Emily Heap Interview, AAU Community Member

Emily Heap, fabric 2018
Emily Heap on fabric, Aerial Arts of Utah

What is your favorite apparatus(es)?
My favorite apparatus is a bit of a toss up right now between trapeze and lyra. Trapeze has always been what I imagine when I think of the circus, and being up on the bar feels like a wild cross between a jungle gym and a swing (the best playground toys). There’s something about hanging around upside down that is an instant connection to playtime, even when we’re doing something a little terrifying. Lyra adds grace, dance, and power of motion to the parts of trapeze that I already love. Floating and spinning are like flying, and learning to contort in and around the hoop shows me strength and flexibility that I didn’t realize was in me.

How did you get interested in aerial arts?
I first became interested in aerial arts as a kid when I saw my older sister do a dance to song from a Cirque Du Soleil show. When I looked Cirque up, I was fascinated. Next was a tv show that I became obsessed with in middle school following a group of kids training for the youth circus, Circus Smirkus. I wanted to try it myself, but there were no schools anywhere in the state. I let the dream go for a while once I became too old to ever be in Circus Smirkus myself. After I graduated from college, the theatre department I’d just left did a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream with a guest teacher to train Puck and some of the fairies on corde lisse for the show. It was a student only production and I was sooooo frustrated that they were doing this after I’d gone and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to try it! was irked enough to look up training programs again and, low and behold, now there was a school called Aerial Arts of Utah in Salt Lake City! Just an hour and a half (not states) away!

What do you love about aerial arts?
I love the excitement and beauty of aerial arts. I love that it’s so different from any other activity in my life and that there are still moments where I remember what I’m doing is something really cool and weird. The people I have met are all so open-hearted, talented, and supportive of each other. No one is trying to beat anyone down and the competition is just you against yourself. Aerial has also helped me medically. I was diagnosed with an extreme case of Grave’s Disease, which is an overactive thyroid. Your thyroid affects how fast and hard your heart beats, the lubrication and fluidity of your muscles, memory and concentration, your body’s ability to regulate temperature, and so much more. At the time I was diagnosed, I couldn’t run anymore and had trouble walking up or down stairs when the muscles in my legs would stiffen up and stop responding to me. I would suddenly find myself on the ground because my legs had just given out. I couldn’t even brush my hair without my arm shaking from the effort. My resting heart rate was at 150 and I had trouble remembering names of friends I’d know for years. There’s no cure, but I had radiation therapy and now have a low thyroid condition instead that I will be treating my whole life. The best physical and emotional therapy I have found for my condition has been aerial arts. The skills we work on have helped me to feel out my body and discover its new normal. Aerial stretches and strengthens every muscle down to fingers and toes, there’s no floor to roll my ankles on, and I can switch between arms and legs when something gets tired. Best of all, is that class constantly reminds me that I have no idea what I am capable of, but it is so much more than I tell myself.

What are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m learning partnering skills in doubles trapeze, which has resulted in some awesome photos, a lot of laughing until I cry and some exciting new bruises. In lyra class, I’m working on my pullups, inversions, and the cursed straddle up and pull over (without cheating) that I WILL master eventually.

Joey Cauceglia Interview, AAU Community Member

Joey Cauceglia, AAU Community
Joey Cauceglia on Fabric, Aerial Arts of Utah

What is your favorite apparatus(es)?
Currently silks are my favorite, I was initially attracted to the fluidity they allow. However, I have not yet given more rigged apparatus their fair chance yet.

How did you get interested in aerial arts?
I became interested in aerials after attending a few shows.

What do you love about aerial arts?
I love the controlled powerful moves aerials and rock climbing share, yet am relieved by the relationship aerials has with a drop, compared to a climbing fall; a drop is often the climax of an aerials sequence, where a fall is perceived as a failure of a climb (except those celebratory jumps from the top).

What are you currently working on?
I am excited to be working on my first drops and dives, now moving on to level 3!

Jamie Mackintosh Interview, AAU Community Member

Jamie Mackintosh - AAofuU 2018
Jamie Mackintosh on Lyra, Aerial Arts of Utah

What is your favorite apparatus(es)?
I really love Lyra, however Trapeze is quickly stealing my heart.

How did you get interested in aerial arts?
Funny story, I was at the Utah Arts Festival and had the pleasure of seeing Aerial Arts of Utah perform and was mesmerized by the strength, grace and courage of the Aerialists.

I knew this was something I had to do. I was terrified to take the initiative of signing up for my first class. I have no background in dance or gymnastics, I am afraid of heights, have very little grace…in short: Im a bit of spaz.

I signed up for my first class over a year ago and have never looked back. I love being a part of such an amazing community that is very supportive of one another.

What do you love about aerial arts?
EVERYTHING! I am passionate about many things, but aerial arts holds a very special place in my heart. I have always been fond of outlets that allow me to express my creativity. I’m physical by nature and have always enjoyed an active lifestyle. I love the human body and the many beautiful endeavors it is capable of. I love that aerial challenges me daily, I love how it has allowed me to find myself again, I love how it keeps me in check when my ego thinks I can do that intricate move I saw on instagram ( no girl…sit down ). Aerial summons me physically, emotionally, artistically, spiritually and I am so grateful for it.

My motto in life is if your scared of something, DO IT! Fear is a reminder that you’re about to do something really brave.

What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on choreography for my first solo lyra performance, we will be working on a group piece as well. I am enrolled in Performance Lab with the amazing and talented Nancy and Steel with the sweet and fabulous Diana. Loving every minute of it!

Taylor Hoyt Interview, AAU Community Member

Taylor Hoyt, AAoU
Taylor Hoyt on trapeze at Aerial Arts of Utah

What is your favorite apparatus(es)?
I really love trapeze. I started out thinking I was only interested in fabrics, but for whatever reason, the trapeze is where my heart lies currently.

How did you get interested in aerial arts?
In 2014, I went to a local studio’s showcase with a friend and was instantly fascinated. I grew up dancing and was always participating in some sort of physical activity and aerial arts seemed to meld the physical and artistic together so beautifully. At that same time (it was fate) Morgan encouraged me to take an intro class. I loved it but couldn’t commit quite yet. About a year later I started up again and have been taking classes ever since.

What do you love about aerial arts?
I love that aerial arts helps me realize my strengths and abilities while simultaneously helping me to grow and push myself. Through aerial arts, I have learned self-love, commitment, body positivity, patience, and perseverance.

What are you currently working on?
I am constantly working on getting stronger and braver; getting over my mental road blocks. We just finished steel repertory, so now I’ll begin performance lab and start working on another solo trapeze piece.

Diana Madrian Interview, AAU Community Member

Diana Madrian
Diana Madrian on lyra Flight of Fancy

What is your favorite apparatus(es)?
Trapeze, both static and dance, followed by lyra.

How did you get interested in aerial arts?
I was always entranced by circus performers growing up. When I was in college, I was doing some research online for a story I was writing and came across a website for a circus school. I didn’t know that was a thing and was instantly hooked on the idea. Soon after, I had a conversation with a friend who was saying she would like to do something fun after college before jumping into her career, and I threw out that it would be fun to go to circus school. She texted me later the same day with an article she had found about Aerial Arts of Utah. I started taking classes the very next session and haven’t stopped since.

What do you love about aerial arts?
I love the blend of artistry and athleticism. I’ve always been very physical and creative, and aerial arts is the perfect blend of both. I love how in tune I’ve become with my body over the years of working with aerial. Before I started, I used to watch aerial videos on Youtube and was so envious of how much precision they had. I also love how strong aerial has made me, even though finding shirts with sleeves that fit is an ever present challenge. It’s very empowering to feel strong.

What are you currently working on?
I am always working on flexibility and conditioning.

Rosie Moncrief Interview, AAU Community Member

Rosie Moncreif on lyra
Rosie Moncrief on lyra at AAoU

What is your favorite apparatus(es)?
I love the Lyra! You wouldn’t think that a steel hoop could be so fun but it is!! It’s my FAVORITE!!! And it’s the only apparatus I do. However, it can be helpful to cross train on other apparatuses…..

How did you get interested in aerial arts?
I randomly saw someone performing on a lyra and I thought, “I’d be super good at that!”. My friend told me to take it at Aerial Arts of Utah. So, I did and loved it!

What do you love about aerial arts?
That it’s so magical to watch!

What are you currently working on?
I am working on perfecting my technique for back elbow circles.

McKell Anderson Interview, AAU Community Member

McKell Anderson
McKell Anderson under the ribbon of heaven

What is your favorite apparatus(es)?
silks

How did you get interested in aerial arts?
Originally I went to a bachelorette party back in 2010 for pole dancing and started taking classes. The studio also had aerial classes and after a couple months decided to take silks. I loved it and it made much more sense to my body than pole, so I kept with it and love it still to this day.

What do you love about aerial arts?
One of the things I appreciate most about Aerial is how it combines skills to make me well rounded in life. I need to be strong and flexible. I need to be brave and vulnerable. I need to learn to climb and fall. I need to train basics and innovate new things. Aerial is an activity that has taught me more about balance than anything else in life!

What are you currently working on?
I feel like I’m always working on everything. The more I learn, the more I realize I must improve. There is always room to grow.

Tona Foster Interview, AAU Community Member

Tona Foster on trapeze
Tona Foster on trapeze hanging around the Great Salt Lake

What is your favorite apparatus(es)?
Trapeze is my favorite apparatus. Trapeze is great. It helps me face my fears and put trust in the apparatus and my instructors.

How did you get interested in aerial arts?
I like to exercise but I hate going to the gym to do your typical exercises. Running, swimming, and weight training never held my interest and never kept me motivated. I started out with doing pole fitness. Pole fitness quickly turned into fabrics. My dear friend Lindsay Neff introduced me to Aerial Arts of Utah. She trained there and highly encouraged me to check them out. We took classes together and had a wonderful experience with the instructors and the amount of time we got on the apparatuses. We eventually took Trapeze and I immediately fell in love with it. What a great way to get a workout and have fun all at the same time.

What do you love about aerial arts?
I love the instructors at Aerial Arts of Utah. My instructor makes a huge difference in my training. I have a bit of a quirky personality that doesn’t always sit well with some people. I have built a trusting relationship with my instructors that I am forever grateful for. I appreciate their passion and love to teach others. They are great role models and they really inspire me.

What are you currently working on?
Currently, I am working on Lyra. My instructor is so graceful, strong, and motivates me daily to become better at Lyra.

Jenifer Einstein Interview, AAU Community Member

Jenifer Einstein on fabric
RDT’s Ring Around the Rose — with Jenifer Einstein at Rose Wagner Center

What is your favorite apparatus(es)?
I love climbing, so my favorites are the vertical apparatus. I’ve mainly focused on Aerial Fabric, but am also actively working on skills for Rope and Aerial Hammock.

How did you get interested in aerial arts?
I found a living social deal for trapeze lessons in Boston, and when I looked up the school, I saw that they had Aerial Silks classes too. I didn’t even know that I could take classes like that, but I’d always loved aerial fabric acts. Once I moved to Utah, I found Aerial Arts of Utah and started taking classes, and have been addicted ever since!

What do you love about aerial arts?
I really enjoy finding new ways to move, stretch and strengthen my body. I don’t like going to the gym too much, but thanks to Aerial I’m the strongest I’ve ever been! It’s really great to be able to combine a form of exercise with a form of creative expression and end up with these incredible combinations of music and movement.

What are you currently working on?
I just performed in a group piece for Flight of Fancy Illusions with the Student Performing Company. Now I’m going to focus on a hammock piece that I’ve been working on for Ring Around the Rose in December. I’m trying to focus on slowing down and expressing the music more fully.

Meredith Peebles Interview, AAU Community Member

Meredith Peebles on silks
Meredith Peebles on silks at AAoU

What is your favorite apparatus(es)?
My favorite apparatus is aerial silks, and have concentrated on that apparatus so far in my aerial training.

How did you get interested in aerial arts?
My sister introduced me to aerial silks a couple of years ago when I went to visit her out of state. I had a private lesson with her and one of her instructors. When I got back to Utah a few days later, I googled studios and Aerial Arts of Utah popped up. I took the Friday class and then registered for intro to aerials and have been taking classes at Aerial Arts of Utah since.

What do you love about aerial arts?
I love aerial arts because it combines strength and artistry in a different way from other dance forms. I trained in studio dance (ballet, modern, jazz, character) throughout my childhood and into college, but hadn’t done any studio dance in years when I started aerials. It was a great way to get back in shape and use my body in a completely different way from dance on the floor. The shapes that can be made in the air range from just easy and amazingly fun to more challenging ones, which require some problem solving to do correctly and then become great fun once solved. I enjoy that there is such a range of skills.

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on perfecting a solo piece that I choreographed during this summer’s performance lab. I’m also in the student performing company and we are rehearsing a group piece for the upcoming Flight of Fancy show on October 20 and 21!