Last night the women of Aerial Dance performed at Bazaar After Dark on Wisconsin Ave. IT WAS AMAZING!!!!! We had a number of Aerial Members perform short sequences alongside four Instructors on 3 apparatus. Even cooler, we had dozens of members come out to cheer us on!!!! It was so amazing to see our little community welcomed at a large community event!
Yesterday was also the 7 year Birthday of Aerial Dance. It seems fitting that we got to spend it showcasing our amazing women in a very public setting. It’s been a long road. There have been many times in our 7 years that we wanted to be part of different showcases or events throughout the valley and weren’t welcome because of incorrect preconceived notions of what we did. To be welcomed at an event by the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce really made me feel like “we did it!” We helped educate the community at large and feel part of the community! It was a really special night for me.
Getting to the Bazaar was an ordeal for me. Last week I had rented a rig from a lovely company in Milwaukee, drove to get it, paid the rental fee, and drove to return it – all without using it due to the weather cancellation. The Bazaar organizers handled the cancellation amazingly and I was so grateful they cancelled BEFORE we started setting up, or worse were set up and then I had a bunch of wet gear! But I was so sad for our Aerial Members who were so excited to perform. When the event was amazingly rescheduled, so quickly, I knew I just had to make it happen. I responded to the organizers that we’d be there….and then I had to figure out how. After tossing around ideas and options to get us a rig and get our members safely flying, we decided our best option was to purchase our own Aerial Rig.
I had done the research, multiple times. But aerial rigs are expensive and I was hesitant to spend the large price tag if we weren’t going to get use from it. When Bazaar was rescheduled and having our own rig became critical to participate, we bit the bullet and I called the manufacture. I called Mr. Ludwig at 8am on Friday (7 or 6am his time) and asked if he could make it happen. He said he’d get it shipped that day, so then it would be on UPS to get it to me. True to his word, it shipped. I was tracking it like a madwoman on UPS and knew it was to arrive in WI late Tuesday night, then delivered at some point on Wednesday. Well, some point wasn’t going to work…what if it wasn’t until 6pm! So I called and requested they hold my tracking number at the Oshkosh facility and I’d pick it up. First thing Wednesday morning I was waiting outside the Oshkosh UPS when they open. I gave him my tracking number and I had one box. I asked shouldn’t there be more boxes? Like 5 total. He checked, yes, 5 boxes were shipped. But I only had held the tracking number on one (since I only had one). The very kind UPS man then tracked down the other boxes. Three were on a UPS truck that was being loaded for delivery but was still in the building! He called down and Mary, a former Aerial student, tracked them down and pulled them off the truck. But the fifth box was in Colorado. Uh oh. I ordered a gorgeous rig but I also ordered an extra wide header in addition to the standard so we have versatility in the future. So if one of the headers and all the legs made it, we were good to go….if any of the leg boxes were the box in Colorado I was going to have a very rough day driving to pick up my back-up just-in-case things go very south rig (because you should always have a plan B) and get back in time for the Bazaar. I crossed my fingers and drove my boxes back to Appleton to my parent’s house. Mom and I opened the boxes and started assembling to make sure we had all the pieces. 30 minutes later (hey, it’s the first time we were assembling) we confirmed we were good to go. All the legs were there and one of the headers and the hardware. So we were good to go! Then we took the rig apart and started packing. Man is aerial a gear intensive sport!
I cannot say enough about my Pontiac Vibe. Do you know how much gear I can fit in that car!!!! It is truly amazing….
We arrived at the Bazaar and the organizers had gifted us an amazing spot near the stage so we’d have music and be in the middle of the street so our art form could be appreciated from all angles. SO EXCELLENT! Then we started putting together our new rig for real. I can’t thank Arnie, Instructor Kelly’s husband, enough for helping me. His calm demeanor, get-it-done right, and height is SUCH an asset to Aerial Dance when we are doing set-ups. (Not to mention his awesome photography skills.) By the time the Bazaar started at 5 we were set to go! We had our new rig (which I have to say is spectacular, SO STABLE.), a 5 ft crash mat, a foam floor and a ton of awesome ladies ready to show off.
We performed aerial from 5-9:35pm. That’s a LONG time. Our women were amazing. They did so many cool tricks. And they kept going event when they were tired or cold. So truly inspiring. It was awesome to see the crowd react and have so many people curious about our art!
We packed up a few minutes before the end, since we were in the middle of the street and wanted to make sure all the other vendors could get through when they were trying to tear down. I pulled out at 10pm and then went to the studio to unload. Then Cay, my co-owner (aka mother) and I went to get food. It was a LONG day. But man was it incredible. I had tears in my eyes a few times from watching our women conquer fears and anxiety to perform in public. The number of members that came to cheer was so heartwarming. Hearing the crowd awe and being so engaged was exciting. And being welcomed in the community was, well, everything.
So here’s a “cheers” to the organizers of Bazaar After Dark. The event you created is absolutely energetic and encompassing and epic. We are so grateful to be welcome to your community and had an absolute BLAST performing. We hope to play with you again at your future events!
To the Aerial Members who performed: here’s a toast to you. You were gorgeous. Every one of you inspired someone in that audience. Every one of you looked so strong and beautiful. You are amazing women and we are so grateful you share your gifts with us.
To all the Members who came out to support the performed: Thank you for bringing your big hearts to our community. You make Aerial Dance the special place it is. Seeing your faces and hearing your cheers meant the world to all of us performing.
To my staff: you know none of this would be possible without you. I can never say enough about how lucky I am to work with you.
When I get some of the pictures from the event I’ll make another post!!!! Thanks for a great night!