At least once in every kid’s life, they hold a glimmer of hope that someday they’ll run away and join the circus. Sky Candy Aerial & Circus Arts offers Austinites the next best thing at their east-end training and performance studio.
Located at 507 Calles #117, this all-inclusive aerial arts school was set up by Winnie Hsia, Andy Agne, Chelsea Laumen and Amy Hayes. They welcome all ages and levels of performers, and everyone eager to learn. For some, it’s a recreational activity. For others, Sky Candy is a training facility that will springboard them to the next level of their circus and aerial arts professional career.
Just Another Day With Your Head in the Clouds
The Sky Candy studio is lined with brightly colored mats and it exudes an energy that is recreated at the start of each and every class. Students are filled with a tangible joy that is expressed through their chatter and laughter as they gather together to prepare for their thoroughly interactive lesson.
At Sky Candy, you have to leave your inhibition at the door with your shoes. As quickly as your toes sprawl out on the mats below, your senses are heightened as you take in the various aerial apparatus hanging invitingly from the ceiling.
Studio Director Joanna Wright spends her days ensuring that students are identifying and meeting their personal goals. Wright joined Sky Candy in 2011, bringing along her interest and expertise in aerial silks, as well as stage management. She shared with me her take on how the balance between fitness training and performance coexists in an aerial arts studio. “The folks who get hooked on aerials tend to have an interest in performing and/or practicing a difficult, at times painful, but ultimately beautiful art form.” If you’re looking for a fitness regimen that’s a bit outside the box, you can find it at Sky Candy.
How to Have Fun and Make Friends at Circus School
To get the most out of your Sky Candy experience, you should acknowledge the fact that the classes offered are so much more than circus school and hanging upside down.
During your time at the studio, you will learn everything from the history of your skill of choice, to air-sense, body control, strength training, balance, and – if you so choose – you can learn how to apply stage makeup.
These activities are challenging for the body and mind. You spend a great deal of time upside down, hanging and swinging from apparatus and getting a workout in, while having a great time. Feel like testing your aerial arts IQ? Find the right fit for you with Sky Candy’s vast class selection:
- Aerial Conditioning
- Trapeze Training
- Cardio Jump Rope
- Handstand Lab
- Theatrical Makeup and Wigs
- Hammock Training
- Juggling Jam
- Lyra Training
- Silks Training
Newbies settle into the studio quickly and easily, thanks to the immediate introductions and group warm-up which take place at the beginning of each class. Keeping in mind that they are dealing with many levels of strength and fitness, instructors remain in tune with each student and keep them focused on their natural athletic ability and performance skills, rather than how they look during training.
Although the trainers are very serious about the skills they’re teaching, the vibe is friendly, welcoming and relaxed for those participating. The teacher to student ratio allows for plenty of individual encouragement for participants and guidance on the practice of proper form and safety measures.
You Never Know Who You’ll Meet When You’re Flying High
Think of it as Six Degrees of Sky Candy. In an ironic twist, yesterday I was chatting up my awesome hair colorist, Robert, about the current story I was working on and and how cool I thought the concept was. Hardly two words came out of my mouth, “aerial arts,” before Robert excitedly inserted, “Sky Candy!” We spent the next twenty minutes or so talking about his first-hand experiences training in aerial and circus arts, and his time spent at the Sky Candy studio.
Our conversation reiterated the image that Wright had previously painted for me in regard to Sky Candy’s diverse clientele. Wright also shared the story of the success of the her most inspiring student and friend at the studio who has overcome a fear of heights, gained strength and has conquered everything she has put her mind to in the aerial arts studio.
Aerial arts classes are a unique means for anyone in the community to express themselves and get fit. Wright concluded our conversation with a few words of encouragement for those of you who think you might be up to the high flying challenge that awaits you. “We want our students to feel that they are in a positive, encouraging environment where they can work on conquering fears, gaining strength and flexibility, and generally becoming more badass and awesome.”
Now offering more than sixty classes each week and employing three full-time employees, twelve teachers and six assistants, Sky Candy supports a student base of hundreds. The studio has expanded from a free-standing rig in the yard of The Vortex, to their current facility. In the future, they will boast higher ceilings, while continuing to create charming works of aerial theatre. With classes priced at $120 for six weeks, it seems that anyone can swing from the rafters if they so choose. Did I mention that you should hang upside down?