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