Natalie graduated from the National Centre for Circus Arts in London in 2007 and has since performed in variety shows and toured internationally with the Generating Company, Stumble Dance and Sugar Beast Circus.
Over the last decade Natalie has collaborated with many leading artists in the field of contemporary circus, including Finnish aerialist Ilona Ja?ntti and Company Collectif And Then. In 2014 she created her own full-length solo performance Selfie with Eggs, a highly skilled one-woman experiment to test the limits of the body and the choice to use your body as your art and instrument. It is a comic self-portrait of an acrobat, a funny, moving and thought-provoking story about putting yourself in the centre of the picture. Selfie with Eggs had a successful run at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and continues to tour internationally. One of her most recent works is Natalie Inside Out, a performance combining live acrobatics, interactive technologies and video projection. This collaboration with digital artist Mark Morreau investigates the relationship between the actual and the mediatised body. It embeds movement on stage into projected landscapes on screen, to reveal the underlying mechanics, emotions and motivations of the circus body.
Natalie is passionate about the benefits hand-balancing has for body and mind: “It is a great workout for the whole body. It focuses your mind and gives you clear goals to work towards. The moment of balance can be both meditative and exhilarating.”
Alongside her career as a performer in theatres and shows, Natalie has been teaching hand-balancing in Yoga studios and gyms for over 10 years. Most recently she moved on to online streaming platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo where she offers a range of popular tutorials on how to learn or improve a handstand. The content of her online courses range from classes for absolute beginners to professionals continuing and improving their handstand technique and training.
In our current times of restrictions, Natalie’s online courses have become more important than ever. To her students who can continue to have access to Natalie’s expertise and vast knowledge on handstand training and also to herself, to be able to continue her work as a teacher and artist.
“I want to help people who don’t have any handstand classes close by to have access to instructions and follow-along classes. Likewise if you travel frequently, if you have children or are caring for another person at home it is often impossible to go to a regular class”, she says. According to feedback online, this idea seems to have struck a chord. Many people who practice with Natalie online share the fascination for handstands with the people who come to her workshops. Most of them have set a challenge for themselves to master the handstand, whereas some want to overcome fear and others are looking for a completely immersive physical experience that offers respite from their busy lives.
“When my brother suggested to me a few years back to create handstand tutorials for YouTube, I thought: Who cares about handstands?” Now, hand-balancing has become popular across Yoga, Cross Fit and the general public as a leisure activity. Natalie’s most popular YouTube video has over 150,000 clicks.
Her latest coup is an intensive course on Vimeo: A seven week long online handstand course teaching step by step basics of hand balancing. Starting off with upper body strength and core stability, the course takes you through wrist stabilisation exercises, leg stretches and of course: lots and lots of handstand exercises. “One of the most important steps in learning a handstand is to improve your shoulder mobility, so that you can fully extend your arms above your head.” The course is very methodical and, where it may not sound fun at first, Natalie’s deadpan humour and precise instructions make this course a rich learning experience. “It is important to approach the handstand in small steps and build strength over time to prevent injuries,” Natalie explains.
The course is the essence of Natalie’s lifelong experience as a hand-balancer and teacher. This amounts to a lot, considering that she started as a gymnast at the age of five. “I was a very lively child and jumped around the living room a lot. My mother then took me to the local sports acrobatics club.” Her fascination with movement continued. At the London National Centre for Circus Arts she studied theatre, acrobatics and dance and continued her training at Visions in Motion Dance School in Germany researching the integration of contemporary dance and acrobatics. In 2017 Natalie wrote her dissertation about the effects of upper body training on the body image of women in circus at the Humboldt University in Berlin.
Natalie is back to teaching group classes in East London at Hackney Wick’s training space Fish Island Circus starting 11th of August. The classes will run every Tuesday 7-8:45, drop-in format. Classes are suitable for absolute beginners who would like to try a handstand class for the very first time.
Find out more about Natalie’s course & get a 50% discount on her 7 week online course with discount code: Keepitup2020:
Online courses: https://nataliereckert.com/portfolio.html
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