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Nicola's Journey - Musicality, grace and finding a new passion for fitness with aerial hoop

This blog was written by one of our Altitude Aerials members, Nicola 💙

Dancing and music have always been a big part of who I am, and being a typical wee girl I was straight into ballet at age 5...

As I grew up, my friends all dropped out, but I loved it so I stuck with it, and worked my way up to sit the first of my first professional level exams in my mid-teens. However, by this point ballet had become extremely competitive and demanding and I wasn’t having fun anymore, so I quit.

After breaking from ballet, I tried my hand at many other forms of dance over the years, but nothing really held my interest for very long. I met and married my hubby in my early twenties and I had my two little boys just before I turned 30, which has kept me very busy, as you can imagine! But when my youngest turned 3, I decided it was time to return to some form of fitness. At that time, I happened to see an Instagram post of a friend who had been to a hen's party hosted at an aerial studio. The idea of transferring my dance skills into something more acrobatic had never occurred to me, and I was excited about the idea of giving it a go.

I tried silks first, mesmerised by the idea that I could learn how to dangle elegantly from the silky strands. But despite the flexibility and pointed toes feeling very familiar, I quickly learned just how much mental and physical strength was required!

I liked it a lot, but the silks seemed to have a mind of their own! I was ambitious and impatient and I often got myself tangled in knots! Then one day I happened to spy a girl practising on an aerial hoop in the studio just before my silks class and I somehow immediately knew that was the apparatus for me. After my first hoop class, I was hooked - it felt more natural to me and my body understood how to move in and around a solid object much better than the silks.

I love hoop so much! To me, it feels like the perfect marriage of musicality, grace, acrobatics, flexibility and strength. I absolutely love the feeling of defying gravity and the thrill of spinning upside down - there's really nothing quite like it and it's amazing stress relief! I’ve been learning for nearly a year and even though I’ve been able to progress through the levels quickly, I still feel like a newbie!

I still have soooo much to learn and there’s a lot of flexibility and strength still to gain...but I’m really loving the challenge.

One of the most valuable things training in aerials has given me is the ability to ‘unsee’ my bodily imperfections. Those lumps and bumps, the size of my thighs, my mum tum…when I watch myself back on video training on the hoop, I literally don’t even see that stuff anymore! Instead, I look at my body with so much pride, constantly amazed at how strong it's becoming and how beautiful it looks on the hoop…less focused on its imperfect shape and instead in awe of the incredible things it can now DO!

Altitude has been such an awesome place to learn, the instructors are so fun and every single one of the students is so positive and encouraging! I love being in the studio and miss it when I am away! Honestly, if I could train every day I would (I’m completely addicted!), but my family commitments mean I usually only get into the studio a couple of times a week.

In some ways wish I had found the aerial arts earlier in life, but I love and appreciate the journey I’m on now and plan to continue training in this wonderful art form as long as my body will let me.

Keen to try aerial hoop at Altitude yourself? Click the button below and enter your details on the form! 👇👇

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