Health&Fit­ness

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for the stu­dio, said even though pole fit­ness doesn’t al­ways click as some­thing men can do, there’s an en­tire male divi­sion in pole and ac­ro­bat­ics com­pe­ti­tions, and most of the pole pro­fes­sion­als with Cirque du Soleil are men.

“You’re go­ing to work dif­fer­ent mus­cles in dif­fer­ent ways once you start to ma­nip­u­late your body in dif­fer­ent ways around a pole,” Draper said.

Dance 411 of­fers both Pole Fit drop-in classes, where peo­ple pay per class, as well as 10-week se­ries that works up from the be­gin­ner level all the way to Ph.D. and cul­mi­nates in a show for fam­ily and friends.

“By the end of level six you’ll be do­ing some ae­rial tricks and it’s a lot of flex­i­bil­ity work­ing,” Tay­lor said. “For drop-in classes, you’ll learn a few tricks, we’ll warm you up and you learn a dance rou­tine to take home.”

Drop-in Pole Fit classes are of­fered at 6 p.m. Tues­days and 10 a.m. Satur­days this month at Dance 411. Ad­di­tional pole classes and se­ries sign-ups are also avail­able. For the most up-to-date regis­tra­tion and price in­for­ma­tion, visit www.dance411s­tu­dios.com.

Get fit to fly

For those who re­solve to take their 2017 fit­ness goals to a new height, ae­rial classes are of­fered at sev­eral At­lanta lo­cales. At In­spire Ae­rial Arts in the Am­s­ter­dam Walk shop­ping cen­ter, as­pir­ing Peter Pans can fly high on fab­ric, rope and hoops while chal­leng­ing their en­tire body.

“It’s a type of fit­ness that com­bines dance, gym­nas­tics, some yoga-type stuff and of course, lots of pretty fab­rics,” owner Kim­berly Sende said. “Ae­rial is the thing that con­sis­tently chal­lenged me and al­ways kept me want­ing more, but at the same time kind of tricked me into be­ing in shape so I didn’t feel like, ‘Oh God I have to do 10 more reps of this’ and ‘Oh my God now I have to work on legs.’ I could just go and spin and twirl.”

A typ­i­cal ae­rial class be­gins on the floor with arm and leg warm-ups, fol­lowed by som­er­saults. That’s a pose where ae­rial artists wrap their arms in the fab­ric hang­ing from the ceil­ing and flip back and forth, Sende said.

In­spire Ae­rial Arts of­fers classes for kids from 7 to, well, an undis­closed age — the old­est class mem­ber right now is in her 60s. For the first few vis­its, artists take hammock classes, where they learn dif­fer­ent poses with the fab­ric tied in a knot, al­low­ing them­selves to build strength to sup­port their body weight over time.

“Then we’ve got fab­rics classes, which is the stuff where you have two sep­a­rate pieces of fab­ric and you learn how to climb and you learn how to spin and drop from the air,” Sende said. “We’ve got ae­rial rope classes which is kind of like the gym rope that most peo­ple had in high school … We’ve got ae­rial hoop classes, which is a big round metal hoop that you make shapes in and you can climb on top of it or be be­low it.”

Ian Cias of At­lanta be­gan classes last year, shortly be­fore his 50th birth­day. He said not only did ae­rial arts help him over­come his fear of heights, it changed his body com­pletely.

“Noth­ing, and I’ve been work­ing out in the gym for years, has ever got­ten my body this fit as this has, be­cause it works ev­ery­thing and all at once,” Cias said. “It’s not just one thing like at the gym where you con­cen­trate on one thing. Here, you use ev­ery part of your body for silks.”

His fa­vorite poses in­clude one where the artist holds the silks open and flips up­side down, end­ing up look­ing like a but­ter­fly, and the Iron T, a pose where only the arms are wrapped in the fab­ric, hold­ing the body in a “T” shape over open air.

T Mae­hi­gashi of Tucker, an­other In­spire stu­dent, works al­most ex­clu­sively on rope.

“Rope is more dy­namic move­ment,” he said. “Silk is more, you look pretty and you look Top left: Kim­berly Sende, owner of In­spire Ae­rial Arts in At­lanta, grace­fully de­scends from one of the col­or­ful fab­rics in her stu­dio. Above: Sende works with stu­dent T Mae­hi­gashi of Tucker on proper rope po­si­tion dur­ing a work­out. Her stu­dio of­fers classes on rope, fab­rics and hoops. (Photos by Rob Boeger) grace­ful, and I can’t do any­thing look­ing grace­ful at all like the way the fe­male body moves. So rope, you can do swing and more dy­namic looks. That’s prob­a­bly more suited for me.”

He said ae­rial pro­vides a chal­leng­ing work­out be­cause in­stead of rep­e­ti­tions, the whole body is en­gaged at once, at­tempt­ing to nail a move the way an in­struc­tor showed it.

“When you ac­com­plish some move that you thought you’d never be able to, for in­stance the in­vert [an up­side-down pose], that’s a great feel­ing and you want to move onto the next move,” Mae­hi­gashi said. “When you have some cer­tain ob­vi­ous goal … ev­ery time you try to do that you are work­ing out a lot of mus­cles where you never knew you had.”

Sende said there’s no par­tic­u­lar level of fit­ness one must have to start ae­rial classes. All that’s needed is will­ing­ness.

“De­pend­ing on how fit you are, things may or may not be more dif­fi­cult for you, but there’s al­ways some­thing you can do,” Sende said. “Our fab­ric will hold 2,200 pounds. The be­gin­ner classes don’t re­ally re­quire that you hold your­self up in the air, but you have to be will­ing to try.”

And for those who think ae­rial is “too girly” for them?

“I’m bust­ing my ass ev­ery time I come up here,” Mae­hi­gashi said. “If they think this is girly, you come up and climb that.”

In­spire Ae­rial Arts of­fers both drop-in classes and pri­vate les­sons for ae­rial fab­rics, hoop and rope through­out the week. For the most up-to­date regis­tra­tion and pric­ing in­for­ma­tion, visit www.in­spireaeri­alarts.com.

Jan­uary 6, 2017

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