ALL ABOUT HANDSTANDS: Natalie
This is the 11th issue of my ALL ABOUT HANDSTANDS Interview series and today it's all about GIRL POWER since today's handbalancer is a very KICK ASS lady. My curiosity seems to be endless when it comes to picking the brains of my favorite Instagram Handbalancers, as I am "just" a yogi who loves being upside down, compared to professional contemporary circus artists who have turned their passion into their profession for life.
MEET NATALIE RECKERT
I've met Natalie for one of her workshops in Munich a couple of years ago and was amazed by her strength and lightness on two or one arm. I have never seen a woman move so gracefully and with so much ease. I got curious how she started her handstand journey which is why I was very happy she agreed to join my interview series. Let's find out out more about Natalie:
1. Tell me something about yourself: Who are you and what are you passionate about?
I am a professional acrobat passionate about making my physical expertise and my mindset accessible to as many people as possible, through my online courses, through teaching and with my performances.
2. Your IG name is @natalie_handbalancing How much time do you spend upside down per day?
I work as a freelancer so it is hard to keep a similar routine every week. In an ideal week I like to train handstands 3 times a week for approximately three hours and then do other types of training throughout the week. If am rehearsing for a performance I will do a 45 minute technical handstand training in the morning and then do a lot of handstands throughout the day.
3. What is the craziest One Arm Handstand variation you can do and what is your favorite Handstand of all?
One of the hardest sequences I do is this one here where I go from a figa shape to the sideways shape with pulling my leg and then lever down to straddle. It is really challenging as it passes though three different shoulder positions and balance points. From a very open shoulder with my hips above me in the figa, to the more closed and compressed shoulder position in the sideways handstand with the deep side bend and then to a full leverage position. Handstands is very much about negotiating the hip to shoulder ratio.
My favourite handstand is this sideways handstand with pulling my leg.
On its own, this handstand is not difficult for me, in fact it is one of the safest handstands I can do. It works out 99.9% of the time for me. When I do this shape on stage, during a performance, it always gets a big audience reaction because it looks impossibly hard. This handstand works with a bit of a visual illusion. I bend to the side a lot but I am also pulling my leg to the front of me, which makes it look like I am bending more than I really am. Actually holding on to the leg stabilizes the position. So while I hear the audience react I have a little giggle and a smile inside my head, thinking this is really very easy for me.
4. At what age did you start training? Did you do Ballet or…?
I started doing sports acrobatics at the age of five which I competed in until I was 16. I continued to practice handstands on my own at home after that and started doing ballet at the age of 16 in a local evening class, together with my mother. We started together, she was in her forties and I was a teenager. It was fun!
I then auditioned for the National Centre of Circus Arts in London, where I specialized in handbalancing. I also spent a study year at Sozo Vim contemporary dance school, to learn more about different approaches to moving and training the body.