The introduction to aerial arts class was pure fun. There were two other students in the class. Every class at the studio begins with strength conditioning and stretching. A strong core is the basis for proper technique for the poses on any of the apparatus. All of the conditioning exercises were not too difficult. Being fit helps out big time because aerial arts demand much upper body strength and endurance. I’m going to thank the sport of rock climbing for allowing me to dead hang and do pull-ups. I’m also going to thank the coaches at Meyer Fitness for helping me reach my fitness success over the past year. I am the fittest, strongest, healthiest, and lightest I have ever been and I’m still progressing. That says a lot for a 28 year old natural born athlete. Some of the exercises that we do on a bar include: dead hang shoulder shrugs, knees to chest, and toes to bar. Phew! I didn’t fall in love with just one apparatus because they’re all different and interesting in their own way. I do favor the Lyra and trapeze because the aesthetic feeling of a solid grip (rocks/pull-up bars/kettlebells) as opposed to silks or aerial ropes so this explains why I chose the Lyra track.
The four-week Lyra track was intense and fun. If something isn’t fun, there’s no point of doing it. My instructor was extremely talented with a welcoming yet badass personality. The conditioning in the beginning of each class consisted of: 1-minute plank hold, 1-minute shoulder taps (push-up position without swaying the hips), 20 push-ups (elbows in), 20 straight leg raises, 20 straight leg v-sits, 20 ball v-sits, and a lot of stretching. My abdominals have always been the weak point of my body and I’m starting to focus on strengthening them from now on. Flexibility has become an issue within the past few years. The body loses flexibility when strength training is primarily emphasized. Doing the splits is now on the bucket list too. It’s also one of the skills listed that I need to include in the application video. There were two of us the first week, four the second, myself the third, and two the last. She pushed us to try poses that matched and tested our skill levels. Transitioning from pose to pose was difficult but I definitely got the hang of it during the third week when I was the only student in the session. It was pretty much a private session and she put together a short routine for me to perform with the Lyra spinning! Spinning and performing…. vu#!ykf@43@!#R. Supposedly everyone there says that you just get used to it. The hardest part is trying to compose yourself after getting off of a spinning Lyra. Anyway, my movement was not the smoothest and I had to stop at one point to get my ass on the correct side of the Lyra, but it was awesome that I was able to do it! Another aspect of aerial arts is the pain involved while holding your own body weight during poses, especially back bending or hanging with one leg or arm. The Lyra is made of unforgiving steel… need I say more? There is so much to overcome and get used to and I can’t wait for more training.
I attended a few Acro body balance classes last month with the same instructor from the Lyra series. Acro is a dynamic practice blending partner yoga with acrobatics and cirque arts. There is a flyer and a base. It’s simple, really. The flyer is usually the smaller/lighter person who holds the poses and the base is the person who supports the flyer. There are also poses that incorporate more than two people. Acro is, you guessed it, fun!
The Lyra series definitely sucked me deeper into the aerial arts. It did not take long to make a decision to leave the teaching field and open my wings to something new, challenging, beautiful, and exciting. I questioned myself and asked a few people if making moves to run away with the circus is realistic. It turns out that all of my friends are stoked about my journey! The support is moving but when people believe in you, now that hits home. I thought about the stipulations. The only thing that makes me think twice is job security and my amazing friends and family. Whatever, it’s time to fly.
I am applying to get into the 10-month intensive program at the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) in Brattleboro, Vermont. There is an application and interview process involved with being admitted into NECCA’s 10-month long program or 9-month professional track program. The maximum enrollment is 18 students. As a newbie to the aerial arts, I am aiming to get into the 10-month program that starts the fall of 2014. NECCA will determine which program will be appropriate for my skill level. I have one year to save money, hone my skills, and prepare myself before the application and video are due. After the program, I hope to make tremendous progress in skill level and eventually perform for a living. In short, it’s basically like taking a college year of circus classes. I dig that kind of school. This is how NECCA describes the program:
In this 10 month long program, students study numerous circus arts with a variety of instructors in group and private lessons, and have ample studio time to practice the skills learned during these sessions. The program culminates in a performance of acts that will be created during the spring portion of the program.
The program includes two three-hour group-training classes and one semi-private lesson weekly. Students also select three skills classes from our Session class listing. There are three sessions: Fall (Sept-Dec), Winter (Jan-March) and Spring (April-June), and students can change their class selection at the start of each session. Students also have access to Members Only “open studio” format training to practice what they are learning, and a membership to the Outer Limits Gym.
I was thinking about staying in VA Beach this summer and getting a seasonal job so I could train at the studio but that changed during my drive to work this morning. The sun was warm and the air was crisp. I quickly reminisced about the brisk early mornings waking up in my tent in Harpers Ferry. Nothing beats living in a tent, working on the river, having fun, and getting paid to do it. I spent most of the morning researching fitness gyms and aerial arts gyms near Harpers Ferry. I didn’t have much luck but the outfitter I work for has an outdoor aerial adventure park which I can play on. It’s a good work out (if I sprint it) and I remember last year when a buddy told me to do pull-ups on the gymnastic rings at the end of one of the courses. I’m going to be strict about conditioning this summer and perhaps get other people to work out with me as well.
I have nothing and everything to lose.