Vertiginous Movement About Writing Soft Acrobatics Workshops & Privates Classes
"I am in quest of a vital intensity indistinguishable from intoxication. I want more energy than I need; I want to overflow."
-Michael Green, Bataille's Wound

About me

Hi, I'm Mike! I consider myself an experimental acrobat, and an Oakland-based movement teacher and student. Across all the different disciplines I've studied and teach, I classify my movement under the larger umbrella of "acrobatics." Reading Duncan Wall's The Ordinary Acrobat, I was struck by a statement he makes: "The Greek term for 'acrobatics' literally means 'to walk on the extremities'." This immediately reminded me of artist Lee Lozano's statement: "seek the extremes, that's where all the action is." For a variety of both practical and conceptual considerations, I've taken on "experimental acrobat" as a permeable identity.

I came to movement far later in my life than most people who take up the interest with such intensity, but I would insist that this has allowed me insight unavailable to people who have been training since they were kids. I don't come out of a specific discipline that has a predetermined set of rules or teaching progressions, so a lot of my skills have been learned via exploration and experimentation, picking and choosing different elements that spark fascination.

My goal as a "mover" is to seamlessly flow through movement patterns from a variety of disciplines with total freedom in any given environment (I think here of Jerzy Grotowski's "transparent conciousness"). Spins and flips, putting weight on my hands, low gait patterns, level changes (whether from standing to crawling or in terms of environment/architecture): my goal is to be able to access all of this with ease while being capable of suddenly adapting to change.

My goal as a teacher is to look at movement patterns/pathways from a variety of different angles in order to find what works best for a given individual's body, skill-level, or style. While I will recognize & pay mind to the fact that there are inherently "objective" bio-mechanical properties that need to be understood as the building blocks of a movement pattern, I'm strongly opposed to the insistence that any given movement pattern has to be arrived at via a specific path or, look a specific, singular way. I want to help you figure out how to enjoy acrobatic movement in a way that fits you and your body.

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Teaching Reviews

"Mike is an awesome teacher - kind, knowledgeable, fun, experimental, supportive and patient!"

"Great at meeting individuals at their own technical level of expertise and creating a welcoming environment."

"Mike is not only extremely talented in a variety of disciplines, but he is adept at presenting his teaching metholody in a manner accessible to a wide range of skill levels. His manner is articulate and responsive to student needs, and he maintains a steady, positive atmosphere in class. Mike makes himself readily available to students for any questions and is able to present movements as simple progression to complex variations. As someone new to the bay area looking for a circus-style gym with great community to set as home base, I'm super happy to find AP and Mike has been just what I'm looking for in an instructor. I've been able to steadily learn and progress in acrobatics studying with him, which is huge considering that for the last two years I've been suffering from a wrecked meniscus that prevented me from doing something as simple as child's pose. Now I'm learning how to load into my legs in a bunch of different angles and feel strong and safer than I hav in years :)."

"Very patient, kind, and encouraging! Knows lots of super-cool tricks and is excied to both show and teach them."

"I loved how Mike had a strong focus on anatomy and explained WHY we did the exercises. His upbeat energy is awesome and makes even the harder exercises fun. Can't wait to take more classes!"

"Mike is an awesome coach, very responsive and gives greaet insight and instructions. I've really seen improvements in my handstands from the handful of times I attended his workshop."

"Mike is the best ever!!!! I feel so lucky to be able to take classes from him. He is such a wonderful teacher and you can tell, truly loves to teach! He is always so prepared and so knowledgeable."

(All feedback collected anonymously via FitGrid)

Mike Kitchell, 2020-2023