What it Feel Like to Close a Studio

It’s been another year since my last blog. I used to write a lot of blogs. In fact, I’ve now written over 100 of them, but you may not be aware of that. I don’t write much anymore, so not sure who might read this. (You’ll have to let me know who you are. Feel free to drop me a line at info@aerialdancing.com and introduce yourself. I’m Rebekah Leach by the way.)

One of the reasons I haven’t written in so long is because I’m barely coherent these days. In all honesty, I am just plain exhausted.

The local studio I own is closing. Not because of Covid. Isn’t that so ironic? We made it through Covid with flying colors. We were able to survive fantastically through Covid, and even see growth. Then just when our comeback was supposed to really take off, we lost our lease.

And then, like that, we are done.

It may sound like a tragedy, and it feels like one too, but I also have a great deal of hope that I wanted to share in this blog so that you know not to feel too sad for us. At least, not for me.

The hardest thing about it all is the collective loss of what AerialWorks stood for in the local community, and that should be grieved in full. We were a place for unique art in a town that doesn’t really have a lot of it. Currently, there is no performing arts center, no adult dance classes besides Zumba, etc. The suicide rate in our suburban area is high. And AerialWorks was doing it’s part to change that. I knew the backstory of so many of our students. Adults who had been abused as children, and sadly, children who had suffered trauma.  Adults who suffered from self-hatred, shame, and just those needing to be social. Foster kids. Teens who suffered from chronic depression…until they found aerial. Aerial was therapy and medicine for a community that doesn’t offer a whole lot of alternative means of expression or adult social life. Our aerial sanctuary was medicine to the soul and this is what I grieve. The loss of that alternative therapy to the community. The loss of the collective energy, that wonderful adrenaline-rush every time we had a show. The smiles on people’s faces when they shared our moment of triumph in a piece. I will dearly miss that energy. And I am sure it will attract me enough to make a comeback one day. But not today.

I had my studio so long, I wasn’t even teaching anymore! I was only managing, which gave me all the anxiety with very little joy. I played studio manager and scheduled the classes, but wasn’t there to watch the excitement as students uncovered new skills, and my presence was heavily fading. You know you’ve hit rock-bottom (or great success– the two can be confusing) as a studio owner when none of the students at the studio know who you are. Thankfully, I was far from that point, but I could feel it’s pending grasp on my spirit.

One reason it’s been only 2 blogs in 2 years, is that I haven’t had anything to say except “I’m tired.” Covid wore me down thin. But Covid or not, studio owning is absolutely draining. I am ready to lay it down to be able to love the art form once again.

I grieve the loss of the community that emerged in a shared love around aerial here in my local town. But for me, you need not be sad. As a studio owner, there is a great deal of sacrifice required to run a space that gives and gives. There is a great deal of soul-depletion, and you must give up the art form enjoyed for oneself in order to give to your students. I wouldn’t take back any of these years, but I am so ready to embrace years of rest. I am ready to feed my soul with the art form that I have been feeding to others. I would love to imagine the possibility of creating for the pure joy of it again, the feeling of getting lost in the flow, and not worried about my next lesson plan or what I will teach or choreograph for my students or if it’ll look good in my next Instagram post. There is a time and place where I need to just be me with my art in order to me to find my voice to speak again. I anticipate my voice getting quieter before it gets louder. I’m overdue for some deep-dive soul-searching.

As I close the studio, and you may ask, “How can I help?” I have one request in particular: Please. Find the nearest studio owner and thank them. Thank them for all the money they have poured into the art form, for all the hours they spend managing and e-mailing and sacrificing their family time or their training time to do it all. They are likely doing everything they can to connect good aerial teachers to a solid student base to share the art form with their local communities. When students have a great time in class, they are likely to thank their teachers, but it is a rare and treasured student indeed who reaches beyond to thank the studio owner.

 

As “AerialWorks Castle Rock” closes, Rebekah is rebranding to “AerialWorks Community” which connects students globally and locally through virtual means for classes and performances. Check out the schedule online at www.aerialworksco.com. Interested in performing in virtual shows or connecting in other ways? Email aerialworksco@gmail.com. 

 

 

 

 

New Fabric Book (Vol 2) is Now Available for Pre-SALE!

Aerial Fabric Manual Vol2 COVER

The Aerial Fabric Manual Volume 2 is now available for sale!!

GO HERE TO PURCHASE

My previous books The Intermediate Aerial Fabric Instructional Manuals in Parts 1 & 2 are no longer in print and have been removed from virtual shelves everywhere. The two books have been condensed and combined into this massive textbook.

Last year, I published The Aerial Fabric Manual Volume 1, which was a remake of the previous Beginning Fabric Instructional Manual, which was originally published in 2009. Trust me, the new book is sooo much better! I have learned so much over this past decade and the new books reflect that. They show the progress and evolution of an aerial teacher who loves her craft!

Volume 2 (Level 2) picks up where Volume 1 (Level 1) left off. It starts with entries into crossback straddle, the pinnacle skill that is a milestone for a beginning Level 2 student. Then, the book ventures off into climbs that build of the foundational climbs. For example, at Level 1, students learn the basic climb and the Russian climb. In Level 2, they start to turn and twist and stuff-it and other sorts of variations on the foundational climbs. They also start working on inverted climbs such as single and double knee climbs, which are clearly Level 2 as they require strong inversions.

Next, the book covers what I call “double catcher’s” aka “crochet your legs and then add thigh wraps.” True to my heart, the book is heavy in theory and you’ll learn just why I call things certain names and how to approach them in ways that help students understand the wrap, not just how to do it. Students are encouraged to learn through critical thinking through the use of puzzles and questions scattered throughout the book.

There’s a miscellaneous chapter in the middle of the book to capture skills such as ankles hands and music box. Many of the skills in this chapter are fun ways to add splits into your routines as well. One skill I particularly like is “knee tangle.” There are some interesting pathways to study from knee tangle.

The book goes on to the most brainy chapter I’ve ever written in the “hip & thigh series.” You’ll find charts and webs and connections that will blow your mind. I included never-before-seen skills that I created to help teach the theory of connecting these skills. This is my favorite topic of the book!

Next are the classics of open and closed catcher’s wraps (opposite and same side wraps), as well as s-wraps. These help to lay the foundation for the final two skill chapters: introduction to belay theory and introduction to drops. Level 2 is when a student is introduced to their first of each drop category: their first slack drop, their first dive, their first roll, etc. The drop progression is very important and this book will help guide you through it.

The first and last chapters of the book includes drills on how to prepare the book for gaining strong inversions and other prerequisite strength. There are bonus transition charts, a summary skill page, and a glossary where you can look up important terms.

This book truly has it all! This is a must-have textbook for all teachers and students of aerial fabric.

Want to flip through some pages of this book?  Preview the inside here.

Remember to go here to purchase. And remember that members always save 10% on manual purchases, so make sure to log in before your purchase to snag a deal.

Would love to hear your feedback on the book once it arrives to your house! Please send your thoughts to info@aerialdancing.com. Thanks. 

IMG_4234

IMG_4232IMG_4235

Share the Video Library LOVE and Earn Affiliate Money!

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Update: We are extending this program through the month of MAY for anyone who didn’t yet receive a coupon code for April.

We would love to offer everyone who is supporting a studio ONE MONTH FREE ALL-ACCESS to our video library here at AerialDancing.com. And we want to do that through studio owners and teachers (so talk to your studio or aerial teacher and ask them for their affiliate code or send them to this blog to get started!).  If you are a studio owner or aerial teacher, please connect with us to partner up in supporting each other during this crazy time. Read below for details.

WHY do we want to do this?

Here at AerialDancing.com, our goal is to be the resource, NOT the teacher. Our material serves the community much like a textbook serves a college course. We provide over 1000 in our organized skill library, but our goal is not to teach these skills. We don’t call our videos “tutorials”. We believe the very best form of teaching aerial is live in-person training in small groups whenever possible.

During this season when live training is not possible, we believe that grounded-based conditioning is the best way to approach training. We feel that studying skills and taking time to break them down in ways you might not be used to are going to be valuable for keeping up the encouragement and motivation for grounded training.

We want to support that to continue during this time by offering you one more way to study aerial during this season.

I would love to offer this to your students as well! If you are interested, please send an e-mail to info@aerialdancing.com with the following information:

  1. Your Name
  2. Studio Name
  3. Studio Location
  4. What you like about AerialDancing.com  (why you want to partner with us).
  5. (Optional) A picture of yourself or students that we can use on social media with your social media handles that you would like us to tag or websites that we can direct students to. Let us know what you want us to promote for you — such as online classes, etc.

You will receive a coupon code specific to your studio to hand out to your students. (I recommend including it as a bonus for those who continue to support your lessons online.) They will be given FREE access until MAY 30, 2020. For those who continue with a paying membership in the month of May, you will receive 50% of their first payment to support your studio!

If you are not currently a paying member, you can use this referral program to earn your way to a membership! For every 3 sign-ups that come in with your referral, you will earn a free month of membership yourself.

Fine Print: In order for anyone to quality for the free month of membership, their membership must be new or have not had a membership as of January 2020. Anyone who already has a current paying membership will not be refunded or granted a free month. The free month will be during the month of MAY only. No matter when the upgrade occurs, all free memberships will return the basic status as of JUNE 1, 2020.  To count towards your earnings, they must have sent in the affiliate code at the beginning of their free upgrade.  There is a limit of $1500 in earnings on the affiliate commission. More details to follow as you join our program. Happy Earning!