Flow arts and aerial yoga will also be taught.
Aerial arts can be called “dancing in the air.”
If you’re not familiar with the growing sport, think of Cirque du Soliel, where the performers put on an artistic show while suspended on ropes, ribbons, hoops, etc. It’s both exercise and a form of self-expression.
Barrie Michaels, of Palm Coast, has been teaching and promoting aerial arts locally for several years, and has now opened a training center in Ormond Beach. The July 2 grand opening of VertiFit Aerial Arts, 880 Airport Road, Suite 113C, featured performances by students.
The practice of aerial arts is well known in places such as New York and California, Michaels said, and it’s just becoming known in this area. She said children see aerial arts on TV shows such as “America’s Got Talent” and tell their parent they would like to try it.
“It’s a beautiful performing art,” she said. “A student learns tricks, and then puts them together with music.”
Michaels has been renting space in local dance studios, and she said her students recently won several awards in the county-wide Flagler Youth Talent show.
She has promoted the sport by taking part in the Palm Coast holiday parade and events at places such as Tanger Outlets near Ormond Beach.
FLOW ARTS AND AERIAL YOGA
Aerial arts training at VertiFit includes aerial silks, lyra (a hoop), trapeze, cube, bungee fitness, etc. There’s also aerial yoga, which is performed close to the ground.
Her facility has a 25-foot high ceiling, allowing the higher apparatus.
VertiFit Aerial Arts will also offer flow arts, such as poi spinning, hooping, juggling and dragon staff, all props that are manipulated in rhythmic patterns.
“It’s very meditative,” Michaels said. “It’s not as easy as it looks. It’s a great way to de-stress.”
Flow arts teacher Mark Christopher Moore said they will help students make their own props so they can perform at home.
Michaels also offers parties, such as teen birthday parties, where everyone gets a chance to learn on the apparatus.
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL
Aerial arts provide both physical and mental health benefits, Michaels said, including improved focus and coordination, and classes are attended by all ages.
“A lot of people want an alternative way to work out,” she said. “They don’t’ want to do a treadmill.” She calls aerial arts a full body workout.
“Most women don’t have strong upper body,” she said. “This builds it up quickly.”
She said a person can construct an A-frame in their backyard to practice some of the aerial arts at home.
There’s even a possibility of going into aerial arts professionally. Disney and Universal have aerial performances, as well as cruise ships. Some of her older students are already performing. She will get a call for performers at a wedding, party or other event.
Michaels previously worked in high-stress positions in the corporate world, she said. Seeking balance, she discovered aerial arts and fell in love with the beauty and uniqueness. After moving to this area, she found she had to drive to Orlando to find a facility. Certified in yoga and aerial arts, she began to promote the activity locally and now has her own studio.