When we walked into the Aerial Arts Academy, on the second floor of the Pizza Boys Maraval compound, I wasn’t sure exactly what we signed ourselves up for. Hanging from the ceiling were six brightly-coloured silk loops, and thickly-padded mats covered the floor. Knowing my own skills and coordination—or lack thereof—to say I was nervous would be an understatement.
But, for all my fears, instructor and owner Hope Armstrong was there to squash them. The young lady who stood in front of us was patient, kind, understanding and overall an incredible teacher, watching and assisting as we attempted the multiple moves throughout the hour-long session. While Simone (the MACO Caribbean Living editor-in-chief) and I laughed so hard at our failed attempts, Armstrong encouraged us to keep going, never so much as making us feel that we should have gotten it down by now, even during the simplest of moves.
It’s no wonder she’s a natural with the kids’ classes. Aerial Arts Academy specializes in children’s aerial silks classes, offering an after-school program that runs right through the school year, and summer camps to allow children to try their hand at a fun and exciting way to stay fit and keep moving.
For the Bajan-Trini transplant, the Aerial Arts Academy was her lifelong dream, combining her love of aerial silks, fitness and children all in one. Having taught silks in Barbados for years, it was only after Armstrong had a child of her own that she decided to move back home to Trinidad and set up shop here. After pointing out this exact space for years as the perfect spot for an aerial silks studio, fate, time and luck were on her side, and an opening presented itself around the same time as her move. Only a few months later, and the academy is open, thriving and growing by the minute.
While we didn’t leave the studio professional by any means, both Simone and I surprised ourselves with our abilities. We can chalk it up to beginner’s luck, or call it what it is and credit Armstrong for her dedication to teaching the proper technique in a fun and friendly way, never once laughing at me (though admittedly, giggling alongside me) when I fell off the silks and butt-planted too many times to count.
But what we discovered was beyond just an up-and-coming workout trend or a try-it-while-there’s-space fitness studio. We learned to trust our bodies’ potential. We remembered to laugh a little (or a lot) at ourselves and to not take ourselves too seriously. We noticed that fitness is way more than just lifting weights in a gym—as evidenced by our sore abs and arms for the week following. We met a passionate young woman, ready to teach Trinidad and Tobago just how much fun aerial silks can be. And we lived to tell the tale.
You can try aerial silks for yourself at the Aerial Arts Academy.