'You get a real buzz from being in the air' - we catch up with the Introduction To Aerial class

September 16, 2021 

Improving fitness, meeting people and trying something new were some of the reasons our newest community members gave for signing up to Introduction To Aerial.


The programme - designed for complete beginners - lets class-goers try their hand at skills like aerial hoop, Chinese pole and flying trapeze over six weeks, guided by experienced trainers.


Charlotte Preston from Margam, Port Talbot, said: “It’s so much fun. You get a real buzz from being in the air.”


The 24-year-old studied at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and now works as an animator.


“I wanted to do something for myself and to improve my self-confidence,” she said.


“I was worried I wouldn’t be flexible enough, but I’ve already noticed a real difference in terms of feeling stronger and more flexible.” 


Charlotte is now planning to sign up for the mixed aerial class, after particularly enjoying static trapeze, silks and flying trapeze.


She added: “It’s nice to have a group like this – everyone is really supportive. There’s no pressure. Some sports groups I’ve tried in the past have been too competitive. Aerial has made me feel so good.” 


Meg (left), Katy (centre) and Jennifer (right) warm up with hula hoops

Jennifer Norman-Kelly-Harris first encountered aerial circus when she saw singer Pink performing in Swansea around 10 years ago.


“I thought she was amazing,” she said. “I just thought: ‘I wish I could do that.’" 


More recently, Jennifer watched a documentary about Pink and was reminded of the experience. She decided to look for an aerial class and found Up Side Down Circus online.


The 33-year-old from Bridgend said: “I work from home, but I’m quite a sociable person and I’ve loved meeting new people here. It gets me out of the house and doing something quite different!”


She said she’d noticed her arms becoming more toned, adding: “I’ve noticed an improvement in strength, more than anything else. I can see a difference already.”


Jennifer, who is an artist and also works for Business Wales, is now planning to carry on with mixed aerial, after loving aerial hoop and trapeze. 


Aerial trainer Sam Smart leads the warm-up

Sravya Bathula, 26, lives in the centre of Cardiff and works as an accountant.


“I wanted to have a go at everything,” she said. “Beforehand, I was most looking forward to flying trapeze, but I think silks are my favourite now.


“I wasn’t expecting it to be so much of a workout! I went to the gym before the first class and I was exhausted after doing both! I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in my fitness.”


Sravya said she has enjoyed meeting new people, trying new skills and is planning to carry on with the mixed aerial course. 


Meg on flying trapeze with Up Side Down Circus co-founder Chris Moore

Meg Fernley started circus when she was 13 and is hoping to train at contemporary circus centre Circomedia in Bristol.


The 20-year-old, who has recently moved to Cardiff from north Wales, said: “I’ve wanted to go to Circomedia for a while, but there’s always been something stopping me.


“I used to drink and take drugs, but I’ve stopped that now and properly sorted my life out.”


Meg, who now lives in Roath, has signed up for an access course at Cardiff and Vale College, with a view to going on to higher education.


She added: “I’m interested in aerial hoop and silks, as well as contortion and I love dancing.” 


Meg on flying trapeze

Katy Ball, 27, from Roath, works as an occupational therapist and signed up to Introduction To Aerial because she wanted to try something new.


“I’ve never done anything like this before,” she said. “I just wanted a new hobby - something a bit different. I’d definitely recommend the course.”  


The next Introduction To Aerial course will start on Thursday, September 30. To find out more, visit our classes page and to book, email info@upsidedowncircus.co.uk For more updates, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Main image caption: (From left to right) Meg Fernley, Sravya Bathula, Jennifer Norman-Kelly-Harris, Katy Ball, Charlotte Preston. 


By Liz Day 

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