Full Circle Zita

My signature (nude) aerial silks piece started as a homage to sexual relationship, to not giving up on loving someone, even when you get bucked off. The act began as a physical illustration of the struggle to shed the defenses that bind us, finding strength in being vulnerable, and how sex can contribute to the art of self discovery.

This character is established earlier in the show as someone who is timid and quiet – until they find themselves seemingly alone with their obsession.

The piece morfed meaning, and genders (I now know I am non-binary) over the years as I performed it, representing first a specific relationship, then love and connection as a whole, and then my relationships within, including the one I have with my sexuality, and lastly the one I have with my darkness — which I performed on black silks rather than red.

When I first started performing the piece, and for quite some time thereafter, I had to get to the green room right away when I came off the silks, because the wave of what I now know as grief was so strong I would convulse and sob uncontrollably.

Often the deep sobbing would start while I was still curled up inside the silks, and I’d come down as quickly as I could, choking down a river. When I was safe I would completely loose my shit, and something totally overwhelming would rip through my body like a hurricane, and last for extended periods of time.

Sometimes, when I was lucky, there would be a puzzled someone or two there to hold me.

Though I’d come to many theories about it, and over time that response softened, I had no real idea why it was happening.

Due in part to this reaction, I didn’t perform the piece often, perhaps once a year or two. The opportunities to perform it always coincided with a big level up in my personal growth, often cauterizing what had been a long psychic process.

Each time I performed it, the dramatic swell into my big drop felt angry, and forceful, and nearly always, sexual. It represented for me both what I valued about my personality and what I felt deeply ashamed of. That inevitable struggle for power that would result in me being batted away and hurting.

Now I know why. Now I see what I was trying to tell myself.

The following video cannot do this act justice. People who saw this in person were transformed along with me, and due in part to the nudity, the opportunity was rare. Zita was something special, this act was something special, and I am honored to have had the courage and the support to have done this in my life.

Performed June 9, 2010, four years before I wrote about my epiphanies regarding rape culture, for “There must be something in the Air”, a benefit for Versatile Arts, the aerial gym I call home.

The music is from the Batman Begins soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. Video footage courtesy of Block My Eye Films, which I edited over one insomniatic night.



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