With all the organising, teaching and hosting it’s not easy to find the time to plan a performance together! So far we have performed twice in the studio, once in 2015 and once in 2016. Here are images from this year’s show at The Soap Box (October 7 2016). Photos by Dan.
“This is how it all starts, with a hand, a gesture, a touch.”
Our third Soap Box event saw three beautiful moving performances with all female cast of rope artists. The three shows by our guests LacedLines & Laura Cylon, Edna & Ana, and SkinnyRedHead were raw, sensual and bold.
Because there is no story without a beginning, here are our favourite photos from the start of each show.
More photos from the performances below:
LacedLines & Laura Cylon
Edna & Ana Capaken
The Soap Box is a bi-monthly evening of curiosities curated by Gestalta and brought to you by Anatomie Studio.
Are you ready for another spectacular evening of rope performances?
We are proud to bring you our third Soap Box evening this Friday June 3rd we welcome self-suspension artist SkinnyRedhead (Scotland), shibari duo Edna & Anea Capaken (Czech Republic) and Lacedlines & Laura Cylon (England). We will also be screening a short movie by Marte Gunnufsen (Norway).
More info below…
One of the pioneers of UK self-suspension rope performance, SkinnyRedhead has worked with some of the worlds leading rope practitioners including Kinoko Hajime, Saki Kamijoo and Esinem to name a few. She also frequently models for photographic and artistic collaborative projects. Recent appearances include German Fetish Ball, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, DIVE, BARK and ANATOMY as well as self-suspension performances throughout Europe including Germany, France and Greece. She regularly performs at Torture Garden international events in Scotland, Rome and London, and is currently studying for a diploma in Physical Theatre in Edinburgh.
Edna and Anea Capaken have been tying together for more than two years now, and their approach to rope has evolved during that time from tying fancy ties to enjoying the pure intimacy. Edna focuses more on feeling emotions than showing off complicated ties, she uses just a few ropes to tie beautiful Anea. Their connection is based on mutual trust, respect, love, a piece of rope and a cane.
Lacedlines & Laura Cylon (England)
“I think the beauty of rope is many-faceted, and completely dependent on who you tie with. As a top I revel in their beauty, their suffering and their pleasure in a visceral way. The way that I tie can be very close and overwhelming – I love to play with tempo and expectation. Laura and I haven’t tied together for many years, so I expect this tie to be part excitement of a reunion long overdue, and part joy in blissful chemistry.”
‘Flesh’ – A short film by Marte Gunnufsen
With the primary aim of presenting the body as abstract sculpture, Norwegian artist Marte Gunnufsen takes recourse in traditional Japanese rope bondage. This film was first screened in May 2016 as part of an exhibition in Oslo supported by the Norway Arts Council.
Tempted? Don’t miss out!
Our last two events completely sold out and there are no door tickets!
Thank you for joining us for our second ever Soap Box event! The Soap Box is our new bi-monthly evening of curiosities curated by Gestalta and brought to you by Anatomie Studio!
This time we veered away from the more traditional interpretations of rope and married shibari with circus and ballet. As it turns out these make a wonderful combination, and our sold out house witnessed a playful display of movement and dance using ropes. All the pieces were created specifically for the Soap Box event reflecting the individual creative energies and personalities of our performers.
First up were Anatomie’s own Fred performing with the ever elegant Noctuelle. In their short and sweet piece, they merged ballet and ropes to borrow from the theme of the ballet Coppélia that centres around a doll being brought back to life by alchemist Dr Coppelius. Breaking away from tradition, in which the ropes are there to bind, here Fred‘s ropes where a source of liberation, allowing our puppet ballerina to dance freely as she came to life. The harshness of the ties contrasted but also complimented Noctuelle‘s elegance and grace as she dazzled the audience with her ballerina moves.
Next up were Gestalta and Sophia performing the most traditional shibari show of the night. In this intense and dynamic piece called ‘Circles’ the pair explored the relationship between ritual, shibari and theatre. This was a beautiful and dreamy show is which Gestalta‘s ropes played to Sophia‘s agility and bendiness. The two made the the perfect duo to showcase the magic of shibari to our expectant audience: intensity, connection, sensuality, theatricality, multiple sticking visual shapes. The show came full circle with the two switching roles at the very end bringing the show to a meaningful and powerful closure.
Our third show of the night was provided by the madly creative Glü Wür who definitely stepped out of the box in this incredible piece called ‘Bag’. Glü Wür was our special guest for the night, coming all the way from Barcelona, and she didn’t disappoint! performing entirely inside a makeshift fabric bag, she taunted the audience and self-suspended before disappearing again into the darkness…
Your can learn more about Glü here and watch a snippet of her performance in video here.
Finally, but definitely not least, we had the pleasure to witness a bit of pure corde lisse magic with professional performance artist Maisy Taylor. Maisy gave us a taste of her creative power with her evocative piece ‘Thirteen’, an intimate rope act exploring innocence and fragility, of a female form that is exposed and awkward, but ultimately free. Maisy awed the audience with the grace and fluidity with which she moved in the air creating dreamy and contorted poses that told a beautiful story.
Our next Soap Box event will be on June 3rd and Gestalta has already booked some fantastic performers that you definitely won’t want to miss… ! Stay tuned for details and ticket release. Our last two events sold out completely so secure your tickets early.
A lot of people ask us how to learn rope and how to progress in rope once they’ve picked up some of the basics, so we thought we’d write a post about it!
The truth is that rope can get quite addictive! In the studio we notice that rope tends to attract a lot of ‘brainy’ people full of intellectual curiosity and technical minds, so it’s not unusual for people to want to keep accumulating knowledge.
This is true whatever your intention and inclination is in rope. For some, shibari is very much an extension of their kink and sexuality and a tool to enhance intimacy and connection, for others it’s more about the ‘pretty patterns’ and the artistry, the aesthetics of the bodies bound in rope, and for others still it’s the circus-like acrobatics that appeal. In fact, this reflects the variety of backgrounds of our attendees at Anatomie – from academics, to actors to circus artists.
Our mission is to facilitate rope education and knowledge in an environment that is inclusive, safe and positive, so we welcome and embrace all of the facets of rope and what it means to different people. Whatever your interest, at its core, rope is something that brings people together and it’s about partnership, trust, communication, friendships, love and connection.
So, how do you learn rope? And how do you get good at it?
If you live in London, you’ve very lucky as there is a thriving rope community with events for all budgets and levels of commitment. A good way to dip your toes in the water and discover rope is by attending practice events – not only do you learn things, but you also get to make friends in the community. At Anatomie we have two practice events per week and they cost a mere £7 per person, and one all day event one Saturday per month (£12).
Our Tuesday Rope Jam is open to all levels and is for open practice. This is a great evening to see what rope is all about, you can chat and make friends with our regulars in the upstairs mezzanine (tea and coffee are free), or sit in our giant bean bags in the gallery, read some books from our library corner, and watch over what people are doing in rope. You’ll be able to see anything from fancy suspensions to playful floor work – and even people treating their jute rope and geeking about it! There is usually always some level of peer to peer teaching so you can just join in and pick up some basics.
Since rope is really about people and making connections, this is a really relaxed and easy way to make friends and be part of the local community.
Our Thursday Rope Jams are perfect for absolute beginners as we do a full introduction to the space, its etiquette, and we teach a 1,5 hour total beginner taster class. Things you will learn on Thursdays include specific ties and patterns, how to control and properly tension rope, how to tie with intention, specific hand movements useful for rope, details about frictions and knots, aspects of the history and context of shibari. We try to change it up so every Thursday will be a bit different with different teachers and material. Most of the emphasis on our Thursday classes is to open your mind to what rope can be all about (‘it’s not about what you do but how you do it’ is something you will hear us say over and over!).
We emphasise that shibari is a partnership activity, it’s about much more than making pretty patterns on people, it’s about telling a story, it’s to make the rope speak and be meaningful, to do it with intention and make it feel good.
A lot of people turn up on their own on Thursdays, and a lot of first timers to the studio come on Thursdays so there is a lot of opportunities to both tie and get tied, and most importantly make friends!
If you come to enough Tuesday and Thursday evening jams, you might feel you want to learn more and progress further in your rope journey. In this case, we recommend attending classes and workshops. Start with classes that are geared towards beginners, and here you will learn in a structure way all the basic and classic patterns, ties, knots and frictions. We have a full day beginners class every month on a Sunday and you are welcome to book as a couple (or pair/duo), or as a solo attendee (you’ll pair up with one of the other solo attendees and switch during the class).
Rope is all about muscle memory though so if you don’t practice, you’re likely to forget it all! So in this case you might enjoy taking advantage of our Tuesday and Thursday rope jams as a place to practice what you’ve learned. This is especially valuable because you’ll have a lot of people around you who can give you tips if you forget some aspects of what you’ve learned (including the teachers who are almost always at the jams) and you can always ask others around you to show you more things to build on what you’re learned.
If you’re still thirsty for knowledge after that, well, keep going to classes and workshops and most importantly, practicing! There is literally an infinite amount to learn about shibari, not just on the technical aspects, but the more psychological, philosophical and even historical aspects of the practice. Sometimes when we can we will have a Japanese presenter over and they will be able to add information about the more abstract details of the practice of shibari, such as interesting aspects about aesthetics, linguistic nuances and other more complex concepts related to the interaction between rigger and partner, and cultural differences between East and West that come into play in rope scenes. Other times we will have European presenters who are innovating and breaking away from tradition in some very exciting ways.
Whatever your goal or interest, there is plenty of scope for learning and making this practice something of your own, and most importantly, plenty of scope to be part of a community and make connections with amazing people.
Want to buy a good Japanese shibari tutorial book? Get this one!
Aside from Anatomie Studio, in London you also have Peer Rope London (the original rope meet and the oldest running rope event in London), which runs once per month on a Sunday at the Resistance Gallery, Hackney. You also have Hitchin’ Bitches, which is the female rope group (open to anyone identifying as female and to male rope bottoms). They meet once per month on a Saturday at the Flying Dutchman, Camberwell.
Our next Soap Box night is taking place on April 1st and we’ll be marrying shibari with other performative arts such as circus and ballet!
The first performer has been announced: GLÜ WÜR is a Chilean artist who lives in Barcelona, where she conducts various studies, the practice of shibari mixed with acrobatic aerial being one of her specialisations.
“Training and performing with ropes has brought me to many people. Connecting in a different way to what people imagine about bondage. For me it is a very sensual art, rather than sexual; emotional nonverbal communication that delivers confidence through being tied up. Bonding with my play partners is a very enriching experience, and when practicing self bondage or self suspension the adrenaline is so nice, finding control over the pain.”
Her work has been seen in Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, London, San Francisco/CA and Santiago/Chile.
GLÜ WÜR will be performing a new variation on her show ‘Bag’ that she’s developing for The April Soap Box.
“‘Bag’ is a self suspension about non identity. Stereotypes that tend to pigeonhole people in a certain prejudices. This performance is reminder that every human being is unique and unrepeatable.”