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April 04, 2024 / by Kay / In events

How handstand heroes are made

Workshops summary:

  • Hand-to-Hand and Acrobalance on Friday 26th April – book here
  • Advanced Handstands on Saturday 27th April – book here
  • Cradle Basics on Saturday 27th April – book here

Tamzen 1

Get ready to flip your world upside down… Tamzen Moulding and her hand-to-hand acrobalance partner, Oliver Donaldson, are about to rock your town!

These two are not just any acrobatic duo. They’re blazing hot and in demand.

Handstands aficionado Tamzen, a long-term friend of Aerial Edge, has directed her own work for Inverted for eight years and has performed extensively in dance, opera, theatre and circus.

An instructor at the prestigious National Centre for Circus Arts, Tamzen was always a hugely popular trainer when Aerial Edge ran the Edinburgh Aerial and Acrobatic Convention.

And yet she came to circus accidentally!

Tamzen says: “I trained as a dancer and found myself working for a company that also did some circus, so I started to take some aerial classes…and the rest, as they say, is history.

“I looked at my CV one day, and it turned out I was a circus artist.”


Fun with rewards

She wants her students to find her classes rewarding and fun, so she’s a perfect fit with the Aerial Edge approach. She also reflects our ethos in understanding that circus is for all.

She says: “Everybody’s body is different, so we should work with our assets to find skills and techniques that work for ourselves.

“That isn’t to say that technique isn’t important and that we can’t work on our weaknesses, just that we are all built slightly differently, and we shouldn’t forget that.

“Whilst learning can be hard work and challenging, I want it to be a positive experience. We should enjoy it. I aim to teach with some lightness while making you work hard and respect good technique.”

As an assistant director/choreographer and consultant, Tamzen has worked in theatre, opera and dance. Her credits include Noye’s Fludde co-production by Stratford East and English National Opera; Illuminations as part of Aldeburgh Music Festival; The Jungle; and Everything I See I Swallow.

As a performer Tamzen has worked for The Royal Court Theatre, ENO, Royal Opera, Cirque Eloize, Upswing, Ockam’s Razor and Batman Live world arena tour.

Oliver’s journey to circus also took a few unexpected turns along the way.

A former member of the Seattle Opera Chorus and a Young Artist with Tacoma Opera, Oliver moved to New York City in 2011 to pursue a Masters in Opera.

He found himself diving into the local circus scene and, just like Tamzen, this new passion took him an entirely different direction.

Oliver has performed in all types of productions all over the world, from theatres and tents to orchestra halls and cruises.


The addiction of creativity

Tamzen believes that solid conditioning, an understanding of your body and the basics of the discipline are fundamental to learning higher level tricks – and avoiding injury.

And having been a high-level dancer and gymnast since childhood, she should know!

Tamzen competed as part of the British National Gymnastics squad, and trained in contemporary and ballet at the prestigious London Contemporary Dance School.

More recently, she’s been working with hand-to-hand performance partner Oliver, who will co-teach the workshop.

She says: “Circus and creativity are addictive for me, even in dance school I ended up inverted. I can’t stay away too long.”

Circus pros will get enormous value from learning about their hand-to-hand techniques in the workshop, and from Tamzen’s Advanced Handstands session.

And the acrobalance enthusiasts at Aerial Edge can get the benefit of their expertise too – the workshop has been set at open level so everyone can flip their lid!

With almost magical timing, Tamzen is arriving just as our flying trapeze students are making significant progress in cradle – and she just happens to be an expert cradle flyer! It’s a perfect opportunity to create a cradle workshop.

Whether you can already hold a handstand for 30 seconds or you’re still working towards it, mark your calendar for the end of April because this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss.


Details about the three workshops

Hand-to-hand and acrobalance: Friday 26th April, 7:30pm-9:30pm

This is a dive into the connection between base and flyer, looking and at hand-to-hand and feet-to-hand positioning to achieve a good connection. Starting with basic drills for both flyer and base, we will look at some group acrobatics as well as partner technique.


  • Open level

Book Workshop

Cradle basics: Saturday 27th April, 10am-1pm

Learning to swing on cradle is different to swinging on the fly bar, as anyone who took the Easter Edge Fly + Cradle path can now tell you. This workshop will cover:

  • Flyer and base positioning
  • General and specific conditioning for both flyers and bases
  • Swinging in long hang technique
  • Swinging with the flyer in pike, generated by the base
  • Timing for opening out of and pulling into pike swing


  • A good general overall conditioning

Book Workshop

Advanced Handstands: Saturday 27th April, 2pm-4pm

In this workshop we will looking at one-arm handstand progressions, which means we will focus on:

  • Shoulder and hand positioning for good alignment
  • Changing shapes and dynamics in a handstand
  • Balance drills


  • A solid 30-second hold in straight and straddle
  • Experience in changing shapes whilst balancing

Book Workshop

Tamzen and Oliver