- Shared responsibility. The name "partner balance" is in a way more apt, because the essence of all the postures and moves is to distribute weight between two or more people in a way that looks impressive and/or beautiful, and uses one another's weight and effort in tandem. It requires a great deal of communication between partners, verbal and physical, which can be tricky to learn. In fact, there's no way to take responsibility entirely on one's self for any aspect of it. More significantly, there's no occasion in which you can blame the other for anything. There is always something more you can be doing to help your partner(s). This is shared responsibility.
- Half the ability lies in trust. Never mind all those trust games you played in high school, or at the team-building workshop you were subjected to on some three-day "weekend." In acrobalance, generally speaking, the base needs to be responsible for making the pose balanced, and the flier needs to be responsible for maintaining a strong shape (and both are responsible for communicating [see above]). Control freaks beware: Nothing wrecks a balance faster than a flier trying to change the balance, except maybe a base who refuses to adjust. And you'll be doing it again and again with this person, which as we know is long-term trust which, as we know, is as challenging as it is rewarding.
- Drawing straight lines into the ground. There's no defying gravity. Maybe you can make it look like there is, but there ain't. There are moves that require enormous strength and control, but the most important basic skill one can learn is to create a benevolent relationship to gravity. Get that down, and any move is open to you with a little effort. So straight lines. Straight limbs can hold weight by grounding it into the ... uh ... ground, and angles that direct weight toward the ground are more stable and architecturally sound.
- Always be spotting. We get tired, and we are used to having to fight for our own time to relax, so it's not surprising that people tend to let down their guard when they're not in the spotlight. Acrobalance, though, is high stakes. You're working as a group to achieve something, and trust is a twenty-four-hour necessity. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, be ready to catch someone else when they fall. Not if; when.
- Down. Things go wrong. People are fallible. Physics is complex. When something is flirting with F.U.B.A.R. -- and more so when you're intentionally, repeatedly approaching that something -- you need to have an agreed-upon vocabulary. When the fit hits the shan, we say "Down!", and that's what we do. Safely. Together.
Pretty simple stuff, but as with any simple, broadly applicable ideas, they make for a good regular practice. I have been practicing these with some regularity for years now, and teaching them to others. These "others" probably promptly go out and try the same moves whilst blithely forgetting these five concepts behind them, but, I don't know; I've found that the harder I work on moves, the more I need to remember these guide points. I need reminding of them, but I'll never forget them, because Kate taught them to me so well. Especially the first one.
I think it's pretty obvious how these concepts apply to life in general, and acting in particular (keep them in mind; explore the possibilities; from Kate to me to you, gratis [you're welcome]) so I won't spin on much longer here. This is just to say thanks to Kate (and to her friend, Leah) for reminding me once again of important keys to finding balance.