Strength. Grace. Athletic improvement. Fun. All these characteristics belong to a skill set known as aerial silks. With roots in circus tradition, this performing arts activity involves a long fabric, known as a silk, that hangs from the ceiling and is used to perform acrobatic moves.
Joscelyne Gonzalez, Daktronics product developer, is an instructor of aerial silks in Brookings, South Dakota.
“I have been practicing aerial silks for five years and have now been teaching for two years,” Gonzalez explained. “I am certified as an aerial silks instructor through the Circus Art Institute in Atlanta, Georgia.”
Gonzalez continued, “Aerial silks has been in Brookings for a year as of June 2019; we practice in the Crossfit Gym on South Main Street. We currently hold regular classes three times a week and have an introductory class twice a month for those who would like to give it a try for the first time.”
Gonzalez shared why she loves teaching aerial silks.
“There is a huge sense of community and family within our group,” she explained. “Everyone is welcoming, encouraging, and understanding. It is a great sense of excitement and delight when a student is able to accomplish their aerial goals. Our students are so dedicated and hardworking, it is incredibly rewarding to be a small part of their journey and practice.”
Kaira Dempsey, Daktronics project management, one of Gonzalez’s students, shares her experience with the activity.
“I completed the required intro class in December and started in the next session offered in January,” Dempsey said. “I have been attending classes since, and when able I do attend the offered open gyms to continue practicing movements and conditioning to gain strength. This program has definitely helped me gain body awareness and increase my strength and flexibility. It has taught me so many things about what I can do.”
Dempsey added her own memories from attending the classes.
“Each class we learn something new and as we progress, we gain strength and the ability to learn more difficult poses and movements,” she described. “This activity has been so much fun. I think one of the best things about this organization is how each participant cheers on the others during difficult moves. It’s so great to have such an amazing support group to participate with.”
Aerial silks is an exciting and unique way to develop strength and flexibility. The classes run in six-week sessions with a one-hour class per week. In each class, students work on learning and developing static poses, dynamic moves or sequences, and exciting drops. All ages, sizes, and fitness levels can participate in aerial silks.
Gonzalez and Dempsey used their corporate sponsorships to purchase new equipment. Regular equipment checks are conducted on the rigging, silks, and safety mats, but due to regular wear and tear, equipment must be replaced yearly.
This article is by Erin Smith
in Employee Communications.