The adult troupe recently premiered their first show on Valentine's Day of this year, aptly called "The Delicious Life of Love." The Aerial Studio was transformed into a dimly lit, romantic night club where patrons got to enjoy delicious food and wine as they watched adult aerial students perform a professional-level show that explored love in all its forms.
Many troupe members were first time performers, aerialists who have day jobs and practice aeral arts regularly simply for their love of it.
We caught up with one of these performers, Andy, and asked what the experience of being in the show was like for her.
Amanda Lewis (most of my friends call me Andy)
How long have you been practicing aerial?
Not quite two years. I took my very first aerial class around June 2013.
What was the experience of being in the show like?
It was all things-- It ran the gamut. It was wonderful, incredible, fantastic, fulfilling, exhilarating and rewarding. But it was also, at times, frustrating, terrifying and stressful. There were tears and breakdowns and there were hugs and laughs and words of encouragement. Above all, it was full of love, excitement and cooperation. And it was amazing.
Did you learn anything about yourself that you didn't know before? If so, what was that like?
I learned I could do it-- that's the biggest thing. I don't have a performance background. I wasn't an athlete. I wasn't graceful. I didn't do dance, gymnastics, cheer or theatre growing up. I was the weird kid who read books and made art. I was the kid who got hit in the face during dodgeball in gym class. I think the last time I was in a "performance" as such, it was an obligatory class production of Hamlet in the fifth grade. So I wasn't really sure what was going to happen when I actually faced the prospect of performing aerial in front of real people. But I did it, and I'm incredibly proud of that.
What was your biggest fear? How did you handle it?
My biggest fear was [and remains] looking totally ridiculous and awkward-- without meaning to, of course. Rightly or wrongly, I generally feel that I move fairly awkwardly most the time, but it's hard to be that girl among such talented and gorgeous individuals and performers. When I first started, I had to bring myself across some mental/emotional hurdles about feeling awkward just to go to aerial class, and then again when I moved into the intermediate class, and then again when I decided I would put myself forward to possibly perform in the show-- and I ended up in two very different pieces!
There were times I didn't think I could go through with it all, but I committed to give both acts and all of my partners everything I could and we did it together. I'm very grateful to all three women (Marya, Deidra, and Belinda) for asking me to partner with them in the first place. If I had to perform alone, it would have been easier to quit and give in to the fear and self doubt, but having partners and working as a team makes you accountable to more than just yourself--and it means that there's someone else out there going through all of the same struggles and triumphs and adventures with you. Working with such wonderful women gave me the confidence I needed to just accept that the best I had to give was plenty, and reminded me that many times, we're our own harshest critics.
That, and rehearsing. Rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing. Once the moves are in your body to the point that you don't have to consciously think about them as much, you lose a lot of the awkwardness, I think. I hope. :)
Would you do this again? Why?
Yes. Totally. For all the ups and downs, in the end, all of the work for the show was worth it. Together we made an amazing thing that was [hopefully] an amazing experience for the audience, too. For most of us, this is not our day job. We don't do this for a living. We are all adults-- real people-- who come from diverse backgrounds and levels of experience and who fell in love with aerial. We put in hour after hour of training while balancing our jobs, our families and our outside lives to work on this project together. We dedicated ourselves to doing the best we can and I think we're all closer for it, but beyond that, I hope that someone watching was inspired by the show to try aerial or circus or to pursue their dreams and realize that the love of a thing can be enough, if you just make the effort and try.