A L C H E M I E // The Revolution

They say politics and rope don’t mix… so we’re mixing them…

BREXIT

Anna Noctuelle and MnR present…

‘Sacrificing of Europa’

In this piece Anna Noctuelle and MnR give voice to their feelings concerning Brexit and the recent political developments in Europe and the world by making their ropes political for this charged and highly topical performance.

Next event: Friday July 14 2017 | Event listing here | Ticket link here

About the performers:

Anna Noctuelle discovered Shibari over a decade ago and her background in classical dance influences her approach as a rope performer. She regards Shibari as a complete art form and is passionate about rope modelling – in fact she belongs to the endangered species of people who don’t switch… just yet. As a former ballet dancer and current yoga addict, Noctuelle has got phenomenal body awareness skills and has recently started sharing and teaching her insights from inside the ropes.

MnR first discovered shibari in 2014 and this quickly evolved into a love affair with ropes. MnR found a special place in the warm and welcoming London rope community. He loves learning, practicing and connecting with people and attends many rope workshops in the studio and also abroad. He has been a regular at Anatomie Studio since it opened and quickly became an essential member of the studio.

“Beyond Levels” : tackling the issue of mixed levels in workshops and the self-assessment subjectivity problem

In order to tackle the issue of mixed levels in workshops we decided soon after opening Anatomie Studio to work with pre-requisites rather than levels (i.e. intermediate, advanced, etc) for workshops happening in the space.

So far we are extremely pleased with this method and have experienced more homogeneous cohorts in our workshops.

We’ve been asked by several people to publish examples of the pre-requisites we use and how we phrase them, so that’s what this writing is.

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What does this mean?

This means that belong ‘beginners’ we don’t use terms like ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’ as there is a large degree if subjectivity in how people self-asses their rope skills (whether rigging or bottoming).

Instead we list the knowledge (theoretical or practical) that attendees should gave before attending the workshop, much like we list the items (ropes, gear, clothing) that attendees should bring to the workshop.

Pre-requisites are listed for rope bottoms and riggers.

I should mention that the pre-requisites are not enforced – meaning that we don’t actually go around checking if people are being honest about meeting the pre-requisites – we assume people are informed adults that will take on the responsibility of meeting them before the class.

We use the Takate Kote (here on after referred to as ‘TK’) as a standard measure of skill for both rope bottoms and rigger regardless of whether workshops are Takate Kote based.

Are there disadvantages?

Because pre-requisites are not enforced there is always a risk that some people will not have met the pre-requisites for the workshop.

Anatomie Studio Pre-requisites for Workshops and Classes

These are the pre-requisite combinations that we currently use in the studio.

1 – No pre-requisites for riggers or models
 [for example: for our Discover Shibari classes]

2 – Riggers: must know a non-collapsible single column tie / Bottoms: must know the difference between nerve and circulation impingement, and must be able to give appropriate feedback [for example: for our Takate Kote class]

3 – Riggers: must know to tie a structural TK2 taught in a class, workshop or private tuition 
/ Bottoms: same as above plus should be comfortable being tied in a TK [for example: for our Third Rope class]

4 – Riggers: must know a structured TK3 and how to attach mainlines taught in a class, workshop or private tuition 
/ Bottoms: same as above plus should be comfortable being suspended from a TK [for example: for our Fly! Intro to Suspension class]

5 – Riggers: must be comfortable suspending from a structured TK2 or TK3 and comfortable with suspension line management taught in a class, workshop or private tuition 
/ Bottoms: same as above [for example: for our Fly More! Intro to Transitions class]

6 – Riggers: must be comfortable/proficient with suspension transitions from a TK2 or TK3 taught in a class, workshop or private tuition 
/ Bottoms: must be experienced with suspension transitions (including being self-aware and have good body management skills), must also be able to give appropriate feedback [for example: for Pedro’s ‘Bamboo and Shibari’ workshop]

Pay-what-you-can Community Class this Friday June 23rd!

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Our next community class is happening this Friday!

This month we will be covering how to build diamond patterns​ (or ‘hishi’ patterns) using three different rope techniques. We will learn about technical details, but also aesthetics as well as the sensations and feelings that we can create with diamond patterns. Anna Bones will be leading the class. Knowledge of a single column tie is highly desirable.

Reserve your spot here (for free) and pay on the day in cash at the end of the class. We suggest a minimum donation of £10 per person, please give what feels right within your budget.


At Anatomie Studio we strive to bring you the best shibari classes with the very best shibari teachers we know, and although the workshops can be pricey, we think they’re well worth the investment, especially considering rope can be a high risk activity!

However, not everyone is able to afford our classes, and being committed to the dissemination of rope education as we are in the studio, we wanted to offer everyone the possibility to learn within their budgets in the new year.

For this reason, in 2017 we are introducing semi-regular ‘Pay-What-You-Can’ community shibari classes by our in-house teachers. The classes will follow an informal structure, providing a mix of tutoring and peer lab time.

Paying the Workshop Model – some thoughts based on two years of running Anatomie

This year we have been working towards structuring a bit better our descriptions for the role of the workshop model, including expectations and payments at Anatomie Studio. This is the result of two years of trial and error (emphasis on *error*…), as well as many conversations with friends and presenters on the topic.

Even though the following structure is not perfect it’s a structure that we’re happy with at the moment so we’re sharing it.

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The role of the workshop bottom

The way we see it there are two roles a model/bottom can take during a workshop: they can either be a ‘Demo Bottom’, meaning they facilitate teaching, or a ‘Co-Teacher/Co-Presenter’, meaning they teach alongside the rigger.

Demo Bottom

A demo bottom is not expected to develop teaching material and although we encourage them to have a voice and contribute in the classes, there is no expectation for them to take on this responsibility.

The exact wording we use in our own studio documents is:

‘Demo modelling involves being the model for a workshop or class. There is no expectation of teaching. You are welcome to contribute towards the teaching within the limits of what feels reasonable and right to you, but there is no obligation to do so.’



Within this category, we consider there are two sub-categories:

 1 – ’Amateur’ demo bottom

For example, if we are teaching a single column tie or another basic tie in a beginners class and ask for a volunteer to demonstrate this on, someone from the audience may volunteer who has no experience bottoming, they may even know very little about rope or bottoming but they are still facilitating the learning and are still invited to have a voice and contribute.

We don’t tend to use ‘amateur’ demo bottoms in classes and workshops.

2 – ’Professional’ demo bottom

This is someone who has substantial experience modelling/bottoming in workshops, in very rare cases this is one of their main sources of income. Usually these bottoms have also developed their own curriculums for bottoming classes. In some cases they have experience in fields like dance, yoga, circus, physio, etc, which they bring into their own practice as a rope bottom.

Although they are not expected to contribute towards the development of the workshop program, they usually do: the presenters usually do some prep work with these models/bottoms before the workshop and they are likely to have some substantial input in terms of some of the material presented.

Examples of such models at Anatomie Studio Noctuelle and Sophia.

(The word ‘professional’ is used in quotation marks because in reality this profession doesn’t really exist insofar as there are no accreditations and because there are very few individuals who make a professional living out of this).

The payment for a demo bottom for a workshop at the studio is a fixed fee offered by the studio for the day or half day (well above minimum wage if you’re wondering).

Occasionally, some ‘professional’ demo bottoms set their own day rates. Usually these are individuals who are professionals in other areas (example; they are trained circus performers as well as very experienced rope bottoms, for example Fuoco, or they have accumulated so much experience throughout the years which has earned them some repute, and/or are in such high demand that they can set their own rates and conditions (for example Marika).

Co-teacher / Co-presenter



A co-teacher differs from a demo bottom in the sense that they are actively involved in the development of the material for classes and they are usually expected to teach and have a very present role during classes. Usually – but not always – they are in close relationship with the rigger and therefore the material presented in a workshop is the result of long-term partnership work.

The best example of this is someone like Clover who teaches with Wykd Dave. When they are invited to teach in the studio they are invited as a unit, not as a rigger working with a demo model.

Bottoms who are co-presenters are not offered a separate modelling fee to the rigger, but rather the pair is paid as a single unit.

(The same works for myself and Fred Hatt – we are invited as a unit, I am not offered a separate modelling fee for working with my partner).

Credits

Both in the case of ‘professional’ demo bottoms and co-presenters the models tend to be credited (nowadays) in the title or description of the workshop. Typically this is now also accompanied by a short bio about the model/bottom. Many bottoms/models now also have their own websites and social media accounts where their work can be followed. In the extremely rare case an ‘amateur’ demo bottom is asked to bottom for a class, they are typically not announced although they are offered payment for their time and assistance.

Impact: why do this?

As well as creating a culture where bottoming skills are valued, by paying the models we are treating them like professionals who are expected to bring things to the class. This means that as organisers we can guarantee that good quality rope bottoming material is being developed and offered to students.

Setting a standard for the subject also helps to work towards a ‘professionalisation’ of the role of the demo bottom, especially in cases where bottoms are investing substantial time and effort (and money) towards developing themselves as a demo bottom or co-teacher.

For more thoughts on creating a rope bottom aware space see here.

Thank you for reading ❤

– Anna Bones

Creating a Rope Bottom Aware Space/Culture – some thoughts based on two years of running Anatomie

I’ve been having really interesting conversation over the past months about how to promote or create a rope bottom aware community/space so I thought I’d write about some of my current thoughts of the subject since this is something I think about a lot running Anatomie.

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1 – Teaching Rope, Not Rigging

I really enjoy thinking about how the language we use influences people’s relationship to rope when they first come in.

We tend to avoid using labels and roles and try to use descriptives as much as possible, such as : ’the person inside/outside the ropes’, ‘rope partner’, ‘to tie/be tied’ etc. We also focus on rope and body manipulation, how to do it in different ways and how those different ways feel on the body.

I feel that this creates an environment where people are free to explore the rope itself as a partnership without having to decide what their relationship to rope is before they’ve tried it. It also means we don’t create assumptions about dynamics right from the start but rather explain that it’s something people can choose to incorporate onto their own rope practice if this feels right. This allows people to explore ropes for themselves and switch if they want to.

It also likely helps that 90% of the time the beginner classes are taught by rope bottoms who tie so the natural tendency is for us to talk a lot about what we like and how things feel.

2 – Pre-Requisites for Rope Bottoms

Our classes have pre-requisites for riggers and rope bottoms alike.

I find that asking rope bottoms to meet certain pre-requisites creates an attitude of personal responsibility and also the sense that rope bottoms are active participants in ropes and that rope bottoming is or can be a skill that one can practice.

This is especially valuable in more advanced classes where the learning process for the rigger is heavily dependent on the rope bottoms’ ability to communicate effectively and recognise nerve or circulation impingement, or more subtle things like placements, and recognising different kinds of pain, their limits etc.

3 – Requesting Presenters Include Rope Bottoming Material

When we book presenters we request that rope bottoming material is provided in the workshop.

The exact wording of our current document is as follows:

> “Our membership is very rope-bottom aware, so we appreciate it when the workshop model has a voice and when the presenters can incorporate rope-bottoming material wherever this feels appropriate.”

This means that any given workshop we put on will have information for rope bottoms as well as riggers.

4 – Avoiding Separate Classes for Rope Bottoms

We don’t tend to teach rigging without models present, so we also don’t teach classes on rope bottoming at the exclusion of riggers.

We feel very strongly that rope is a partnership and both rigging and bottoming relevant information should be taught in conjunction as one cohesive unit rather than delivering the information separately to each side of the equation.

Occasionally we will put on a an event specifically on the topic of rope bottoming, but everyone is allowed/encouraged to attend as the information is relevant for both rigging and bottoming.

5 – Paying the Workshop Model

See here.

All of this is a process and will probably keep evolving as we move on, but these are some of my thoughts on the matter at this point in time.

Thank you for reading. ❤

– Anna Bones.

#RopeTalk this Saturday June 10th 2-3pm – FREE event, open to ALL

We invite you to join us this Saturday June 10th for our bi-monthly FREE #RopeTalk!

#RopeTalk is a FREE lunch-hour monthly meet taking place every other month on Saturday before The Big Jam Rope Social (check our calendar for dates).

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June #RopeTalk Topic: ‘How to asses the skill and competence of your rigger/bottom/teacher’

In an ever growing shibari world, there are more and more people tying, bottoming and teaching. However unlike other activities, there are typically no formal accreditations, so how do you know you’re tying or being taught by someone skilled who knows their stuff? What do you look out for, and what questions do you ask to asses this?

Come along to this FREE meet, share, listen, ask, let’s discuss!

These sessions are open to the curious, the interested and the veteran alike and welcome everyone regardless of where you see yourself in the rope spectrum.


Past topics

April 2017

‘How do you learn rope? And rope bottoming?’

February 2017

‘Shibari Hardware: When the Rope Breaks’

November 2016

‘The Dark Side of Rope: Feelings, Emotions, Taboos’

October 2016

‘A Brief History of Shibari’

September 2016

‘When the rope breaks (and other rope hardware truths)’

July 2016
‘The Neuroscience of Rope’

June 2016
‘Shame and Shibari’

May 2016
‘Japanophilia’

April 2016
‘Rope Tech’ – all you ever wanted to know about jute ropes but were too afraid to ask

March 2016
‘A Brief History of Shibari’

February  2016
‘Meet the gang!’ Q&A for riggers and models

January 2016
‘Rope Bottoming Talk’ with Clover and Wykd Dave

Shibari Classes and Courses – Round 2 starts in June!

Your journey into rope starts here!

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In 2017 we have introduced the possibility to take our classes as part of courses and to complete the courses you can book the classes individually as you feel ready for them, or as part of a bundle!

Our first round of our shibari courses starts in June.

If you’ve previously taken our Takate Kote then you might want to join our Third Rope class this Sunday June 4th if you’re interested in heading towards suspension, or you might like to join our Shapes class on June 11th if you want explore more rope possibilities on the floor.

If you’re brand new and want to get started at the very beginning, there’s a Discover Shibari class on June 25th which cover all the basics of technique and play.

Neither the Takate Kote or Discover Shibari classes have pre-requisites so you can start on either of our two courses by booking into one of them. There is no rope, no experience required for these two classes and you can book with a partner/friend or book an individual ticket (you’ll be able to pair up with another attendee on the day).

These are the two courses we offer:

• The Basic Shibari Course is comprised of 3 classes:

The Takate Kote
The Third Rope
Fly! Intro to Suspension

The Complete Shibari Course is comprised of 6 classes. You can complete the course by booking the classes individually or as a bundle.

• Discover Shibari
The Takate Kote
Shapes
The Third Rope
Fly! Intro to Suspension
Fly! Suspension & Transitions

For more information and tickets, it’s right over here!

See you soon!

For enquiries and questions, email us at anatomie.studio@gmail.com.