level students with a regular vertical practice. You should be comfortable with hip keys, standard dive drop (opposite side wrap/forward rotating), and single star drop. You should also be able to do two to three pull ups and invert repeatedly with confidence in the air. Experience with basic beats and a short (1–2 second) one-arm hang is helpful.


Jessica John / @cordelisse
New Orleans native Jessica John is an ardent movement researcher and multidisciplinary aerialist who specializes in aerial rope, aerial fabric, and dance trapeze. She is best known for her work challenging gender norms and blending circus, dance, and performance art through non-narrative structures. Jessica is the founder and director of Alter Circus, a feminist contemporary circus and performance company. She was introduced to aerial rope by Toronto-based dancer Brandy Leary, and performed in Brandy’s 2014 celebrated work Cascade—a large-scale durational aerial choreography. Jessica has gone on to produce and direct numerous award-winning collaborative and solo works. In 2019, she was selected to participate in Circus Sessions, a week-long circus laboratory and think-tank of internationally renowned circus artists, instructors, and researchers.

Jessica’s coaching style emphasizes strength and innovation. She employs techniques learned through a decade of research spanning the globe, and also as a Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® trainer. Jessica, a former lawyer and intelligence analyst, takes an intellectual approach to movement, using novel progressions and ground-based educatives to find biomechanical advantage while minimizing actual and perceived effort. She has taught circus and flexibility workshops and retreats across North America. Previous students have been accepted into camps like Circus Smirkus; professional programs at Ecole Nationale de Cirque, New England Center for Circus Arts, and San Diego Circus Center; and competitions and festivals like Cirque du Demain, Circus Stars USA, and the Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival.

Formerly residing in Washington, DC, Jessica is newly based in Corvallis, OR, and looks forward to continuing coaching and creating in Oregon.

Molly Graves / @aerialrope
Molly Graves is a Tennessee native who boasts a life-long interest in all things acrobatic. She currently resides in Brattleboro, VT, where she coaches on faculty with the ProTrack Professional Training Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA). Molly’s additional teaching credits include the International Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder, CO; the International Rope Meeting in Barcelona, Spain; East Coast Aerial Arts Festival and Carolina Aerial and Dance Exchange in Charlotte, NC; Atlanta Aerial Arts Festival and collaborations with Susan Murphy at The Marsh Studio in Darien, GA.

While she enjoys spending time on aerial fabric and trapeze, Molly is especially drawn to the simplicity and elegance of aerial rope. She has performed as a guest artist with Acrobatic Conundrum, at Circus Now’s International Contemporary Circus Exposure in NY, and at the International Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival in Denver, CO, where she was awarded “Best Technical Performance” for her aerial rope act in 2014. Additionally, Molly counts herself lucky to be a member of the inspiring and empowering companies Girls on Trapeze and Big Teeth Performance Collective.


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