The Art of Being Back at the Bottom
by guest blogger and recent aerial addict, Taylor Davis
It was time, time to find something different. As an ADHD twenty-something who is self-described as an athletic person I need constant motivation to look good naked. The trainers at the gym were no longer cutting it. With a Pro-Ballroom background neither was any Jazzercize or Barre class. A student in my ballroom studio told me about Aerial Fit, a space for people who love to fly, be in shape, and hang on 60ft long sheets of fabric. So as one would suspect, I signed up for an Intro Series. The first day I walked in and made the realization, I’m not the Pro anymore. I am a beginner again. Over the next 10 weeks I learned more than just how to hang from fabric, I learned a lot about myself.
That first day can be as exciting as it is humbling. The teacher, a soft spoken and charming young red-head by the name of Anastasia, assured me that my gut wrenching fear of falling was, well, valid and would ultimately be a useful tool. She explained how the building’s rigging points for all the apparatus (read: hanging things) were designed to carry the weight of the average car and that Aerialist don’t fall, they fly. We warmed up and the class began. I thought I was in good shape, but wow Aerial skills are no joke! Between the flexibility and strength work it’s a great way to get or stay in shape. There are no weights and no nagging trainer. The classes are done at the students pace and are perfect for any level of fitness. It really makes you personally aware of your body, what it needs, and what you can actually do. The students in my classes ranged from teens to seniors. It was literally a melding pot of personality, body types and physical abilities. A truly supportive group with helpful professionals that make the classes pass by with lots of smiles, even when struggling on a skill.
For the majority of the people in my class, along with myself, they are established adults with careers and are not always used to being at the “bottom.” To be honest there were many moments of “If the 70-something year old retired accountant can do it why can’t I ?!” However, I had to remember that everyone here is a beginner, it’s a process. No one on the cirque stage popped out of the womb swinging from a rope, in a full split, upside down with one hand on. It just didn’t happen that way. My instructor, Anastasia, was in martial-arts and then after years of perfecting aerial she now teaches the intro-classes. Patience is the virtue. Many days of sore hands meant many moments of triumph when you finally hit the line just right and your body is perfectly aligned. The Journey is often greater than the moment.
If you are looking for a new hobby, a new workout, even just a new fun group activity, Aerial Fit at Circus Building is the place. The Charleston circus scene is small, but this hole in the wall company is making a phenomenal splash. For me, the combination of qualifications, teaching skills, fun environment, and supportive groups hooked me. Now I wear my torn hands, bruises, and fabric burns with pride. They are what it takes to leave the bottom and start climbing.