Angela is one of our longest-time students at Aerial Fit. She began taking classes when we were teaching out of a tiny little studio space on Wappoo Road. She’d never done aerials before but was quickly hooked. Since then she has been a fixture at the studio, so if you’ve been to the space then you’ve probably seen or met her. She’s performed in the showcases and at a series of gigs with Circus Building Entertainment. She is someone who started with zero experience and now, in addition to her full-time job, performs frequently as a professional aerialist. We asked her some questions about her journey and her vision.
When did you start aerials?
In May 2012, I took an aerial yoga class. Growing up I was always the kid on the jungle gym hanging upside down, so it made sense that I could do it as an adult and I wanted to give it a try.
What sort of physical conditioning did you have before you started?
I did yoga once a week for the year before I started. I took gymnastics back in second grade and that was it. I’ve never had any dance background.
What was the hardest part about getting started?
Having zero upper body strength! But after about a month and a half, I could start to see a significant difference. I was able to hold myself in a lock-off at that point and that opened up a whole world of possibilities.
Tell me about your learning process, and how you chose classes that were the right fit.
My first class was an aerial yoga class. That got me hooked but I wanted more circus so I went right into the circus sampler class. I took that for a year or more! I started out twice a week, and gradually built up to 6 classes/week. I developed a love for aerial fabric right at the beginning, but I have always cross-trained on all the apparatuses. I’ve performed on everything except trapeze and acro so far.
What made you want to take that step towards performing?
I thought it would be interesting to put together my own choreography. Also I have really bad stage fright, so I thought it would be a fun way to be on stage and challenge myself, and a way that I could build confidence being in front of people. And also to show friends how much I had improved because it was never something I thought I was capable of!
What do you like best about performing?
Aside from the fact that it’s super fun to do aerials, it’s being able to share something that you’ve worked really hard on and put a lot of yourself into.
Tell me about a typical training week for you. What do you do physically and also to take care of yourself when you’re not in the air?
I take class pretty much every day except Wednesday and Friday, and when I’m not taking classes I stretch while I’m watching TV, I have a pull-up bar at home with the Aerial Handles that I work with sometimes, and I make my husband Jason practice Acro with me. I also take classes on all the apparatuses, and the Acro/Handstanding class, which feels like a good balance.
Tell me about your first corporate performance. What was that experience like?
My first corporate performance was a little over a year after I first started taking classes regularly, fall of 2013. It was actually a lot easier than I expected because of all the pre-training that we had to do! The Circus Building Entertainment mentoring program is hard work, but once you get up there the time passes so quickly and it’s just fun because you’re interacting with the music and the people.
Any advice for someone starting out?
Don’t get discouraged, because it takes awhile to build the strength and control but it’s definitely worth it! Once you build your base you’ll learn things very quickly. Don’t write off an apparatus right away, because I ended up coming back to Lyra after writing it off at first, and now I love it. Definitely have fun with it, it’s a playground in the air!