In 2011 I was looking to try something new…I love trying new things especially when it comes to fitness! A couple of my fellow actor friends had been doing aerial arts/circus training and of course I thought ‘that sounds awesome’!
If you have ever seen cirque du soleil you know the magic of finely crafted and executed aerial arts. The combination of strength, flexibility, and artistry amazes and excites millions around the world.
So I signed up for a beginner class at The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston,Il! My class was led by Sylvia Hernandez-Distasi a lifelong circus artist. I was excited to try this 10 week class and learn a new skill! I had been a fitness professional for over 10 years with a background in dance and gymnastics I should naturally succeed right? Wrong! This class was one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Climbing was hard and exhausting…it’s like junior high all over again trying to get up the rope , seemingly impossible! What’s worse is that is only a basic skill to get to the tricks… I was discouraged, and very sore. Also, it hurts .. Yes your muscles but also rope burn, bruises, and material squeezing you in various uncomfortable ways. But, I stuck with it; every week we tried a new apparatus (static trapeze, Spanish web, Lyra, silk knot, and silks)and the second half of the session we got to try them all again … And surprisingly I had improved(ever so slightly)!
I decided to stick with it and do another session. I kept plugging along, learning new tricks, increasing my flexibility, finding grace in my movements, and overcoming fears! I began to be able to do tricks with less effort and even string more than one trick together. A year and a half later I was ready for a new challenge. I enjoyed the class so much and I wanted incorporate the performance aspect! I signed up for the summer intensive which is a 6 week circus intensive that meets 4 days a week for 2 hours a day. You learn skills (dance, aerial, contortion, and ground acts like juggling or globe walking) to create a circus act to be performed In a showcase at the end.
I had an amazing experience..I plan to continue performing when I can and developing more skills and tricks. If you have ever wanted to run away with the circus find a class near you. Chicagoland boasts a number of great training facilities the Actors Gymnasium, Aloft Loft, MSA, The New York Trapeze School! Take a class, challenge yourself, rock your body!