At least four feet from the soft, padded floor, a petite woman is pretzeled around a trapeze. We are all watching as Alexandria White, founder and teacher of Crescent City Aerial Arts, coaches the woman in mid-air to let go and hold on with her legs. She hesitates; I hesitate. The class sitting on the floor around her offers words of encouragement, citing her bravery.
She must’ve found the courage because she let go and her body twisted and twirled out of the pretzel and into a graceful pose, maybe two feet off the ground. Proud of her feat, she climbs down and says, “Wow. That was scary awesome.” The next student mounts the trapeze to give it a try.
My editorial cohorts and I took a drive out to what seemed like a secret club location you go to by invite only. Tucked between red brick warehouses and lots, between Xavier University and the Pontchartrain Expressway, is a large open steel door with circus-like folk learning how to fly.
Crescent City Aerial Arts’ new location is on Euphrosine Street, and since their opening the studio space has held summer camps for children as young as 7, in addition to weekly class sessions for adults.
I can only imagine how fun that must be for a kid. The studio certainly brings me back to the days we could play all day and hang around on colorful jungle gyms and playgrounds. For adults, embrace your inner child and satiate your secret thrill-seeker.
When the trapeze class finishes up, White welcomes us to the floor. She puts aside the trapeze and releases four long silk ribbons from the ceiling. She ties a knot at the bottom of each silk and goes through basic moves while we are about a foot from the ground, standing on the knot. I can tell you for certain that this class helps you build muscles you wouldn’t know existed otherwise. Your fingers, shoulders and arms work to hold you up.
“I enjoyed it very much, but it’s definitely not as easy as it looks,” said web editor Kelly Massicot, “I have used muscles I didn’t even know I had. It’s beautiful, but challenging (at first).”
Within the hour White taught us how to hang upside down, twirl and even climb and sit in the silks several feet off the floor. I am eager to go back – the belly dancer and adventure lover in me enjoyed every ounce of the experience. An empowering skill to learn, I recommend bringing your friends so you can laugh at each other and shout that encouragement when you need to let go and fly.
For class packages, schedules and more information about the instructors, visit CrescentCityAerialarts.com.