The use of a rope in aerial: Corde Lisse also known as Free Rope or Aerial Rope

The use of a rope in aerial: Corde Lisse also known as Free Rope or Aerial Rope
Written by Vertical Wise

The Aerial Circus Discipline of Corde Lisse, also known as Free Rope or Aerial Rope, uses a cotton rope which hangs vertically from the ceiling. Corde Lisse has a lot in common with Aerial Silks in terms of the moves and postures that can be performed on the Aerial Rope. Corde Lisse is literally French for “smooth rope”. However, it is quite distinct from the Spanish Web (whereby the performer / aerialist climbs to a small loop and also threads through a wrist, neck or ankle ready to be spun quickly by a partner whipping round the rope at the bottom).

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About Corde Lisse

The moves basically involve both held postures and drops through the use of a rope that hangs from the top (ceiling).

Ideal rope – Commonly used ropes are made from soft cotton about 30mm- 35mm thick. As this is enough to ensure the safety of performers.
Two or more people can perform on the same rope although it is very rare to have more than two performers. Both performers could be at different and distant heights on the rope or hang off each other. Ropes are generally cotton, not as soft as you might hope, and divide for the most part into two types: a loose, flexible three-ply knit; and a denser, stiffer braided style.

Corde Lisse requires great skill and strength to prevent a fall as performers are not provided with any form of safety measure. However, it can be mastered by any willing individual as there are many circus centers and schools that teach rope all around the world.

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Corde Lisse Skills

The technique is closely related to both Aerial Silks and Spanish web.

Corde Lisse involves several moves which are executed by the performers. Some of these moves are given below, however, it is not a complete list as several moves are being developed on a daily basis. They are grouped by the number of performers.

The solo moves (ones that are executed by a single performer ) include; the front flip, horizontal flip, big knot, crochet, crucifixion, dive, arabesque, basic upside-down hang, fan, knee lock, hip key, lean out, loop, one arm hang, piston, leg wraps (same and opposite side, left and right leg) and so on.

The double moves (ones executed by two performers ) include; the front balance, flower, angel, ankle hang, leg catch amongst others.

In recent years, most of the innovations are mainly focused on building the acrobatic vocabulary associated with the discipline. Various techniques have been derived from an Indian gymnastic art known as Mallakhamb. This uses a thinner rope and goes heavy on holds as well as toe drops. Mallakhamb involves fast and snappy movements but nevertheless, focused aerialists have found a way to adapt and translate.

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What to wear

If you are a beginner and looking to learn Corde Lisse, one major fact to note is that Corde Lisse techniques are primarily done in bare feet. However, the arms and legs should not be left uncovered. Furthermore, leggings and long-sleeved tops or leotards and layered clothing are best.

Compared to silks, Corde Lisse doesn’t have such commercial/corporate value, but rope artists don’t care.

[bctt tweet=”Compared to silks, Corde Lisse doesn’t have such commercial value but rope artists don’t care.” username=”verticalwise”]

About the author

Vertical Wise

The international website working to support and spread the word about the pole and aerial fitness

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