Aerial hoops, silks, and poles are more than just a new way to work out. It is an art form, dancing in the air.
Aerial Atmosphere, which opened on Feb. 5 in Lubbock, offers several classes, including: Aerial Hoop, Silks, Pole, Flexibility, Strength and Conditioning. For those who may be afraid they may not be as good as others who have been attending longer, no worries. Aerial Atmosphere also has different levels for each class. Aerial Atmosphere uses an easy app to help book classes. Simply download the Mindbody app, create an account, search for Aerial Atmosphere, and look through the schedule to book a first class.
Aerial hoop is a ring, sized to fit a person in the middle of it. This ring is hung from the ceiling and spins when being performed on, giving the allusion of floating and flying. Silks are two long pieces of smooth cloth, which also hang from the ceiling. Wrapping the material around a body limb makes it possible to climb, slide, twirl, and hang from it.
Pole dancing is taught more as an art form, a dance, a performance.
“I do not teach you how to twerk around a pole,” said Sarah Baker, an instructor at Aerial Atmosphere.
Aerialist students have several different reasons as to why they start going to Aerial Atmosphere. Most people start because they want a physical activity that is fun but also a work out. For others, they already knew one of the instructors (Sarah Baker), and some come just out of interest.
Baker is Aerial Atmosphere’s main instructor. Summer Branch and Brittany Laub are two of the silk instructors who teach a class every other week on Sundays because they live in Amarillo. Branch has been working with silks for three years now.
All the instructors are very experienced and encouraging, according to Jessica Luna, who participates in classes.
“Sarah is very patient and understanding,” said Luna. “We could go over something a million times, and not once does she make you feel discouraged.”
Every instructor has the class participants stretch out their muscles extremely well to insure they are warmed up to help prevent injury.
Belem Patton explained, “It was love at first class. Not only was it a great workout, it incorporated my love of dance and provided a creative outlet for me, which is much more difficult to do as a mom.”
All the fun, exercise, and encouragement is not all you get out of a class, according to Bianca Anabtawi, another one of the 320 class participants since the facility opened in February.
“Aerial Atmosphere has helped me get out of my shell,” said Anabtawi. “I’m a natural introvert, but after spending a few classes with Sarah and the other girls, I completely opened up. It was like I had known them for years! I have tried pole classes at a different studio in town, and my experience was completely different.”
Luna said it has helped her build strength, confidence, and meet new friends.
“These classes really take you out of your comfort zone the first few times you attend,” Luna added, “but everyone starts as a beginner. We all learn, grow, and influence one another each class!”
Patton says that the unique way to work out has become her new favorite hobby.
“My kids love seeing the videos of what I learned in class that day,” Patton said. “I feel like I’m modeling, being fearless to them, and showing them the value in trying new things, no matter what stage of life you are in, and that’s the best thing I’ve been able to take away from my aerial classes.”
Baker started her training two years ago in Dallas at Extend Fitness Studio.
“I learned so incredibly much from all the brilliant instructors out there,” she explained. “That is also where I got certified to teach.”
Baker said she decided to open an Aerial studio in Lubbock because she says she thought the community was ready for a new, fun, and alternative way to get fit. Having grown up in Lubbock, Baker says that she had always wished there was more to do.
“Lubbock has grown so much in the past few years,” Baker explained. “It was time to open up a new form of fitness for the population here!”
But Aerial Atmosphere is not just for fitness, according to Baker.
“The best gift I have been given as an instructor is watching people meet their goals, whether that is physically or mentally,” said Baker. “Everyone comes to our classes for various reasons. Sometimes it’s because they need a hobby, or a new mom wanting to lose the baby weight, or someone who has been through some rough times and needs an outlet. No matter what that reason is, we all support one another. Watching everyone grow as aerialists and as people is just down right inspiring.”
Aerial hoops, silks, and poles do not only have to be for fitness, though.
“It’s very possible to use these skills for a future career,” said Branch. “I didn’t start learning until my mid-late 20’s and have come a long way in a few years. I know many different people who have started at different ages and levels (including a close friend who started in her 40’s from ground zero) who have gone on to teach and perform. This would be a great starting point to build on any career in performing, whether in aerials or dance or otherwise. It can also be a fun hobby and fitness addiction that will enrich your life. It just depends on how much you want to commit to it.”