The 2012 Dallas Suscon has come and gone, and I am really still taking it all in. I am sure for many of us who attended the fact that it is over is just now really starting to feel real. For those of you who don’t know about the event, the Dallas Suscon Practitioners Convention is an annual event which allows suspension practitioners to come together for classes and hands on learning with one another. It is one of the few events which is closed to the public and really allows us to focus on bettering ourselves by gaining knowledge in safety, technical information, and practices. Although that might sum up what it is on the surface, those of us who attend know that a simple definition like that does nothing to explain what this event means to us. It is one of the very few opportunities many of us have to come together with the people we love most and share this beautiful art that we are a part of with one another.

With everything that has unfolded over the last year, this suscon was especially hard for several of the people attending. At the same time, it was incredibly rewarding to see the individuals in this community pull together to embrace one another as they worked through the losses that have been seen through the past several months. I know for many people, the act of suspending can be a very healing experience; that weekend certainly saw its share of people baring their pain to those around them and working toward mending those wounds. I can’t think of a better place to be for that than surrounded by 200 people who love and care for one another.

In the end, for every tear that weekend there were a hundred smiles. This suscon saw people and teams working together in an incredible way. I don’t think anyone outside looking in could have been able to pick one group from another as members crossed between projects to help keep things moving. There were positions that I haven’t seen attempted before; among those were AGRO‘s “lamp post” suspension which combined tension and tandem elements to suspend the two individuals involved and Nicola‘s creation that has adorably been titled an inverted pin-up pose. Also present were plenty of suspensions that reminded my why I love seeing aesthetic rigging and just how beautiful what we do really is. The first that comes to mind is the lovely work of Wings of Desire, who can take a basic 2 point suspension and turn it into a work of art. Another stunning piece seen that weekend was the collaborative project between Anchors Aweigh and Bardo which turned the entire dome structure into rigging points to suspend Brian Sane for his very serene looking lotus at the center. It was a suspension in which you could clearly see that the experience of the suspendee was every bit as impressive as the aesthetic of what was created around him. I loved seeing it come together so well, and when it was finished, the only reaction I could think of was to hug him.

There were far too many amazing moments and suspensions to cover them all, and I hope to feature some of them individually here over the next few weeks. All of the excitement and fun of suscon was wrapped up with the Freaks and Fetish afterparty, a fantastic night put together by the lovely Courtney Crave. Drinks were in hand as we celebrated another year of friendship, family, and this wonderful community we are a part of. On stage that night were several talented individuals, including Havve Fjell the Headmaster of Pain, Jussi Paradise and Lucky Hell, and Miss Texas Polestar 2011 Brynn Route.

I think this year was definitely a success, and everyone present had the opportunity to take something away from it if they tried. Looking at the improvements that have happened each year, it’s so exciting to think of where this event is going. It is such a unique opportunity to bring practitioners together in a setting where we are working among our peers as opposed to handling large groups of suspendees or other individuals who are untrained. It really is a fantastic learning environment where the seasoned practitioners of this community are not only teaching the next generation, but learning from them as well. I hope next year brings as many new faces as 2012 did to work along side those of us who already know one another. Thank you so much to everyone to who went out of their way to attend.

A special thank you to the kitchen staff who worked so hard all weekend to feed us, the volunteers who helped us keep our sanity through registration and setup, and everyone who showed up with open minds and a desire to learn. And of course, thank you to Allen for putting up with all the headaches we give him in planning this event each year.

Photos courtesy of the very talented Mark Kaplan.