After having words and fist-shaking over Google map’s complete failure in the general vicinity of SE Portland, I arrived at the intended address and made my way downstairs to Night Flight Aerial Studio.
We started upstairs in a cozy loft space as instructors swapped the hanging lyra hoops for colorful silks that hung from the second story rafters. We were led through basic yoga stretches and some core and shoulder strength exercises to be sure that our bodies were fully ready for the task ahead.
Once back downstairs they split the group up by experience. I was with the beginning group. I did do a one-day intro workshop with silks and trapeze some years ago, but I was basically starting back from scratch.
First, we just got the feeling of hanging from the silks by wrapping the fabric around our wrists and hanging while we practiced shoulder shrugs in up-and-down and front-and-back motions. Then, we warmed up our cores by crunching our knees up to our chest.
The next step was to learn a foot lock technique and get climbing! I had learned this in said past workshop so it came right back to me – up I went. We also learned a more secure and slightly more complicated foot lock. It wasn’t as comfortable, but it was very secure. It would be the base of another move we would learn a little later.
Next, they tied a large knot in the fabric to make a loop and we learned how to do a simple inversion. The hardest part was learning how to rock backwards in a graceful way. From there, there were a myriad of arrangements for your arms and legs to hit various poses.
In order to let the blood come back to our heads, we continued with a more complicated foundation move – a hip lock. I don’t think I can really describe how this works, but basically the fabric ends up wrapped around one of your upper-legs and held in place by the contraction of your thigh and the crease of your hip in a pike position. This one took some time to figure out. Even just tipping over sideways took some figuring out. I ended up on the mat several times – laughing the whole time. The first time that I almost got it, I was sliding ever-so-slowly to the floor in what I called a “slow fail”. In the end I was able to more-or-less get it to work. I think I’ll get it in a few more tries.
Finally, we utilized the stronger foot-lock we had practiced earlier to learn two more moves. The first had us basically sitting on one foot looking a bit like a bird on a swing, and from there we were to press up on the bent let and bend the straight leg, arching back into the “Devil’s Stag”. Note to self: smile with your teeth. When you’re upside down, smiles don’t work right. 😉
Once we were done for the day, we stretched our forearms thoroughly and disbanded, chatting happily about our triumphs and awkward crashes.
I think I could get hooked on this. For me, it is a perfect amalgamation of strength and grace. Now I just need to work on my flexibility.
This intro-level aerial class teaches the basics of silks and other equipment (depending on the day) while challenging your core, and upper body strength and stamina.
Upper body and core galore!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls…
This class is great for budding acrobats of either gender. Contact the studio for age requirements.
Be sure to read their important New Student Page before attending class.
Wear form-fitting clothes. They suggest a pair of tights/leggings and form fitting shorts or fitted yoga pants that aren’t too loose around the ankle and a form fitting tank, workout top, or leotard. No zippers or jewelry on the equipment. Bring water or a water bottle to class (that have a filtered water tap).
Get into it:
Address: 215 SE 9th Ave, #104, Portland OR 97214
Phone: (503) 780-6996
You can also try aerial classes at AWOL Dance Collective in North Portland.