Nov 17 2011

Women Circus Artists from the Past

Pinterest is getting loads of attention because it’s just so darn beautiful. I recently created a board Women Circus Artists from the Past and thought I’d post those images here for you to check out.

Nov 14 2011

New Corde Lisse Photos

We just held a grand opening for Sky Candy’s new aerial studio last weekend and Ryan took some fantastic photos of the teachers and students. I’ll share more of his photos once they are edited, but here are a few sneak peeks of my photos on the rope. I’m really happy with them.

I went to London last month – my first time back in a year – and was thrilled to get to take a rope class and some private lessons with my rope teacher. It was so rewarding and satisfying to hear her say how much I’ve improved over the last year – that I’m at a different level than when I left.  Since there are no rope teachers in Austin, apart from what we do at Sky Candy, this was incredible validation that we’re doing something right:-)

Nov 13 2011

New Site Redesign Coming Soon

Hi everyone,
I am in the midst of redesigning Aerial Amelie to provide better-organized information and multimedia.

Here are the sections I’m planning to include. I would love to get your input to make this site as fun and relevant as possible for all the aerial hobbyists out there:

General posts (training tips, updates on my training, etc.)
Multimedia of the Week (inspring photos & videos)
Reviews (performances, books, videos, etc.)
Resources (cool, useful stuff for your aerial training)

What else would you like to see?

Nov 8 2011

Private Acts: The Acrobat Sublime

This is sure to be the perfect holiday gift for the aerialist in your life. Harriet Heyman is a true inspiration. She found the aerial arts later in life and took her journalistic abilities, mashed them up with her love of the circus and created this beautiful photo book, Private Acts: The Acrobat Sublime together with photographer Acey Harper.

Private Acts: The Acrobat Sublime is a multimedia project embracing photographsessays, and video that looks at acrobats and the acrobatic arts in an entirely new way.

Visit for more information.


Oct 13 2011

Sky Candy Receives Austin Chronicle Critics Pick!

This is just too exciting for words.  Sky Candy just received the Austin Chronicle’s Critics Pick for Best Circus Arts Revivalists! Now I’m not asking how many other organizations were in this category. But it’s clear that between the success of the Red Shoes and the growing popularity of our classes, we’ve struck a chord with the critics.

May 21 2011

How I Got Back into Shape

Several of you wanted to know more about how I conditioned to get back into aerial shape after I was out on medical leave for 3 months as well as how long it took me to get back.

In my situation – everyone is different and it really depends on the injury or reason for being away – I got back to my peak strength in about 8 weeks. It felt like forever.

In all, I had gained about 7 pounds and lost all of my pull-ups before I started training again. Serious depression.

Generally, here’s what I did:

Weeks 1 – 2 (early March):

  • Got a new pull-up bar at home (my old one didn’t fit the doorframes) and did as many negative pull-ups as I could – every single day. Here’s a good tutorial – but do them with an overhand grip:

  • I also started doing yoga postures and stretching at home about 3x/week.
  • About mid-week, Ryan spotted me on proper pull-ups – trying to go for 5 assisted.
  • Get up on your apparatus, but TAKE IT EASY. I pushed myself far too hard the first two weeks, resulting in two torn muscles – one in my shoulder and one in my hamstring.  Not fun. Just have a play on it the first few times and don’t set ANY expectations for yourself. Treat it like it’s the first time you’ve ever been on the apparatus (yeah, right, you must be thinking. Easier said than done.)
  • Do some climbs on the rope or silk. Every aerialist should be able to do a basic climb.  If you had strong climbs before, this should be pretty easy to master again.
  • These first two weeks sucked because it felt like I wasn’t making any progress. Still couldn’t do a single pull up by mid March.
  • I could not invert on the rope during this time either.

Week 3:

  • Started training harder on the rope in preparation for the Red Shoes performance – about 3/week for an hour – 1.5 hours each time. I would do a lot of climbing, hip locks, universal straddles to invert. I also had a lot of pressure to start choreographing my routine so I had to gamble on what I would be capable of the first weekend in May. So I started doing basic sequences that I felt comfortable before the medical leave. They were not pretty, but it’s a great way to build your confidence.
  • Ryan continued to spot me each day on pull-ups – I would do 5 assisted.  This is the week I was able to do a single, unassisted pull-up. Hooray.
  • I could do one very sad inversion this week.

Week 4:

  • This was an exciting week. I jumped to being able to do 2.5 pull ups by the end of the week.
  • I could do a strong inversion (diamond legs not straight legs)
  • I continued to struggle through chroreographing my routine with tons of trial and error.
  • My stamina was terrible. I was huffing and puffing the whole way through.

Weeks 5 – 7:

  • This was a critical phase in building strength, flexibility and confidence.
  • I trained 4 – 5/week, depending on our rehearsal schedules.
  • I gained about 1 new pull-up/week.
  • I could invert easily.
  • My routine was coming together and I finally finalized the choreography and just spent the last two weeks perfecting.
  • My stamina slowly improved, but I continued to huff and puff by the end. I couldn’t make it through the whole routine weeks 5 and 6.

Week 8 (first week of May):

  • Tech and dress rehearsal week – we really only had Tuesday and Wednesday to do our runs for the performances that started on Friday.  Fortunately, I felt pretty good about the routine and had loads of confidence in my strength
  • I matched my pull-up personal best – 5!
  • I had lost the 7 pounds I previously gained.
  • I can do straight arm/straight leg inversions – better than I did before the break.

So there you go. It’s mainly about the pull-ups and just getting back up there. There’s no magic bullet apart from pacing yourself, consistency and perseverance.

May 21 2011

The Red Shoes

What a spring! The last few months have been full-on preparation for Sky Candy’s first-ever production, The Red Shoes. Sky Candy co-founder Chelsea Lauman directed the show for FOUR sold-out audiences the first weekend of May. Aaaaaand, we made a profit!

We couldn’t have done it without the support of our community through our Kickstarter fundraiser in January in which we raised $7500 to buy new equipment, insurance and cover the costs of our show.

I cannot believe how lucky I am to be a part of another amazing cast and crew within a year of Madame Pain’s Boudoir Circus. In all honesty, I really thought the opportunity to perform in a full-scale production was nil when I moved back to Austin. But am blown away at Chelsea’s vision and the dedication of our little Sky Candy team. We’re looking to do another run before the end of August, which is super exciting.

And in other amazing news, Sky Candy recently sold MORE THAN 1000 CLASSES through a LivingSocial deal last week. There will be lots of Austinites dangling upside down over the next few months.

Here’s a video of the performance:

Paris is Burning from The Red Shoes, Presented by Sky Candy


Above are some photos by Ryan of my aerial rope. For the full gallery, check out Ryan’s SmugMug page.

Mar 26 2011

Cool Circus Resources

I’ve been doing some research on Sky Candy’s business plan and have stumbled on some really interesting resources online about the circus and aerial arts I thought you might be interested in reading about. This is, assuming, you have a tendency to geek out about circus things like I do.

With the anticipated film Water for Elephants – based on the book by Sara Gruen - coming out next month, I suspect there will be heightened interest in reading more about the history of circus – particularly in America.

As an aside – I’m so disappointed that the Twilight dude was cast as Jacob, but hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

The Circus in America: 1793 – 1940 is a fascinating look at the rise in popularity of the circus, and how it was introduced in the U.S.  It also lists the major circuses of the era and the role animals played.

Moving into modern times, I just discovered Sideshow Circus Magazine, which features contemporary circus performance listings and reviews with a big emphasis on aerial. While it’s heavily focused on European troupes, it’s fun to read the profiles.

Aaaaand, finally, here’s a great story in Inc. Magazine last month on the trend of small circuses giving performers the platform to create new business ventures. Super timely given our work with Sky Candy.


Mar 22 2011

Update About Sky Candy Austin

Exciting news, everyone! I have the privilege of becoming a co-owner of Sky Candy Austin, the only aerial arts collective in Austin that offers a broad range of aerial apparatuses and performance opportunities for students. We just raised $7,500 in start-up money thanks to everyone who believes in what we are bringing to Austin.  This money is going towards new equipment, insurance and – most excitingly — a new, permanent home in East Austin. Stay tuned for an update on the new space where we will offer loads more classes.

On a personal level, the last few months have been quite tumultuous and challenging as I grappled with relocating back to the US as well as dealt with some crappy medical issues.  Both caused me to be out of training, teaching and performing for more than 3 months.

It’s felt so good to get back into training.  I also have been filling in on teaching beginning trapeze and I adore teaching. My students are frickin’ amazing. And I’m also gearing up for my first rope performance in Sky Candy’s upcoming production of The Red Shoes (mark your calendars for May 6 – 8!).

It’s also been infuriating, frustrating and humbling getting back into shape.  While I was out, I gained about 5 pounds and lost nearly all my strength. I couldn’t do a single pull up. Not. A. One. And I also couldn’t invert on the rope.

After 4 weeks of somewhat steady training, I can do 1.5 pull ups (yay) and my inversions are slowly coming back.  Unfortunately, I pushed myself too hard and managed to tear a deltoid, pull a hamstring and gouge out part of my middle finger (the part that gets trapped when all your weight is in your grip) so that’s slowed me down. Grumble.

If anyone is interested on tips to get back in aerial shape after being out for several months, I’m thinking of doing a post or video on that since I’m livin’ that dream right now.

I’m recommitting to maintaining my blog more frequently now that life is settling into a more predictable routine.

Dec 3 2010

Update on Life in Austin

It’s been far too long since I last updated because so much has happened. Ryan and I relocated to Austin from London about 3 weeks ago and it’s been non-stop activity since we arrived.

An amazing opportunity popped up the week I arrived with Sky Candy, an aerial artist collective here in Austin. They invited me to join the group AND perform in the East Austin Studio tour! I managed to pull together a very basic piece — read VERY basic — and took absolutely zero risks with it because I only had 1 hour to rehearse a routine I put together in my head on a new trapeze bar with no mats. Here’s the routine:

I look forward to teaching static trapeze and corde lisse lessons with Sky Candy soon but am DESPERATE for indoor training space that gives me the flexibility to train whenever I need. So I’m investigating warehouse space now and crossing fingers something turns up soon because I may get to perform at Auditorium Shores on New Year’s Eve and would love to do a rope piece.

By the way, here are some of the new tricks I was learning as I left London and hope to build these into my NYE routine:

Death roll:

Drop to mermaid:

I miss London so much but am so happy to be back home.

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