This online course will give you the tools needed to safely and efficiently improve your backbends, focusing on upper back and shoulders. It is appropriate for all levels, from the beginning flexibility student to the professional performing artist. The course starts by discussing relevant anatomy and physiology of stretching, in terms you can ACTUALLY understand. Then, you’ll be lead through this four-part program one structure at a time. Each exercise will be broken down into its main components, so you’ll not only understand how to do the exercise correctly, but also what each exercise accomplishes. At the end of the course, you’ll have two separate workout plans (provided as downloadable PDF documents with photos and descriptions) to implement after you have a solid understanding of the individual exercises. These workouts, and their component exercises, are all engineered to work together to optimally enhance all aspects of upper body flexibility while also strengthening the muscles required for injury prevention!
Catie Brier is a flexibility and contortion instructor based in San Francisco, California. She began her training at Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay at the age of 11, learning from Debra Brown (renowned choreographer, Cirque du Soleil) and internationally acclaimed contortionist Laurence Racine.
Upon moving to San Francisco, Catie trained with acrobatics legend Master Lu Yi at the San Francisco Circus Center, and Mongolian contortionist Serchmaa Byamba. Soon after, Catie performed in countless shows across North America, with companies including Quixotic, Circus Bella, Trapeze World and New Pickle Circus.
For the last eight years, Catie has honed her skills as an instructor, and developed a thriving and entirely unique contortion program at Circus Center in San Francisco. In 2013 Catie established the Contortion Intensive, a one of a kind intensive summer training program specifically for contortionists. Today, her highly personalized, safe and effective techniques attract students from all over the world. Throughout her career Catie has been passionate about teaching the art of contortion, while inspiring people to push the limits of what their bodies can do.
Dr. Jennifer Crane is a physical therapist, athletic trainer, board certified orthopedic specialist, and published author. She has been a sports medicine professional for eight years, and has worked with a wide variety of athletes and performing artists throughout that time. Most recently, she worked as a physiotherapist living in China with the Chinese Olympic Teams in preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympics. While in China, she worked with multiple sports teams: diving, weight-lifting, fencing, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, and track and field. Of the athletes she worked with, 18 of them went on to get an Olympic gold medal in Rio. Now happily back in San Francisco, Jen's practice is based at Circus Center, where she specializes in injury prevention and treatment of circus artists. She works closely with performing artists of all specialties and all levels, from the brand new aerial student to professional acrobats, aerialists, hand-balancers, and contortionists. When she's not working with circus artists, she can usually be found standing on her hands, swinging on flying trapeze, or spinning on a single point trapeze.