The Miss Tutti Fruiti contest in Samoa was memorable for many reasons; one being my first live aerial silk performance. Watching the very strong man do tricks high in the air with no safety harness was awe inspiring. The red silks, his traditional tattoos, the strength required – it was all quite amazing.
For those of you who have not seen a performance, an aerial silk is when a person does acrobatic tricks while suspending themselves from fabric. The fabric is wrapped around the performer in various ways and they hang, do controlled drops, swing, sway, twist and twirl. It looks complex, challenging, terrifying, fun and amazing. I needed to try it.
I found a training facility in the Orlando area which happened to be steps away from where I was staying. There are so many different things to try: hammock, silks, bungee, lyra, wall running, trampoline, etc. etc. I started with a class on the hammock – I quickly learned that 1. Many professional performers who take classes here are [a] crazy strong and [b] have sick kick-ass bodies and 2. People actually take motion sickness pills before practice due to the constant spinning (seriously).
- Silks: You need to be damn strong. The performers impress me every day. Strength, perfect lines, pointed toes – – they make everything look so easy – in case you were wondering – it’s not easy – at all. However, after a month of training several hours a week – I am far stronger than when I started. In fact before training, I could not do one pull-up and just this week I did a workout with over 60 pull-ups – ya – I surprised myself!
- Trampoline: I freaking love trampolines. I started when I was 10 and never stopped. While I have probably thousands of hours jumping, I never learned how to do real tricks. This seemed like a good opportunity to kick it up. My first private lesson was with Daniel, and I was harnessed in and hooked up to bungees – new, fun, scary, loved it. I learned how to do front and back handsprings and tucks. Next I was to bring my skills to the tramp – still working on it – but practice makes perfect. I have also started learning how to run up the wall from the tramp – love it!!
- Wall Running: As many of you know – I am terrified of heights. I don’t like to be controlled by this so I try new high things anyway. A few years ago I took a trapeze class (yes very high), and I brought a guy I was dating with me. We were joined by a 10-year-old birthday party (I sort of felt like I was in a sitcom). Ready to go, I climbed up the ladder to the platform and suddenly tears started to roll down my face – not kidding – totally uncontrollable – huh…I was truly petrified!! Eventually I made it up all the way to the platform, and I swung and did not fall (thankfully). It was great, but the best part (and the funniest) was the group of 10-year-old girls coaching me on the entire time “You can do it Amanda!” they yelled up to me – they were so sweet and it helped! Another thing I will always remember about that day is that after the class, the guy that I brought with me asked “If you are scared, why would you do it?” Huh? What type of person persuades someone to give into their fears? Even 10 year old kids know that is not the way to go! Conquer those mother-frackers! And please try not to hang out with people who encourage you to be weak – it’s just silly. So….wall running….harnessed in, carabineer on my right and my left, hanging from a pulley attached to a track that goes around the ceiling – um ya, daunting. You/me/anyone can run high up in the air on the wall sideways. This is just one of the many cool contraptions this place has created and will train you on. FU irrational fear! Well then again, maybe the fear of heights is rational! 🙂
- Bungee – Oh shit…this is outrageously fun! Harnessed to two bungees and jumping and flipping – they have this. It reminds me of the Tomb Raider movie when Laura Croft is bouncing around her house. I am thinking of buying a house solely so I can rig this up and bounce around. I know – I am the most logical and responsible person you know 🙂 BUT come on – how great would it be to have that rigged in your house??? I need it! If anyone reading this has this in their house – I think I may want to be your friend.
First off you can watch their show. My thoughts on the show – sleek aerial dancing, feats on strength, flips and running up walls in a steam punk themed cool warehouse type setting. Their costumes are handmade, the performers will take photos with you after the show and they are fun. I went twice while in the area and truly enjoyed both performances. Of course now I want to try jumping stilts! I especially enjoyed the second viewing because I actually watched them perform a routine I was learning the day before. I think after you take some classes and realize how difficult the things they are doing are, you appreciate the performance even more.
Second – you can take all sorts of incredible classes!!
Some of fun things that you can do at AntiGravity…
- Wall-Running Track, suspended 40 feet in midair!
- Trampoline Wall, custom-made apparatus.
- Trampoline Staircase!
- 8 Motorized Aerial Points
- 8 Aerial Silks
- Aerial Specialty Apparatuses, including Aerial Hoop/Lyras, Silk Hammock, Cube, Chinese Poles, Bungee, Spanish Web, Straps and Harness Work.
- AntiGravity® Boots, custom enhanced “jumping stilts”!