Take Flight takes off

Aerial acrobatics group to start teaching classes in February

  • Sara Shyiak

Roll up! Roll up! Take Flight, a new cirque-style aerial acrobatics group, has just started in Winnipeg.

The seven-person ensemble - which incorporates aerial silk, aerial hoop, floor acrobatics and dance - plans to strut their stuff for the public very soon, but first the group will teach beginner aerial acrobatics classes, starting Saturday, Feb. 2 at Fantastic Gymnastics.

Take Flight member Sara Shyiak says each of its members brings something different to the table in terms of strength, flexibility, choreography, creativity and experience.

“A lot of the members are ex-gymnasts so they are really strong and they have great technique,” says Shyiak, 21, who has nine years of aerial acrobatics experience, prior to which she was involved in rhythmic gymnastics.

It’s not like gymnastics where you just pull out one skill and you’re done. It’s about the music, it’s about the way you’re interacting with the performers and it’s about the transitions.

Sara Shyiak, aerial acrobat, Take Flight

“I would say I bring a bit more flexibility to the table because of my rhythmic background but everyone has a different take on it. That’s what’s so exciting about aerial, that there are different ways you can do it. It’s not like gymnastics where you just pull out one skill and you’re done. It’s about the music, it’s about the way you’re interacting with the performers and it’s about the transitions.”

Speaking of just that, Take Flight member Alex Di Curzio says aerial acrobatics is a natural transition from competitive gymnastics.

“It’s the same skills as gymnastics but on different types of apparatus and it involves music and dance. It’s more fun and less competitive,” says Di Curzio, 21, who, along with Shyiak, is joined in Take Flight by Sydney Kussin, Nicole Kussin, Jordan Dock, Natalia D’abramo and Megan DaSilva.

“I did well (as a competitive gymnast) but then you hit a certain age where you don’t want to commit your entire life to gymnastics. I wanted to branch out to something else that was less time consuming.”

Does that mean you have to be a former gymnast to do aerial acrobatics?

Shyiak says no.

“It’s for all genders and all skill levels,” Shyiak says. “People think it’s really daunting because you see the Cirque du Soleil people so high up in the air or you see us doing triple barrel rolls all over the place, but everybody starts somewhere. You start small, you start on the floor.

“I knew a woman that was 60 years old with arthritis that started doing aerial and her arthritis actually improved.

“Anybody can do it. If you can move, you can do it.”

To inquire about Take Flight’s aerial acrobatics classes, contact Fantastic Gymnastics at 204-231-1007 or fantasticgym@mts.net.

Published in Volume 67, Number 18 of The Uniter (January 30, 2013)

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