Back in June Rob and I went to Ibiza and whilst we were there we treated ourselves to an evening of amazing food and cabaret at Lio. The highlight of the evening for me (apart from the steak and great company!) was Sara & Jenny Haglund aka Duo Vilja, with their beautiful bendiness! This was the first time I had seen an aerial hoop performance and thought about giving it a go.
Fast forward to September and I was once again amazed, but this time by the Limbo show on Southbank. If Limbo ever comes back to London, I really recommend seeing it. It’s amazingly dark and eerie with shocking amounts of talent. That same night when I got home, I set about searching the web for some amateur classes in London.
This is how I came across Flying Fantastic, the dedicated aerial fitness centre offering classes in Aerial Silks, Aerial Pilates, Aerial Slings, Aerial Yoga and Aerial Hoop. In their own words “there’s nothing quite like it for an all over body workout” – that’s for sure… although my hands and back of my knees are definitely suffering the most today!
When I turned up to my glass at Gymbox in Farringdon last night I wasn’t nervous at all, just very excited. While we waited for the earlier class to finish, some of us got talking about what to expect and one lady told me about blisters and weeks of pain… That’s when the nerves set in!
Laura Bridges, our instructor welcomed us all with a lively warm up, before we split into two groups (half with Laura and the other half with a different instructor, whose name I have forgotten – I’m sorry!). There were three of us with no experience, so we stayed together, but after being taught how to get airborne and master a few of the more simple moves, I definitely felt like I was made for this. Give me some up-side-down splits any day!
From the Man in the Moon, the Split Giselle and Stand Out to the Metal Hammer, Mermaid and Arrow there were a lot of positions to try and that was only in my very first class.
As an ex-gymnast and dancer, in all honesty it wasn’t the crazy up-side-down split positions that I found hard, it was trying to keep the hoop still and the reminder of all the blisters I went through whilst I was doing bars as a gymnast. That and the hoop rubbing on the back of my knees – although I didn’t realise how bad that was until I woke up this morning. OUCH!
The way it works is that most of the time there will be two people per hoop, therefore you’ll always be spotted by someone. Laura’s attention wasn’t stretched too thin either, with only having five of us to keep an eye on. You learn as much by watching others, as you do by getting up and doing it.
At the end of the class I wondered how someone gets into teaching something like this, so decided to find out a bit more about Laura. She told me that after getting pretty good at hula hooping with a group of hippies at university she went off to New York, did a crash course in circus skills and ended up teaching people at a summer camp. After meeting some great people in America, Laura then went on to New Zealand and worked with a circus group there. Now, back in London, Laura has been teaching with Flying Fantastic for 18 months and from what I can work out, she’s loving it! If she’s not, she should be, as she’s a great teacher.
So all in all, I had such a fun evening and have finally found my new hobbie. The learning was hard, but rewarding and the people were great. I woke up this morning, went straight to my laptop and booked in for another six sessions.
I can’t wait to learn more – bring on the hooping! x