Her red tinted curls defy gravity, as Jamie poses elegantly upside down. Effortlessly she moves into a different position on the suspended hoop.
This circus act is not something you would expect of someone who works as an administrator in a HGV workshop. But by night, Jamie Young is an aerialist, performing routines on the aerial hoop, the cube and the tippy hoop.
“Aerial hoop is also known as Lyra,” she explains, “and is best described as a steel hoop suspended from the ceiling, on which you perform beautiful but often uncomfortable moves on. Imagine pole dancing but in a hoop.”
For Jamie, there are two sorts of aerial arts. She says the first type is when you perform a flawless routine as a result of “months of hard-work, tiredness and lots of eating”. The second type, she explains is when you’re practicing with fellow aerialists and that “includes your friends putting your leg in the correct place because you are upside down and can’t tell left from right”.
We both laugh at this image, but it sounds like a lot of fun.
Lyra isn’t the only form of aerial performing, as Jamie explains. There is also the Tippy Hoop.
She said: “It is very similar, in that it’s performed on a hoop. But, instead of being vertical like a normal hoop, it’s suspended horizontally.
“It’s much more difficult than normal Lyra, as you have to consider what position you are sitting in comparison to the hoop and which way it’ll tip if you perform a certain move.”
She goes on to explain another piece of apparatus: “Aerial cube is also similar to Lyra, except it’s cube shaped! It offers more options in regards to moves and room to perform double acts.”
Jamie has performed on all three types, with her favourite move being the Back Balance on the Lyra.
It appears Jamie likes to keep her feet of the ground, as she also has an interest in indoor sky diving, although she doesn’t like the idea of jumping out of a plane anytime soon. She became involved in aerial arts after she tried to keep fit by going to gym, but didn’t enjoy it. Then with a little bit of help from Google, she found out about an aerial performance studio in her local area.
As she explains: “I have tried doing the gym thing, and I have tried hard to like it. Just to go to a gym, do my own thing and come out feeling like I have achieved something. However, that’s not the case.”
So, she decided to try something else.
“I’ve always been interested in circus performances, and couldn’t put my finger on what this performance was called and so was always googling ‘hula hoop’ or ‘hula hoop in air’ – I know, not very imaginative – but finally found out what it was called. So, faithful Google told me that there was a studio in my home town that provided the opportunity.
“I mentioned it to a friend who was already involved in that type of performance and she was up for it!”
Remembering her first lesson with fondness, Jamie still enjoys going to her Hoop and Cube classes. She describes that her enjoyment comes from the fact that you can achieve so much from going to just a single class.
“I can nail a move, improve my fitness and stamina and have a laugh with people from all walks of life, all in one hour. It’s also something different to do, which makes it more interesting and gets me out of my seat.”
As well as the fun classes, Jamie has made some really good friends through aerial art and has been given the opportunity to perform in front of an audience, “which is for the first time in decades,” she says. It has also improved her mobility on a daily basis, as the moves require flexibility and have made Jamie stronger.
So, would she recommend it to others?
“YES! For all the reasons I’ve mentioned!
“You don’t have to be some magical unicorn in regards to your height, fitness, weight or hair colour. There will always be loads of support, someone there to curse the apparatus when it just isn’t working with you that one time – I’ve blamed the hoop plenty of times!
“If you’re too self-conscious to go to the gym or think it’s boring, this is for you. There will not be one boring lesson.”
And what has Jamie got coming up?
“I am currently choreographing a performance for a showcase at Bliss, but ticket availability hasn’t been announced yet. Keep an eye on the website for tickets, as there are limited numbers and go fast!
“I’m taking part in a number of other showcases too, but none have been announced just yet as they tend to take place at the end of the year. However, keep an eye on the Flight Fitness website as announcements will be made there of any events taking place.”
If you are interested in joining an aerial performance group, then Jamie has some advice.
Or check out Flight Fitness to contact them.
Fun Facts about Jamie:
- I have an interest in classic cars, which helps when my taller half talks to me about his various cars.
- My partner and I have a Volkswagen campervan, which we enjoy taking out on camping trips down South.
- I have a massive guilty pleasure- The Eurovision Song Contest.
Written by Laura Polkinghorne
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