Transcript for “Calmness – with Tori Kubick”

Episode, Calmness – with Tori Kubick

00:00.00
Craig
Hello I’m Craig Constantine welcome to the movers mindset podcast where I talk with movement enthusiasts to find out who they are what they do and why they do it. My guest today is Tori Kubick welcome tori how are you I’m good. It’s ah ah.

00:16.50
Tori
I’m lovely. How are you.

00:39.60
Craig
Day of a long day of so many wonderful podcasts I’m unlike totally over like my cup runeth over I Guess a big way to put it. So um, I’m kind of bummed that this is the last one of these I should I should just put this up here front. So.

00:37.32
Tori
Music it.

01:12.46
Craig
This is it the last episode of movers mindset before we’ll all be at move n yc you all thought I was going to end the show. No no, no um I think the people listening should stretch their comfort zones just a little bit by attending Tory’s session at move n yc you can head to the don’t forget the article.

01:00.62
Tori
Um.

01:51.68
Craig
http://themovementcreative.com and click on move NYC meanwhile tori and I will continue our discussion while you go register or you just press pause Tori I’ve seen some contortion professional contortion. Um, and it’s always There are so many things that have been said about it just like everybody has things to say about it. But I loved when I saw I think I first saw it on your Instagram not in your tedx talk totally go watch Tory’s tedx talk and the the turn of phrase that. I don’t want to screw it up calmness connoisseur and it’s not just a phrase. It’s you have some really great points I’m not a contortionist but you some really great points about what contortion means to you. So can you unpack for me a little bit. What. Calmness means to you and and how that’s actually for you for in your opinion the heart of what’s going on in contortion.

03:37.10
Tori
Yeah, so contortion. The number 1 thing I think of is calmness and for a long time it you know I’ve been studying it for a bit now. Um I did start as an adult. So however, you know it was hard to kind of. It. Ironically you know squish it all together and kind of figure out. You know how to describe it to others because it’s such a different practice than other types of movements and it’s kind of it’s hard to explain it to people who don’t you know stretch like crazy every single day. So um.

04:42.18
Craig
Right.

04:53.22
Tori
Number 1 it’s not you know it is very physical but it’s also very mental and so you really have to connect those None um and the only way to do that is to find calmness and and to turn within and. I think it’s the best way to describe it and a lot of people might think of contortion as pros icky like a you know like a freak show or like sometimes it has this negative connotation and I mean me I think it’s the most beautiful thing ever. That’s why I do it as I practice it. Um. But some people just can’t wrap their head around what it is or but it has a lot of calmness behind it and it’s kind of about um, expanding as well. Not just squishing and. Packing things nice and tightly it’s about finding space finding freedom and finding the breath together.

07:11.66
Craig
And like the point you make about finding space I was I was just I hadn’t thought of this until just now as I was listening to you? Um I want to say I have a thing for gapping challenges but it is not uncommon to spot Craig when he should be doing parkor trying to squeeze my. You know four none scale self through like a three- quarterter scale space and haven’t gotten seriously stuck yet. But there’s a moment so I’m kind of thinking parkor people out there who’ve like done some gaping challenges or some. Some quirky like reverse qm bat hang climbing things that aren’t really gap challenges. There’s they’re usually a moment where you’re like mistakes were made you know and like in the middle of it if I just go usually I can manage to chew what I’ve bitten off.

08:24.40
Tori
Specific.

08:38.34
Tori
Um.

08:58.90
Craig
And I’m wondering if if you agree like if you’ve I don’t know what your personal movement practice is beyond your contortion practice I mean I know you do paddleboarding and things but I’m not sure how much you’ve experienced what the parker people would call gaping challenges and I’m I’m just wondering am am I in the right ballpark of thinking that maybe I have at least caught a glimpse of it.

08:51.60
Tori
M.

09:33.66
Craig
And when I’ve been in those tight spaces even though I’m not folded up real small.

09:21.34
Tori
Yeah, no, exactly. That’s exactly it I believe um so you know you see an obstacle you see a challenge and you know it’s kind of like the fight or flight I can make it through or I can’t but um, you know through trying to affect it and then. You know this plan a doesn’t work but not just stopping there and thinking well if it doesn’t work head None Maybe it works shoulder first or there’s so many different ways that we can move our body and um, you know there’s like you know, the None way that you know initial. General way. But then sometimes the ways that aren’t automatic or sometimes the way to do it. So It’s just thinking of trying to flip your world upside down and thinking of moving in a different way because they’re you know if we. Just move one degree Sometimes that makes all the difference and so yeah, just trying to find another way. Ah another option. Um, and I love and I Also love Houdini I think he’s a really cool guy so just thinking of you know how to Escape or. How to get out and there’s usually a way and it might look like it’s impossible from that from you know, just looking at it straight on. But if you slip up if you turn yourself None or um, you know, ah another degree this way or that Way. You see the world in a whole different Way. You see your obstacle in a whole different way and maybe you can squeeze through if you’re looking at it at a slightly different angle. So Yeah I think that applies to contortion to many other different movements disciplines as well.

13:09.00
Craig
Some of the aerial. Um, it’s not so so lot times I have trouble I have like an image my head I’m like I don’t know what this stuff’s called Um, there’s ah, a set of aerial maneuvers that I’ve seen with straps and.

13:07.28
Tori
Boom.

13:19.76
Tori
Okay, yes.

13:46.92
Craig
The simplest like I’m I’m kind of air quoting simple because I’m guessing none of this is simple but the simplest um movements with the body like as you were describing when you’re talking about your you’re moving your center and all of a sudden this change in your shape.

13:40.12
Tori
Ah, yeah.

14:24.74
Craig
Now Gravity does this new. Um, new kind of work and you wind up or by shifting you can wind down and that was a really. It’s an interesting to me I’m just trying to like wrap my brain around the loading you know of the straps winding around myself I don’t know about that.

14:35.00
Tori
E.

15:00.40
Craig
But that seems like a way that people might be able to get an experience of combinations of inversions and rotations without like being wedged in a bench and I like do people do people find that.

15:05.00
Tori
Yes, and specific.

15:33.82
Craig
More approachable when they see it or when they try it or they’re like ah what’s the gateway that gets people really to understand the calmness that you’re talking about for rambling rambling thing with a question Mark on the end.

15:33.18
Tori
Yeah, oh great I Really like that you put that up. No I So um, yeah I do a bunch of aerial stuff as well. Um, and so yeah, a lot of people you know they’ll hire like the silks or the other apparatuses because but.

16:18.86
Craig
Today ray.

16:09.70
Tori
Personally, my favorite are aerial straps and I like them me and my best friends as well. She’s in vegas who’s the cer girl jaine but to both of us. You know everyone likes the silk the poop the other flying things and that’s what a lot of people hire book or you know want for their. Party or a venor show. But um, we like straps the best because it’s all about it’s not about the the apparatus or the thing it’s about your body. It’s about you so you’re using your body more and you’re using your core more and working out from your center so you always feel like everything. Is in the core and then everything is an extension and so and it’s yes, just it is more simple but harder but more simple so there’s like that. Um, that irony in there. But um, so because it’s just. 2 little lines and there they don’t move. You’re the one moving them which is that’s what I really really like and um for a lot of the time. So I’ve done some people hires me a contortionist and people as an aerialist then you know people also. You into boxes. They classify you as None thing or another and different people look at you different ways. I mean I kind of I do both for different things and um I do think contortions may be like a little more rare or like a little more scary in a way to try because it’s um, in a. Both are different but um, let’s just say like in New York there’s less contortionists than there are aerial list so like a lot of the times when I’m in New York people will hire me to do contortion because there’s so many aerialists but also aeriallist is aerial work is also extremely hard in a different way. Um. But maybe people think it’s less impossible I don’t know so but you know both have their own challenges. But um, but yes I do think you know using it to kind of invert yourself such a great way to you know feel. World around you and you know that can translate into flipping or tumbling and um and so I think they’re both great. Great great things. Yeah, just having that feeling that inversion feeling your core is really really key and a great feeling.

21:22.30
Craig
You’ve clearly spent a lot of time not only doing this stuff but thinking about how this stuff not just goes together like you know how do I make a good routine which I can’t imagine how you wrap your brain around that but I’m wondering if you’ve also thought about this might be really Challenging. Can you identify whether taking up contortion is a contortionism or contortion taking up contortion did that did that change the way you think I don’t just mean about how you think about movement or how you see things but can you identify whether you know the tory before you were I’m going to Say. Discovered that calmness and that expansiveness at his contortion was that a change in your thinking like not just this activity is different but like it changed the way you see the world change the way you think.

22:39.70
Tori
Yes, completely None um so when I was a kid I I danced growing up. That’s my movement background which I’m so thankful for um to have that you know be being exposed to movement as a kid who you know changes. Amazing. but but I was still such a nervous shy kid and teenager and young adult like that I carried that through without and like I had all this anxiety and so much so many of us are britdled with anxiety and especially in this backpaced world and you know it’s only getting more and more dramatic but um. But being able to find yeah when I learned how to contort my body and to learn these different disciplines. Um, the only way to do it was to be calm you you can’t it’s physically impossible to do it anxious like there’s just no way so you have to it’s calmness or. Nothing so I found the calmness and that didn’t just translate for you know when I was doing contorttion when I was on stage or practicing it like it did it translated throughout my entire life. You know, even like drive it like I used to be terrified to drive in New York City no way like. Ah, parents hated it. They were like no like driving the city. No way and so like I grew up with that mindset I was like I could I could never do that and then um, then I started you know building these ax these shows and you know I had to drive these big props into the city and. And then I was like I don’t know if I could do it but I just channeled that same calmness that I applied on stage to driving in the city and it’s you know, still I don’t love sitting in traffic and all the craziness but I can master it I can do it and just the same exact mindset that I have. Ah, but you know just like a ton of different things like that. Um, and I it’s like interesting if I wish you know I used to be anxious when I would take a test in school like if I did maybe if I applied those same principles if I could go back in time what it helped me I don’t know you know, um I yeah so many things. You know I would be apprehensive to approach I just try to take that same mindset and it works when there’s.

27:18.20
Craig
So many I pause because I’m like oh I get 83 things I want to ask? um before we go too much further where can people find more about you where like as we’re talking about Instagram and Ted toxins like where can we send people so they can find more about you or get in touch with you.

27:09.80
Tori
This is this.

27:26.46
Tori
Yeah, totally. So I mean my Instagram is contoration. So my name inside the word contortion and or so that’s my handle or I’d have a website. It’s just. http://andtoristhen.com and that has everything my ted talk you know some writing that I like to write about you know movements and and other things and so just like little things I’ve written and and performances and you know maybe events or shows that I have coming out so that has everything. Um, there if you want to yeah have a question or.

28:53.82
Craig
Tell me a little bit about what you’re going to I don’t want to like what the kind but tell me how your recessions are going to work but like what what are you hoping that people would take away from coming to um and getting bent into shape.

28:53.78
Tori
Nipp it.

29:07.60
Tori
Yeah, so I hope it’s not just it’s not all like I’m going to bend you and squish you and torture you That’s that’s it’s not it at all. It’s it is. It’s very um, it takes a lot of strength. So it’s very like balanced.

29:38.10
Craig
I Brought ratchet straps.

29:45.64
Tori
So with like each flexible move. You’re going to do a strength move so you kind of like build it. You take 1 step you take another so it’s not like you’re just introduce climbing up to one side and you’re unbalanced your its flexibility strengths flexibility strengths so they go hand in hand. So you’re using your own core your own body weight.

30:12.76
Craig
You.

30:23.62
Tori
Um, So I think it’s not as so a lot of people initially like so if I do ever when I do teach workshops and things like that. There’s always people that will come up to me. They’ll be like some of them will be like maybe aerialists or dancers and they’ll be like oh I would have taken your workshop but I’m too scared or you know it’s. Can’t do that I’m not flexible or like that’s just you know it’s you like they put in the impossible box. You know? Um, but then the people that do come are like Wow you know I thought it was going to be.. Maybe you know more torturous. Yeah and it is. It’s definitely extremely hard. Definitely a challenge but um.

31:40.26
Craig
Seriously killed. Ah.

31:41.74
Tori
Ah, different kind of challenge and so just trying to and then that challenge does translate to a multitude of other movement styles and it’s not just contortion. It just has just I’m just getting like a few tools that will open up your body open up your mind and which can you know. Filter in many other ways many other avenues as well.

32:50.96
Craig
What’s the None question that came to mind is what’s something that people get wrong about you but that can be a really hard question to answer not anybody reacts well to that. But if you want to take a stab at that that was the question that came to mind was.

32:45.38
Tori
This is um, what do people get Well yeah I Guess a lot of people think you know either think maybe that I don’t have to warm up or that. Roll out of bed and I can you know be spaghetti but that’s not the case I make sure I warm up a lot beforehand. You know, just trying to take care of my body. Um I wasn’t born born that way just trying to so a lot of people just think it’s Like. Kind of like a you know, genetic defect or something but um, but no, it just takes a lot of hard work and it’s a lot of strength a lot of discipline. Um, and yeah, warming up warming up cooling down. Not just roll out of bed and you know. With your eyes closed. It’s a lot more than that.

35:00.40
Craig
Is it ah a really fundamentally different. The contortion is it a really fundamentally different experience for you to work with other people and does that it has to make it more complicated but does it also open up new opportunities to like collaborate in that calm space or how does that work when you start you know. And want to say throwing in other bodies in the box. But in that that direction.

35:25.34
Tori
Um, yeah I mean I guess it is. It’s so way it is a smaller more niche kind of discipline even though it’s quite Antiquated. It’s still you know it’s always quite small. So. When there are like a group of contortions together or people that are training contortion. It is It is really really great and exciting because usually it is you know, kind of like you have to be I feel like a lot of if you want to like actually you know, really really train contortion. Um. And just just as it is a lot of people are most of them are introverted I Want to say like because it’s just like ah you’re in your own little world you in your own little box your own little zone and it’s very internal. Um So a lot of contortionists that I know most of them are introverted. They’re not like you know. Crazy extroverted and you know very boisterous. So whereas you know compared to other Circus arts or movement sometimes like you know, a lot of people are very you know outspoken and like the community and so it is nice and I am I’m very introverted but I do so when I get to. Bring contortion into like a community. It is. It’s different because I’m not.. It’s not the norm but um, but it is. It’s very rewarding because it you know you can spread this you can share how magical it. It is how magical it can translate and feel because normally as I would say it’s. Have to be like or it’s just me like a little more lonely and introverted but most of the time you know. But yeah.

38:57.54
Craig
A solo passion right.

39:11.82
Craig
Well as much as I hate to say it I always hate to say it I’m much on the time slip by I think I should I think I should just it’s like 20 minutes is like a drag race right? and then the airbag goes off at the end. So the airbag is and of course the final question 3 words to describe your practice.

39:03.14
Tori
Um, ah, goodins are fast.

39:25.84
Tori
Yes, I would say courageous calm and capable so you need to be courageous so you have to have that None instinct and then calmness is everything. That’s the only way to do it if you take out that. Comes out of the equation. It’s not going to work and then once you find the comus you see that you are capable of so much more and that’s the best part when you know when you’re like that like things seem impossible and then you overcome that and you realize that you were capable all along.. That’s the best feeling.

41:00.24
Craig
Tori. Thank you so much that was I don’t know what I was expecting because I was like I don’t know anything at all about contortion I mean other than the little bit that I’ve seen but it was nice to get a chance to to not just read about or to watch a ted talk but it’s actually I mean.

40:50.96
Tori
Um, if it is.

41:33.16
Craig
Everybody listening so sorry could make your own podcast but it’s nice to get a chance to actually talk to people because I can interact and actually see like how you move and how you think and like everybody else didn’t get to see the video but in the video I can see how you’re moving and I can see what ideas light you up and what things are are interesting and why your passion Why So It’s just a downright pleasure to get a chance to. Meet you and to talk So Thanks for taking the time and see you tomorrow.

42:03.16
Tori
…my pleasure. Thank you so much.