When you google the name Christopher Harrison a few different people pop up, a hot shot tax man, a principle ballerina and the man who invented antigravity fitness. The latter, is man that this article is about.
Christopher Harrison founded the antigravity performance company, and has invented a few things including finding a use for Wolfgang Bock’ Powerskips and antigravity fitness.
He owns the antigravity lab in New York City where he continues to expand his antigravity syllabus and test new equipment for his production company.
So, Who Is Christopher Harrison?
His full name is Christopher Calvin Harrison, and according to happyhappybirthday.net, he was born in Evanston, a suburban city in Cook County, Illinois, the United States on July 11th, 1961 (1).
He is an American director, dancer, acrobat, choreographer and fitness professional.
Harrison started as a tumbling specialist and later joined Broadway as a dancer. In 1990 he set up the antigravity performance troupe AntiGravity, Inc. and its spin-off fitness brand, AntiGravity Fitness.
Christopher Harrison's Inventions
ANTIGRAVITY PERFORMANCE COMPANY
Christopher Harrison founded AntiGravity in 1991. As America’s First Gymnastics/Dance Performance Company it provided a place for champion gymnasts to go after they had stopped competing. The style of movement was all about jumping up and flipping to defy gravity. To achieve this they explored every means possible utilizing trampolines, vaulting boards and springy shoes.
The performance company has been involved in various projects, including original theatrical productions, corporate events, and choreographing live performances.
In 2008 they performed in the Neighbourhood Inaugural Ball and then at the closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics. They have also collaborated with musicians and pop celebrities for performances in entertainment industry shows, including the Academy Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, and the Grammys.
The ANTIGRAVITY® BOOTS TEAm
Wolfgang Bock designed Powerskips, which Harrison discovered. He worked with Bock to redesign them so they could be used for jumping and flipping.
The creation are often referred to as jumping stilts. Whilst they look very similar to prosthetic devices such as those used by Paralympic runners Oscar Pistorius, they are not the same.
There is a Swiss product called ‘Kangoo Jumps’ which have cantilever springs under the shoes. These have been promoted more for fitness than large leaps. If you are interested in buying a pair of these why not take a look at our post on them.
THE HARRISON ANTIGRAVITY® HAMMOCK
Some time in the years leading up to 1999 Harrison developed the antigravity hammock. His idea was born from a playtime his perfomers had in some hammocks hung in a gazebo in the tropics and some material he bought and failed to climb. He cam eup with the idea of making the fabric into a hammock hung from two points. The rest is history.
Since the antigravity hammock was marketed other companies have started producing them. These are commonly known as aerial yoga hammock.
Harrison invented and founded antigravity fitness, which has a number of sub categories including techniques such as antigravity aerial yoga and suspension fitness. There are studios all around the world teaching Christopher Harrison’s antigravity fitness (2).
In the early 2000’s a number of those that had auditioned for, or had performed for the production company starting utilising Harrisons techniques as trainers around New York and Harrison was under pressure to take his teaching outside of his skyloft. He spent time categorising and codifying all of the moves so it was safe for the wider population. He had the AntiGravity Yoga program approved by AFAA, the governing body for physical fitness in the U.S. and launched it for the public in 2007 through an international fitness chain. The Suspension Fitness and Aerial Yoga Genres were born. It was the first approved aerial yoga syllabus in the world.
A number of other brands have sprung up known as aerial fitness or aerial yoga. These may not have been the first but some of them have grown out of those that learned the techniques back in the day from Harrison.
Sophie Green has been pole dancing and aerial arts at home and in studios around the world for over 13 years. She’s taken a number of instructor courses in pole and aerial. Plus attended a course on rigging. She takes part in lots of exercise.