Off to the Circus (again)


I knew it was a great day when there was a LivingSocial deal for Sky Candy, an aerial arts company in East Austin. I snagged the deal without a second thought (paying $10 for one 90-minute class, usually $20). After three years of flying trapeze lessons– which I still take and thoroughly enjoy– I thought it was time to expand my circus arts repertoire.

The class meets in Sky Candy’s studio space, which sounds much more glamorous than the 500 or so square feet behind a furniture maker in a warehouse in East Austin. While I knew the class would be in a warehouse, and therefore probably not have air conditioning, I still decided to go to a class that started at noon. Thank goodness I brought plenty of water.

I met Winnie, one of the co-founders of Sky Candy, who was teaching the Intro to Aerial Arts class yesterday. With only two other students in the class, Winnie kept things professional but casual, encouraging us to try lots of new skills. We started with a fifteen minute yoga-inspired warm up, after which we were already good and sweaty. (If you are squidgy about touching something that some sweaty stranger has just touched, this is not your class.)

We started by learning the silks and rope. Using upper body and core strength, I was able to climb the apparatus without much difficulty. I was surprised, though, how high my heart rate was climbing as I ascended the silks. Not one to be scared of heights, I could tell my muscles were working really hard to support my body weight.

Next we took turns alternating through the static trapeze and the lyra (hoop). The mount for each of these apparatuses required a fairly athletic flip upside down. I made it more difficult than it needed to be, as I found it hard to break my flying trapeze habit of keeping my eye on the bar. Once I got up on to the trapeze and hoop, though, the other tricks were straightforward. Hanging upside down is something I enjoy, so learning to balance and use the apparatus as I moved in, around, and through it was a good mental and physical challenge. My arms and core are feeling it today!

The class finished with a short lesson on the hammock. At first, I wasn’t that interested in this apparatus. What I learned, though, is that it’s actually a lot of fun. I like the balance, strength, and artistry that it requires. Who knew I’d find laying on a thin piece of fabric six feet in the air so much fun?

I have always enjoyed watching Cirque du Soliel type artistry, and now I feel like Dorothy seeing the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain. I’ll definitely be back to learn more tricks. ….And get a really amazing workout at the same time. If you’ve always wanted to try something like this, Sky Candy’s classes are supportive, fun, and affordable. For someone who loves both fitness and arts, I’m happy Sky Candy has set up shop in Austin.

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