When it comes to living as a performer or working in arts industries, we have to learn to adapt and move with the times whilst still maintaining a strong connection with one another. In this post we will be discussing how the last year has impacted some of the artists that have performed in Jazz Before Christmas in the years gone by. Check out the links at the bottom of this post to get connected!
With 2021 now well under way, we at Aerial Art House are looking forward to the day when we can open our doors once again. We really miss hosting our classes and events, and seeing friendly faces each week to share in the joy of circus training. Following government safety guidelines, our usual Christmas fundraiser show, Jazz Before Christmas, sadly had to be cancelled. For the first time since 2017 our studio was silent in December, and we all missed seeing the centre transformed into a space of amazing artistry and magic. The capturing sounds of brilliant live music, the chance to see spectacular performances and watch awe-inspiring visual art filling the studio has made it a truly remarkable event for many years. It is an event that started with only eight artists performing, and has since grown year upon year to become a full-length show for both students and professionals. Aerial Art House’s founder Hania Chwiałkowska would like to thank everyone who has attended or performed in previous Jazz Before Christmas events and hopes that this year brings more opportunity to connect and keep creating. Hania and the team are not giving up and have been working on new projects behind the scenes. We look forward to sharing more circus art opportunities with you and continue to help the community improve their mental and physical health as soon as possible.
Our circus family is a global community spread across the world, brought together by a love of circus art and entertaining. Experienced performer Lauren Jamieson, who appeared on the Jazz Before Christmas stage in both 2018 and 2019, describes the last year as ‘an overwhelming emotional rollercoaster full of discovery’ and now finds herself unexpectedly living in New Zealand after travelling there pre-lockdown in March 2020. Despite this change in direction, Lauren continues to create and work within unusual styles of performance by getting involved in the New Zealand creative scene. Not only this but Lauren is still remotely running Scotland’s Sonder Circus alongside the company’s other co-founders back in the UK. Sonder Circus have ambitions to pave the way in showcasing art in this new world, and are currently developing their new show Cailleach. Even more excitingly, Lauren has recently begun to create and sell her own jewellery and is available for online lessons in straps and ropes.
Long time abstract juggler and performer Liam Wilson took to our stage in 2019 to showcase his talents and has found the last year to be a good time to appreciate his personal relationship with movement and juggling more closely. He tells us how he began only as a hobbyist ‘with no intention of becoming a performer’ which has helped him to realise that even without an audience, his passion has ‘a strong core which is not threatened by these difficult circumstances’. Time outside of the studio has given him time to improvise and explore new material to integrate into his solo performances.
Whilst solo work makes keeping up some types of practice easier, other types of performance acts have been seriously impacted. Acrobat and physical performer Daniel Samohvalov and his acrobatic partner Aimee, with whom he performed with back in 2019, have been unable to practice or perform a routine together with social distancing guidelines in place. Instead, Daniel’s attention has turned to new hobbies and a drive to help his friend Miriam Wolanski to save the future of live events and the careers of those affected by a lack of live performance, with the campaign #ResurrectLiveEvents, and encourages anyone interested in the cause to get involved.
Fitness is fundamental for performers and irregular gym usage has had its impact on professionals and students. A lack of regular training has meant a struggle to maintain strength and peak fitness, and this has been a problem faced by many performers. As Rosella Elphinstone points out, the performance industry relies on achieving success early on and a lack of opportunity to train or perform can make it feel like time has been ‘limited or wasted’ over the last year. Rosella, who has been performing for over ten years in many different skills, has had to adapt to training without access to a studio. A lack of shows allows for personal development, and an opportunity to develop a particular style and create new performances for when live performance is allowed once again.
Like so many of us, the challenge to maintain motivation and see a clear creative direction has led to performers taking a break from performing art. A current lack of live audience shows has led Robert Gallagher-Lyall to speak fondly of his previous experience of performing in the last two Jazz Before Christmas shows at the Aerial Art House studio, describing how the space ‘creates an amazingly warm and intimate’ environment. Usually a ‘dynamic, expressive and surprising’ performer of ball juggling and clown art, Bob has performed with a number of different troupes across Scotland including PyroCeltica. For now he has turned his talents from live audiences to digital ones through Cascade Juggling’s Instagram platform which posts sketches and collaborative video projects. Similarly, despite losing gigs and engagements in the last year, musician Chris Lyons has continued to make new content and release new music to online listeners. Proving that even in these circumstances, the show must go on!
Our director Hania sends out a heartfelt message to all the performers and students who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions. She says, ‘As a founder of AAH as well as mum, circus coach and performer I need to tell everyone not to lose hope and motivation. I know that it is not easy, but one day we will have the power to explain to our future audiences how we survived the lockdown on not just material level, but also emotional and physical levels. We artists have the power to get through it and we cannot give up because in the future the world will need art to heal from the effects of the pandemic. I truly want to help everyone, but I need to follow government guidelines. My personal message to all of you is to not give up, and to remind you that we will have another chance to play, climb and fly again. One day we will enjoy training and laughing together again!’
Online classes hosted by AAH instructors, including Hania and her daughter Kaya, are available for adults, parents and children. All classes can be booked here. Kaya, alongside her sister Luna, are also previous Jazz Before Christmas performers as well as Aerial Art House students and teaching assistants. They encourage younger performers and friends to not give up and keep training. Currently, Hania and Kaya are working on an acro-contortion act and look forward to sharing it with an audience.
If you have any queries for Aerial Art House please contact email@example.com or connect with us on Facebook or Instagram. If you’re interested in following up on any of the different performers, organisations or groups mentioned here, check out the links below.
Sonder Circus on Facebook
@sondercircus on Instagram
Lauren Jamieson Jewellery:
@laurenjamiesonjewellery on Instagram
Read more about it here
@theaerialangel on Instagram
@cascadejuggling on Instagram
@PyroCeltica on Instagram
@chrismusicplanet on Instagram
Following the latest government announcement (19th December) , we are sad to inform you that Aerial Art House as a non-essential business must close its premises until further notice. We are shocked about the sad news and we really hope this lockdown won’t last more than a month. Thanks to all of you who kept supporting us and attended classes and activities at Aerial Art House throughout this difficult time. For those of you who have booked kids classes for the January term, your payment will be on hold until classes can resume. We wish all of you a merry Christmas and a happy new year when it comes! Stay strong, stay safe!
The Aerial Art House Team
In this article we get the opportunity to sit down with one of Aerial Art House’s regulars, Amanda, to discuss the importance of maintaining physical and mental health and how circus art can help with feeling low.
It goes without saying that this year has been a test of endurance, patience and strength. We have all experienced some form of hardship and faced the difficulty of navigating through a changing world. Work and home life have been turned upside down, and it can appear as though normality is further away from us than ever before. It is easy to become lost in daily news, as well as conflicting opinions and attitudes. This year has shown us, more than ever before, the importance of building mental and physical strength in order to become resilient and continue on in the face of adversity. But it is not just during a global pandemic that this mentality is so important. In this modern world we are constantly faced with new challenges and changes, and to be able to find ways of handling the stress and strain of daily life is so vital to our individual well-being.
Aerial Art House continues to help the local community with their physical and mental health in Edinburgh. When Amanda first came to the city from her hometown in Illinois, she found herself in a totally new environment and drastically different culture. Just as with many other university students like her, adapting to a new routine was difficult and making connections was a tricky process. In talking about her experiences from this time Amanda describes how during her first semester of study she was ‘restless and anxious’ as she tried to figure out her new life, ‘It became clear that I needed something to take my mind off being in my room, where I was doing nothing,’ she says. It is a familiar story to us all now, but back then this did not feel like the norm. Amanda, who suffers from ADHD and anxiety and depression, decided to take the leap and find herself a new hobby, which she hoped would bring some distraction from her worries and studies. Her objectives were simple: to get in shape and to get stronger.
Amanda, like many of us who find the conventional gym environment to be intimidating or uninviting, was interested in seeking out an opportunity to do something a bit different, community-based and fun. She describes how she came across Aerial Art House online, ‘I was researching alternative ways of working out and I came across a YouTube video that showcased aerial arts. I thought that it looked interesting and Googled “aerial arts in Edinburgh” and Aerial Art House popped up.’ The rest is history.
Edinburgh’s Aerial Art House is just one of a global network of organisations that provide circus-based workshops in order to improve on people’s physical and mental health. Research shows that participating in these classes improves patience, self-confidence and encourages socialising. These qualities all lead to an improved mental state, and make us far more likely to be able to handle new challenges and difficulties. This is particularly true in children and young people, with an American survey uncovering that children who partook in circus classes for six months demonstrated significant improvements in ‘stress relief; self-esteem; confidence; and socialisation’.1 When Amanda first began classes at Aerial Art House, she felt defeated by her lack of strength, ‘At first, I actually couldn’t do it at all, because I was so weak’, but with the encouragement of Hania Chwialkowska, the Director and Founder of Aerial Art House, she began to fall in love with circus and all it had to offer. Over time Amanda began to feel strong, powerful and in the best shape of her life.
Classes begin with stretching and friendly chit-chat, with all of the members of the group catching up with one another again. This then leads into conditioning, giving attendees time to go through exercises to improve their flexibility and build muscle. After this, the real fun begins with the mats and apparatus being brought out for the group to practice and learn skills. Amanda describes the environment of each class as very supportive, ‘We cheer each other on all the time, if one person is trying a new move we will stop and encourage them. It’s very uplifting to know that people actually care, and it helps to build confidence because it shows that even if I do fail, it’s okay as the class won’t think of me differently. They will still be there to support me.’ This newfound confidence extended outside of the studio and into Amanda’s daily life, as through these classes she found a friendship base with whom she could socialize with. In her own words, ‘It’s nice knowing that you have someone to talk to, someone that you have a real connection with and that shares the same interests as you, and so have the same vibe. As I came to Edinburgh from a different country, that has been really important to find.’ Each class is made up of people from all ages and abilities, with everyone being very invested and enthusiastic in circus art. ‘It really makes me happy and you can tell that it really does something for the attendees. It puts so much value into people’s lives’.
The introduction of lockdown restrictions across Scotland has temporarily halted the classes that Aerial Art House are able to provide. In this new and unfamiliar way of life Amanda, and many others like her, have gained a new perspective. They have come to realise the importance of social interaction and regular exercise, and look forward to reconnecting in the studio once again. Amanda reflects on her experience of lockdown, ‘Spending too much time alone leads to me getting inside my own head, if I am around people who are uplifting me at the art house then it helps a lot.’ In simply seeking out a new hobby, Amanda ended up discovering her own talent and a community she can rely on.
For Amanda the evidence is obvious, ‘If you look at a person when they walk into the Art House studio and you look at the same person when they walk out, there’s a clear difference. That really inspires me, because the classes are doing so much good for people.’ Amanda’s advice for someone who has never tried aerial or circus classes before is to just give it a go. ‘If you stick with it and work for it, you will be able to do so many incredible things and be so proud of yourself. Don’t be disheartened. I never thought I could do all the things the professionals do but the more I have worked towards it, the less it feels like work and the more fun I’ve had.’ When asked to sum up Aerial Art House in one word, Amanda chooses: Magical.
If you are interested in taking part in one of Aerial Art House’s classes please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook or Instagram.
Aerial Art House will suspend all group classes for adults until further notice. Kids classes and training sessions will continue as usual, as well as studio hire (when this is not used for group classes for adults). Private aerial classes are available. Please email email@example.com
Thanks for your patience and fingers crossed for a brighter future!
The Aerial Art House Team
Following yesterday’s announcement (7th October 2020), Aerial Art House will suspend all group classes for adults from the 9th of October until the 25th of October 2020. Kids classes and training sessions will continue as normal as well as studio hire (when this is not used for group classes for adults). If you have already paid for classes/courses that take place before the 25th your bookings will be shifted for when the same classes/courses can resume (unless asked otherwise). We will be offering online strenght and flex and flexibility for these two weeks and set open training sessions (for a max of 4 people per hour) which can be booked through our calendar on Team Up.
Thanks for your attention.
The Aerial Art House Team
REQUIREMENTS DURING PHASE 3
• Waiver must be signed for entry (Available on Team Up when signing up for any class)
• Masks must be worn when entering and leaving the venue
• Social distancing required
• Cleaning and disinfecting equipment after use
• Professionals are advised to use their own equipment if possible or use Aerial Art House equipment for additional charge (after the disinfection AAH equipment need to be quarantined for a minimum of 3 days)
• Physical contact is allowed within training bubbles
• New ventilation has been installed
• More time in between classes to allow for cleaning and disinfection
• Class sizes will be reduced
• Floor marks need to be strictly followed for entering and exiting the building as well as for use of the toilet
• All persons must have a normal temperature and no symptoms of COVID-19
• Hands need to be washed and disinfected when entering and leaving the building
• The kitchen is not for use in this phase
Aerial Art House has officially launched registration for the “Reconnecting Families” activities. The project, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, will take place from 29th August to 21st November in the Restalrig area, at Aerial Art House (respecting the social distancing measures), or online/outdoor if the restrictions won’t be eased.
During the COVID-19 pandemic crisis families with young children at home and parents-to-be are struggling more than ever due to increased stress and reduced support.
The “Reconnecting Families” project aims to protect those people’s mental health and wellbeing by encouraging post-lockdown community bonding and exercise.
“We believe that circus can help our neighbourhood come out strong from this crises” said Emanuela Orti, Company Director at Aerial Art House.
“We want people to experience the joy of circus and the magic of being together,” added Hania Chwialkowska, Founder and Director at Aerial Art House.
Local families will be able to attend free of charge:
• Community support sessions
• Circus-based fitness classes for kids
• Family entertainment
100 activity packages will be distributed to local who won’t be able to take part in the activities for any reason.
Midwife advice sessions will follow pregnant women and new mums aerial yoga sessions to provide support and help families strengthen social connections in their neighbourhood.
Circus classes of various types will keep the kids active and entertained, to benefit their physical and mental health. Family entertainment will improve people’s mood during this difficult time.
Book here: https://aerial-art-house.class4kids.co.uk/ or here for pregnancy sessions: https://goteamup.com/p/2618907-aerial-art-house/
Hello wonderful people! According to the Government guidelines professional sports can resume in Scotland during Phase 2. If you are a professional and would like to train at AAH please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your favourite slot. We are now accepting bookings via e-mail only.
Aerial Art House aims to reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus to the best of its abilities while maintaining some level of operation that allows for circus activities. Individuals who enter our Circus Centre must understand and agree to the risks associated with the spread of the virus, acknowledging that Aerial Art House cannot eliminate all risk. Therefore, only persons who have accepted this risk by signing a liability waiver will be permitted entry to the Centre.
We will e-mail you the above mentioned waiver when you book a training slot.
Other requirements are:
We look forward to seeing you at AERIAL ART HOUSE soon!
NEW ONLINE CLASSES FOR ADULTS
We are proud to announce our new online classes will be starting on Monday, 20th April on Zoom, and can be accessed from your TeamUp account! If you do not have an account yet, you can create it here. If you do have it, you can book your class here!
Conditioning with Hania
Monday at 6.30 pm
Hand balancing with Daniel
Tuesday at 6.30 pm
AcroYoga with Ritti
Wednesday at 6 pm (from 6th of May)
Handstand with Zinnia
Thursday at 6.30 pm
Aerial Fitness (for hammock owners) with Hania
Friday at 7.30 pm
NEW ONLINE CLASSES FOR KIDS AND FAMILIES
We are starting just some of the online kids classes on Monday, 20th April, but we will soon add some more! You can access all classes from your TeamUp account! If you do not have it yet, please sign up here!
Contortion with Kaya (kids class)
Monday at 12.30 pm
Hula Hoop with Sarah (kids class)
Thursday at 11 am
Acro-balance with Hania and Kaya (kids and parents class)
Saturday at 12 pm
DROP-IN AND MEMBERSHIP PRICES
DROP-IN PRICE FOR ALL ONLINE CLASSES FOR ADULTS - £7
ONLINE CLASSES FOR ADULTS MEMBERSHIP - £25
It renews every month and gives you access to 4 online classes for adults of your choice.
ONLINE CLASSES FOR KIDS AND PARENTS - By donation!
This membership is suitable for those who were attending kids classes at AAH before the COVID-19 pandemic, and for those who are not familiar with our centre yet. We know this is a challenging time and we want to provide free classes for kids and their parents. If you are financially stable and want to help our centre survive to this crisis you can make a donation here and sign up for this free membership!
HELPING THE VULNERABLE
This membership is suitable for those who cannot afford to pay for a £25 membership but would love to join our classes. As a community interest company, we want to support the most vulnerable people and help them stay positive and active at this difficult time. Please, if you are financially stable and you can help our centre survive to this crisis buy the "Online classes for adults" membership instead. If not, you are more than welcome to leave a donation (just if you can) here and sign up to this free membership! Welcome on board!