How an aerial discipline turned my everyday life upside down
Amsterdam is a city of endless opportunities. Anything is possible in the canal capital of Europe. This is why many people come and stay here in the hope of a better future by studying or working. During the monotonous weekdays, our bodies need some sports activity through which we can release stress and forget about our daily problems while trying to be fit as well.
When moving to a new country, social media platforms automatically change their advertisements to local ones. One day, you open your Facebook feed and scroll down to see the latest pictures of your friends. Out of a sudden, you come across the advertisement of aerial silks classes: "Bored of the gym? Come fly with us!" It looks cool but you are totally afraid of height and of being upside down. However, you do show up for a training because you want to push your limits and try out something absolutely different.
You can hear laughter and chitchat when you enter the gym. People come here from all corners of the world. Regardless of where you are from or what your previous experience is with acrobatics, any aerial discipline, or sports in general, everyone is more than welcome. When the trainer starts the music, the group of attendees form a circle and start doing different warm-up exercises. One memorable exercise is doing jumping jacks: every person counts 10 jumping jacks, so the total number is somewhere between 100 and 200, depending on how many participants there are. Besides in English, counting can be done in your mother tongue, so this is the part when you can proudly show what language you speak. Of course, if you can still catch your breath ;)
After finishing a thorough warm-up, you are instructed to do several strengthening exercises, with careful guidance both on the ground and on the aerial equipment, to build up the necessary stamina for the aerial world. It can also come handy to be flexible up in the air, so the next step is a comprehensive stretching, which cannot be skipped if you desire to achieve a full split. You might already feel you have trained for hours and cannot really sweat any more: that is when you at last get introduced to the trapeze or the silks. The first obstacle to overcome is to get through your first climb which might as well require a few trainings. After that a whole new world opens up with its countless ways of you wrapped up in the tissue, for instance in hip keys, inversions, crab locks, and foot locks, such things you have not heard about before. While trying your very first steps in the aerial world, you can have a glimpse of the more experienced aerialists doing crazy drops that at this point seem impossible for you to do. As a closing activity, you couple up with a nice person you have met during the training and you give each other a nice massage to ease the tension of your muscles. The next few days will definitely bring you sore muscles, especially in your arms and fingers if you are new to aerials. Actually, no matter how long you have been training, you will probably have some muscle strain after each and every training.
The diversity, thoroughness, and comprehensiveness of the training convince you to come back and re-live every single bit again and again. It is not only because you can engage all your muscles, get into a deeper contact with your body, and be as creative as possible with your movements in the air. It is also because you can make many new friends with whom you can share your aerial experience and have fun during and out of the trainings. It is fantastic to be part of such an aerial community where everyone is kind-hearted, helpful, and supportive at the same time, both inside and outside the gym.
The whole package that you get with your new aerial experience can become an addiction faster than you would expect: training minimum twice a week, checking tons of pictures and step-by-step online tutorials, and doing extra push-ups and sit-ups at home. All in all, you realise how much better your life is upside down: it becomes part of your everyday life and in one way or another, you cannot spend a day without aerials.
This is the experience of Orsi, an enthusiastic aerialist who has been doing aerial silks for about a year at Aerials Amsterdam.
Model: Orsi Závodszky
Photographer: Eyas Hafez
Make up: Miguel Matias
Location: Aerials Amsterdam