I am a professional acrobat based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. I came from mainly a self-taught background and eventually went on to perform on a professional level and teach all over the world. In addition to performing, I teach workshops in hand balancing, acrobatics, and the physical arts to help people gain a greater sense of freedom and self-awareness.
Products and Services:
I offer seminars, workshops, and other in-personal educational experiences for all levels.
I also offer one on one coaching, group training, and online coaching.
Additionally, something for those who desire less commitment, I offer educational material in the form of text and video for little to no cost.
I was born in Odessa, Ukraine but my family emigrated to the United States in 1992, not long after the Soviet collapse.
I was not super active as a child, but was not sedentary by any means. I participated in some standard sports (soccer, baseball,etc.) and spent time playing outside but was not particularly athletic.
Towards the end of high school, around 16-17 years old is when my interest in the physical arts began to develop. It started more or less with some backyard martial arts inspired by Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and the like. Another early inspiration for me were the old school strongmen; particularly guys like Maxick and Monte Saldo who had impressive body control and awareness. Actually, it was from the old time strongmen that I got interested in handstands, though the technique they used at the time is not sound by today’s standards.
After high school, I attended Ohio University where I was exposed to many more physical arts. This included: capoeira, various other martial arts, tricking, gymnastics, weightlifting and cheerleading.
While I was exposed to all of these arts, the large majority of my learning was self-taught. I did not have teachers, and back then there were not really any online educational materials. Thus, most of learning process involved making mistakes and trying to figure out what to change in my technique to correct them.
University is also when I started teaching the physical arts, I sort of got thrown into it, I did it for my own purposes. These included trying to build some sort of community, and being able to access other peoples’ own learning processes to further my own development.
I finished college with a bachelor’s degree in physics and a minor in math (along with being a D1 varsity collegiate athlete my final two years), after which I got a job in the corporate world.
I quickly found that the corporate life was not for me. I worked as a contractor generally anywhere from 60-80 hours a week. While I did get good overtime pay, I did not have the time or energy to pursue my interests.
Upon retiring, I took to coaching and teaching kids gymnastics. This was the opposite of my previous job in many ways; I moved down to a much more humble paygrade, worked less than the standard 40 hour workweek, and had more time and opportunity to stay close to what I was truly interested in.
Eventually I made the move from Cleveland, Ohio to Las Vegas. Moving to LV allowed me the opportunity to be around, train with, and learn from people who were my superiors in what I was interested in. This also opened up the doors to the world of circus for me, and allowed for some amazing performing opportunities I would never have had access to in Ohio.
I have performed as an acrobat on the Las Vegas Strip and Broadway as well as on national television.
This whole time I continued teaching, and improving on my ability to do so. I taught mainly kids but when i started to work with adults I learned an interesting lesson that I relearn constantly: teaching is about always reassessing what you think it means to be a beginner.
So many concepts that I believed to be obvious were things that I would have to break down and explain in an adult teaching scenario; and I saw that my analytical mindset and self-taught background helped immensely.
It was upon realizing this that I began to offer workshops, and eventually travel abroad to help educate people around the world.
I am very passionate about the physical arts and the learning process in general, so teaching is something I greatly enjoy.
I believe that as a teacher I possess the following attributes that allow for a unique approach to my subject:
-Analytical and introspective mindset along with a formal background in hard science
-Awareness of different learning processes.
I have taught children and adults with varying backgrounds and levels from complete beginner, to professional athletes & performers. I understand how students with different backgrounds and learning styles process information differently, and I know how to adjust my teaching style accordingly on-the-fly.
This also helps me to be aware of the different restrictions people have that keep them from learning the skills, whether the restrictions are physical or psychological.
I followed my own path to achieve my skill set with little to no guidance or instruction most of the time. This means much of my progress was made through experimentation and learning from my mistakes. Though this may have hindered my development as an athlete, this gives me a huge advantage as a teacher in picking out students’ mistakes and identifying with their struggle.
-Varied training background.
At this point I have trained in many different disciplines including but not limited to: capoeira, gymnastics, martial arts, weightlifting, dance, circus arts, etc. This gives me a better perspective on how students coming from these backgrounds will view the skills I present. It also allows me to teach the skills from different perspectives as opposed to a one-size-fits-all idealistic approach.
-Years of practical teaching experience.
There’s a saying that goes like this: “In theory, practice is the same as the theory. In practice, it’s not.” Teaching is a skill, and even though knowledge is free or cheap the experience of how to apply it cannot be bought.
I have years of practical experience and always try to learn more to improve my craft.
I believe a good teacher is one that eventually renders themselves obsolete. Thus, I try to promote independent thought in those that learn from me, so they can take what they learn from me and do something with it (as opposed to regurgitate). I believe that teaching in this way is beneficial to advancing the collective knowledge of the community and discipline in question.
-It’s not about the skills
Even though upon first glance it may appear I am teaching people party tricks, I try to look a bit deeper than the surface. It’s not the tricks that matter to me so much the process taken to learn them. Ask “what can I learn about myself from pursuing this movement?”
To me the experience is more interesting than the final product, especially since “achieving” something in itself can be fluid as someone’s perspective and standards change.