If you’re thinking of taking up the aerial arts, I must caution you. You will experience side-effects, and I feel that you should know them before you get started!
Pride in Pain: Once you fall in love with these arts, you will learn a new meaning of pain. You’ll know that almost NOTHING can be accomplished in aerial without a little bit of pain. You’ll recognize the difference between “good” pain and bad pain, and use it as an indicator of your progress. You’ll laugh with your fellow aerialists as you compare bruises you got from various apparatus. In doing so, you’ll see that you’re not alone–that everyone suffers the same fate. The pole/hoop/fabric pities no one-which makes conquering a move that much better!
Love for Photos/Videos: You might start your aerial classes as a camera-shy student. This is entirely normal! As you progress, you’ll find yourself in front of the camera. You’ll nail a sweet move, and want to share it with friends and/or family, so you take a quick photo. Your friends/family are just floored by what you’ve accomplished, and ask for more pictures! So, the end of class becomes time for you to get photos, and you might even spend a few minutes after class sharing your photos on social media. You realize that there are quite a few people who enjoy your photos, and they tend to find the most simple moves as their favorite to see.
New Friendships: I started pole classes by myself–no friend to go with, no extra motivation. This might be you too! You’ll find out quickly that the aerial community sticks together. We all know the beautiful suffering involved with our sport of choice, and we’re all very supportive of each other. I’ve made some awesome friends over the last three years with ladies I’ve met through my classes. They’ve not only been helpful and supportive, but they’ve inspired me to keep pushing and be better!
Music is Different: I cannot listen to music without trying to pair it with pole moves. For example, I recently heard “The Hills” by The Weeknd, and my first thought was, “I could make an EPIC routine to this song.” Sometimes, it’s about the beat and the lyrics, but that’s not all it is. Now, I listen to songs and try to determine how I feel. Sounds weird, right? Understand, though, that I feel like my best pole routines come from songs that make me feel. It’s far easier to put yourself through two and a half minutes of physically exhausting, yet beautiful, dancing, when you feel the song. This might just be a “me” thing, but I can at least guarantee that you’ll find yourself wanting to choreograph your favorite songs!
Attire Change: Normal clothes just won’t cut it anymore. Your shorts, legging, tank-top, and sports bras will multiply, until they have their own little section in your closet. You’re at the studio as often as you can be, so you find yourself with different coordinating outfits, across the aerial spectrum. Hey, who has time for laundry with all those classes? 🙂 You come to find that your aerial attire is pretty darn comfortable, and you’ll use any excuse to wear it.
Case in point: I used to be of the camp “Leggings Are Not Pants.” Well…. after taking a few hoop and fabric classes, I decided that those suckers make AMAZING pants. The picture above is me last Tuesday. My day included college classes, then hoop and my Intermediate class. Why, oh why, would I bother putting together a separate outfit, when I can spend my whole day comfortable AND be prepared for my hoop and pole classes? :). It also might have something to do with the next side effect….
Confidence: This is the ultimate, and the best, side effect of learning the aerial arts. It’s also the one that’s changed my life the most. When I started at Aerial Dance, I was trying to recover from an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship. I was convinced that I was the ugliest, dumbest, and worst person alive–I believed everything he told me. I came to Aerial Dance because their form of exercise looked like way more fun than the torture devices at the gym. It became more than a physical fitness activity— it became a soul-healing activity. The more I worked on my pole tricks, the more confident I became in my abilities. I began to appreciate my body and what it was capable of. If I could conquer a Serpent, a Flatline, a Cross-Ankle Recline–what else could I conquer? I realized that I was far more capable than my ex had led me to believe. That confidence in myself doesn’t just affect my personal life and body image, but it also affects my professional life as well. Not only am I willing to suspend myself precariously from an aerial apparatus, I’m also willing to take risks and ask the questions I never would have before.
Now that you’ve been warned…. are you ready to experience the aerial arts side effects? 😀