Been itching to join the circus ever since you first saw Big Top Pee-Wee? Now, you can fulfill that childhood dream of yours, while getting in shape at the same time. Aerial Arts NYC offers aerial circus classes in Silks, Static Trapeze, Rope, Lyra, Hammock, Straps, & Spanish Web. Not quite ready to get up in the air? They also offer ground classes which include acrobatics, juggling, hula hooping, tumbling and handstands.
Best part is you'll get first-rate instruction, as their staff has appeared with performing troupes such as Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Le Masque, Circus Circus, and on Broadway. We recently spoke with instructor, Ben Franklin who had some great information to share for those who are considering this type of routine. Franklin is also producer/creator/performer with his company, 2 Ring Circus Productions.
Fitness Cult Chronicles: Tell me a little more about how an aerial workout can transform your body for someone who is just looking into starting this type of routine?
Ben Franklin: An aerial workout is a full body workout that uses a lot of core strength. Students find out quickly that the entire physical form is engaged when learning to climb, invert, wrap and contort on the various apparatus. Newcomers should not be discouraged, however. Everything can be developed and the hard workout part is only 1/3 of the equation: fun and artistry also pay key roles.
FCC: Do you find that a majority of your students have a dance or gymnastics background?
BF: We have a very diverse clientele - from people with dance and gymnastic backgrounds to folks substituting aerial and circus work for the gym. We also have people who just want to try something new and have a great time.
FCC: How would you encourage new students to sign up who are used to a more conventional workout routine and who may have flexibility issues?
BF: We suggest trying out whichever class speaks to them the most. If it isn't the right fit, we have many other choices and styles of classes. You never know where your heart lies until you try it out.
FCC: Do you see a lot of overlap as far as students trying the different types of classes you offer or do they generally just stick to one concentration?
BF: We have students who take 3 classes in one evening. The take a silks class, then a handstands/contortion and end with hammock. Others just take one. But, we do notice that people from all walks of life and backgrounds get hooked and find it difficult not to take multiple classes. Plus, each individual class helps make you stronger for the other classes.
FCC: I noticed that you offer a Hula Hooping Class. We recently did a feature piece on Hoopnotica - what are your thoughts on this latest fitness craze?
BF: I'm a hula hooper myself. It's a great cardio workout, plus you are learning these super cool tricks. Hooping is a great way to workout and show off at the same time.
FCC: Your instructors have quite impressive resumes, is there some sort of certification one would have to go through to become an aerial instructor?
BF: At AANYC, we have a wonderful selection of instructors all from differing backgrounds. As far as a certification, there really isn't one, but new instructors are selected based on their performance backgrounds, breadth of knowledge and experience. To teach aerial, you just have to know it, so instructors are hired based on the ability to pass along the information in a safe and supportive environment and also on their past experience and training.
Click here to check out upcoming classes at Aerial Arts NYC.