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The Mastery of the Unicycle – UNICON

Posted by Team APATA | Jan 28, 2021

Ok so here’s the deal, there is a whole world of Unicycle ballet /contemporary dance / Performance that we here at APATA have been unaware of, but can we just say that holy dooley – we are hooked.

In fact did you know that there is a bi-annual Unicycling Convention and World Championship called UNICON that will be returning to the world stage in 2022. This major event covers all facets of unicycling. Along with competitions in the  IUF unicycling disciplines there is also a major convention portion with workshops, cultural mashups, and social events.

UNICON Disciplines really have something for everyone.

  • FREESTYLE – The artistic presentation of unicycling, using dance moves and music to enhance their performance.
  • FLATLAND – Flatland consists of performing tricks on flat ground. Anything goes in flatland, from flipping and rolling over the cranks to performing difficult balance tricks, riders are encouraged to do a wide variety of skills and be innovative. Competitors battle it out like a rap or breakdance battle comp – even set warehouses surrounded by a huge circle of fellow competitors and fans alike.
  • STREET – Street riders hit the city and use urban environments to perform their tricks. Riders typically do variations of spinning and flipping their unicycle down stairs and drops, along with grinding ledges and rails.
  • TRIALS – Higher and farther with big hops, gaps and drops: that is trials. Trials riders negotiate a difficult obstacle course consisting of technical moves like landing and riding across skinny rails and other surfaces.
  • MUNI: Rushing down an off road trail is what Mountain Unicycling (muni) is all about. Riders ride quickly down mountains or maneuver carefully through rocky terrain. Muni can be done on a variety of terrain ranging from fire roads to technical single track.
  • DISTANCE: Distance riding is a great way to explore the world. Many riders spend their holidays touring the world via unicycle. In competition, riders race for various distances such as the 10k and marathon (42k).
  • RACE: Unicyclists race common distances like 100m, 400m, 800m on an athletic track. There are a wide variety of races along with standard riding, such as wheel-walking and riding one footed.

One of our Freestyle favourites from Instagram is Natsume Yamamoto aka @natsume718. 

Natsume flows between ballet-inspired pieces, jazz, contemporary, solo and ensemble. She is keeping up the spirits of her fellow unicyclists by organising and producing a community on Instagram titled 360UNISPIN- a collaborative, global challenge highlighting what move? – the 360 degree unicycle spin of course! Here is a quick snippet of Natsume in a group piece:

For the full video go to Natsume’s YouTube page

Another freestyle star of the UNICON world is Kenya Toyosawa who is more elegant on one wheel than we will ever be.

Hey Sam Johnson! Were you ever crazy enough to enter into these UNICON comps?




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