Practicing aerial arts makes me happier than nearly anything else in this whole universe! For those of you that don’t know my background, this will help you get to know me, and why I am so motivated to share this amazing art form with everyone I meet:
I began training at Xelias Aerial Arts Studio in MN back in 2001. I was in elementary school, and the founder/director’s daughter was in one of my school classes. She told me that “circus is the BEST” and that I “had to” try it. Well, she wasn’t kidding! It was physically and mentally stimulating, and gave me an unending amount of challenges and successes. I found myself taking more and more aerial classes, because the thrill of spinning and hanging coupled with the discipline of proper training gave me a real sense of purpose. There was always something harder, bigger, and more beautiful to learn… but I got to celebrate so many accomplishments along the way!
My first coach and mentor was the founder/director of Xelias herself, Meg Elias-Emery, a former Ringling Bros. aerialist and international performer. She placed a strict emphasis on proper technique and form, and always tired me out with loads of conditioning exercises. She is an amazing woman that can see your true potential, and will not settle for anything less than excellence, making her students repeat drills until every single muscle is properly engaged. Furthermore, she holds her staff to incredibly high standards, and as a result I got very strong very fast, performing in two seperate weekends of showcases annually.
As I grew, I wanted to be in the air more and more. Meg noticed my dedication, and when I was 14, she took me under her wing as an assistant coach. In addition to my 4 days a week of practicing aerial arts, I began teaching trapeze, guided very meticulously by her personally. As my competence increased, I began coaching other aerial apparatuses… sling, lyra, spanish web, corde lisse, silks, and a number of fun inventive apparatuses. With the guidance of her and her fantastic, tight knit coaching staff, I was able to develop into a full fledged coach, working nearly every evening during my high school years.
At age 24, after a decade of coaching, I was promoted to the position of Head Coach and Equipment Manager of Xelias Aerial Arts Studio. I was finally able to truly share the gifts that Meg and the Xelias family had given me, by training other coaches and overseeing the safety of the entire student base. I have choreographed more routines than I can count, for students of wildly varying skill levels, on nearly every aerial apparatus you can think of (and probably some that you can’t!). I have participated in many circus festivals and workshops throughout the US, as both a coach and a student (who says you cant teach an old dog new tricks!?), and for a brief stint was also part of a professional performing troupe, but nothing comes close to the joy I feel when I am able to continually coach a group of impressionable students.
Aerial arts has given me strength, flexibility, confidence, gratitude, role models, countless goals, body positivity, a second family, a purpose, a career, and SO MUCH FUN. If I can help provide any or all of these things to my students, I know I am helping to make the world a better place! THIS is why I am so passionate about what I do!