The first brings more than the beginning of the month, it also means a new student of the month! Angela has been in the studio for almost 2 years, and she always brings a smile to our faces. She's sure to win you over as well, if she hasn't already. Keep reading to see why this inspirational aerialist made it to the top of our list for November.
I have been involved in aerial arts for just shy of 2 years. I work on all the aerial apparatuses including silks, lyra, and hammock. My favorite apparatus changes depending on what day you ask because they are all amazing in their own way. I love everything about it. I used to think I would never find a way to exercise that I enjoyed until I stepped into Miss Fit Academy and took flight (alright, so the first class might have been more flailing than flying, but it was still fun)! When I am not at the studio I work as an Instructional Designer for a fortune 50 company and design the light show for a local band. My jobs and aerial keep me pretty busy, but I sometimes still find time for reading, video games, and spending time with friends (usually eating).
What brought you to Miss Fit Academy for the first time? And, did you have any prior experience?
When I lived in Atlanta I was part of a rock climbing gym and some aerialists would practice silks in the gym. I remember watching them while climbing going "I wish I could do that". At the time, I couldn't afford their classes and didn't really have enough guts to try it out. A few years later I moved to the Nashville area and a coworker mentioned she did aerial at a local gym. I excitedly asked if I could tag along for a class. I went to silks 101 and was hooked. I got the limited membership and quickly realized that wasn't enough and upgraded to the unlimited membership. Best investment ever.
But before Miss Fit, I had no solid workout routine or other similar experiences. I occasionally did a dance class or went to the rock climbing gym, but nothing permanent.
What scared you the most when you started your aerial journey?
I was scared of failing or being judged. That is honestly what kept me from trying before. But that was never a problem at Miss Fit. The only way you can fail at Miss Fit is if you give up. We all struggle with moves and struggle with progressing, but as long as we keep trying, you will succeed. It took me MONTHS to get my inverts, but once I got it, the feeling was amazing because it was something I worked so hard at. Right now I am working on several harder moves and I am not getting them at the moment, but I know I will if I keep working on it. There is always a new challenge and that is exciting!
The other great thing about Miss Fit is how supportive everyone is. I was afraid of being judged by others in class, but anytime I was struggling there was someone there to cheer me on (usually the whole class!) and assure me that I would get it. When I did succeed at something, the other students celebrate with you. They are there to not only offer support, but advice and helpful hints along the way. Sometimes they can explain the way they do a move and something clicks in my head and I'll totally get it the next time.
I was afraid of being judged by others in class, but anytime I was struggling there was someone there to cheer me on (usually the whole class!) and assure me that I would get it.
How did you push through the intimidation and fear that you experienced?
Usually by making myself do it. For drops especially, if I am at all nervous, I try to tell myself that my instructor watched me get into the move and she wouldn't tell me to let go if I wasn't safe and then just let go. Sometimes physically letting go (and doing the move/drop) can feel like Ii am also letting go of my fear.
Also accepting that messing up is part of how we learn. I have on multiple occasions found myself lying on the mat with my feet tangled up in the silks asking others to help get me untangled. We have all been there, and we all use those moments to learn better ways to do something.
What practices do you find most effective to cross-train/condition when outside the studio?
Most of it is being committed to coming to class. When you come regularly, you will definitely see results. But at home I usually work on hollow body holds, hollow tuck-pike-straddles, and have a pull up bar that goes over the door frame. I try to do a few pull ups anytime I walk under it. A lot of success in class came from building my upper body and core strength.
What move has been your favorite and most satisfying to achieve?
This is a tough question! There have been so many moves that I've struggled with and have felt so excited when I finally got them.
Basic invert on silks: So. Much. Time. to get this one. When I finally got it, I literally shouted with joy and pride. It seems so simple now. It's one of the easier things to do at this point, but I had to work so hard it. I had to build my muscles and get my mind in the right place to trust myself to be upside down like that.
Georgia Twist: This one was less about the physical strength to do it, but more about mentally figuring it out. For some reason, my brain just didn't understand how to do this move. It was simple. I watched other people do it and it totally made sense. I'd get up on the silk and get all tangled up because my brain didn't get it. I finally, literally, got a silk in front of the mirror and verbally told myself what to do while I did it. Seeing it and hearing the instructions at the same time made it click. Now I am throwing the move in all sorts of routines.
Slack line drops: I'll be the first to admit that I am a crazy person and I love love love drops. All the drops I had done before this were very small and controlled. The first time I pulled out slack and dropped several feet, it was a rush. I wanted more! I love these moves and am always thrilled when I get to do them.
Any advice for newcomers?
My best advice is to only compete against yourself. It can be easy to look at other people and say "I'm not as good as they are” or “It looks so easy for them. Why am I struggling so much’. This thinking holds a lot of people back. The only person you are competing against is yourself. Are you better than you were yesterday? Are you making progress against yourself? If the answer is yes, then you are succeeding.
The other piece of advice is to just have some fun. It’s okay to laugh at yourself, make jokes, and enjoy your time on the apparatus. This of course comes with the addendum of always being safe while working on it, but that aerial arts are fun and often funny. Take time to find the joy of flying.
And of course, always point your toes! (I'm still working on this)
Click here to get started and begin your aerial journey like Angela!