I walked into my first circus silks class at the Athletic Centre last Friday pretty confident (largely due to the fact that I found my way from the AC change rooms to the Lower Gym in the Benson building on the first try).
I wasn’t arrogant — I know I know nothing about aerial silks, but the instructor asked if I had done anything similar or notable and I mentioned that I’ve been coaching gymnastics for over five and a half years and used to do aerial yoga.
Anyway, we started with a warm up. It was very à-la gymnastics. I felt like I was taking one of my own gymnastics classes. Jiu Jitsu doesn’t work some muscles the way that side kicks with pointed toes do, however, and I felt that right away.
There were 4 of us there, I think there may be a couple more in the class who didn’t show up yesterday. It’s a small class by necessity, as the gym only has one silk set up. As a result, we rotated through stations. We had a conditioning station (doing planks, superman holds and the like), a mini-silk set up using one of the gymnastics bars (the Lower Gym is the gymnastics gym at UofT and I felt right at home!), a rest station and a silk set up with the instructor.
I was a little behind, having missed the first class the week before, but I caught up rather quickly. I learned that I’m more inflexible than I thought, and that this art takes incredible grip strength. Coming from Jiu Jitsu, I thought that should have been the part where I excelled… it wasn’t. My hands protested something fierce, but it was definitely worth it!
It’s a fun challenge, and when you master a new piece of the puzzle it’s really satisfying. I recommend it 100%! It was also a pretty good workout between the conditioning and the strength and balance it took to tangle oneself in the silks. It may look pretty but that doesn’t make it easy. I have a new found respect for aerial silks performers already.
The class is an hour long, which is both sad because I want to do more and probably wise since it’s really hard work. I can’t wait for next week though!
Now, I feel like this post would be incomplete if I didn’t add in the “part where Annette embarrasses herself.” After we wrapped up class I had to get back to the change rooms to bundle up before heading home. I made my way in that direction thinking to myself “Hah, I’ve got this route down pat.” I went through a set of double doors and I heard them click behind me. I didn’t recognize the place as somewhere I’d passed through on my way to the lower gym, so I went to turn back. The doors were locked. My only option was another set of doors at the bottom of the stairs. As I made my way towards them I felt it getting colder. I had a good feeling I knew exactly what was past those doors, but what choice did I have? I pushed them open and sure enough I was outside, in view of New College, freezing in my tank top. I explained this to the front desk staff later so they’d let me in to get my stuff and they weren’t even a little surprised. I’m telling you, the AC is a labyrinth, it’s not just me!
Anyway, let this serve as a testament to the awesome classes available at the AC, but also to the secret athletes aerial silks performers are. Check back next week for updates and possibly a photo or two (I’ll be trying really hard to conceal my “this is really hard” face).