2016 – The Year in Review

Hey faithful followers of AerialDancing.com –

Every year, I like to take some time to reflect on what we have accomplished, assess our vision, and see where we are headed. This has been a tough year. It was a time of transition, which is always a struggle. But I don’t feel this on simply an individual level. I feel like our country has been in transition, and it has been a rocky year for many. In addition, the aerial community saw the loss of a couple of beloved artists and teachers. Our hearts have been heavy.

However glum the world looks, there is always glimmer of HOPE so long as DREAMS are alive. This website-Born to Fly Productions-has seen hope appears in three major forms this past year, as we make our way toward our life-long dreams. Thank you for still believing in us.

Dream Number 1: Birth a Studio

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For the past 7 years, the website has been selling memberships and books in order to raise funds to build a dedicated aerial space. We have been saving like crazy and everything went into the new studio this year.

I am proud to report that Born to Fly Productions now has an official headquarters in Castle Rock, Colorado. Prior to this year, we were operating out of our home and rented space. We spent the summer putting together an amazing space.

In one way, it was the finish line to an extraordinary fundraiser. In another way, it was just the beginning to another extraordinary journey. The local studio is called AerialWorks.

Here is the video of the construction:

Nightly classes help to pay the monthly expenses of the space. We put on regular shows which are an absolute blast. However, all this is helping to forge the path for the next dream: Having guest artists come as residents to create new creative work. I am in LOVE with the creative process and creating new things. It is what will spur me on till the day I die. In my opinion, there is always something new waiting to be danced.

Plug for Resident Artists: If you are looking for collaboration or looking for a space in which to create, please contact us at info@aerialworkscastlerock.com. We are hoping to have spots starting August 2017.

Dream Number 2: Birth a World-Class Aerial Teacher Training Program

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Two words: Julianna Hane. If it hadn’t been for her leadership and hard work, it wouldn’t have happened. When I exited the military and we were moving back to Colorado from South Carolina, I begged Julianna to come with me so that we can finish what we started. I am so happy to say that she is here now at Born to Fly Headquarters, teaching classes, helping to create high-quality resources, and leading amazing teacher trainings. This next summer of 2017 is PACKED FULL of every teacher training that we offer so far – from aerial lyra to fabric to sling (which will be my first time revealing my sling secrets!!) — it’s going to be rewarding and refreshing to connect with others who love the educational process as much as I do.

Not only is the Born to Fly Teacher Training Program a way to connect with great training, it’s a way to connect with amazing mentors that include industry leaders such as Sarah Bebe Holmes, Rain Anya, Amy Tynan, and others who are excelling at what they do. I’m excited for the partnerships and collaboration taking place within the program. The Born to Fly Secret Facebook group is now my go-to place to chat with other high-quality teachers, and I appreciate having them there.

For more information, please visit www.borntoflyaerial.com.

Dream Number 3: Continue to Create Resources for the Aerial Community

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While this may have been our least productive year so far, things are still moving forward. We spent a lot of energy moving and building our new studio (and I have two young kids at home which sucks up a ton of energy!). However, we still managed to find time to release a new product: This year saw the launch of our first set of flash cards; our Hoop Choreography Cards, which features over 250 moves from our Born to Fly Lyra Curriculum. We hope to make a set for each apparatus as well as posters. (Below are the posters in our studio which are soo helpful when you are in the middle of class-planning and draw a blank. They have saved me numerous times this past 6 months! They’ll be released for sale once they are perfected. For now, I’m still testing them out on our test-subjects students.)

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The next couple months will see the release of our next manual, An Aerialist’s Guide to Surviving Pregnancy. It’s a look at what a mother-to-be goes through as their body changes over the 9 months of human-growing. The movement focus is aerial yoga, since it is gentle and the most approachable form of aerial during pregnancy.

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We are almost done releasing our first set of trapeze videos here in the AerialDancing.com Video Library. This set included roughly 100 videos featuring Melissa Roberts of Canopy Studio. The curriculum that Canopy has established over the past 15 years has helped to make the single-point trapeze a very approachable form of movement. I am forever grateful that they opened up their curriculum to us through the video project (and manual to follow in 2018!).

Next-up in 2017: Sling Videos! I have started work on a sling manual (or two). It makes sense to create the videos as I create the manual, so expect to see sling videos soon.

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As our nation feels a new kind of cultural depression, it is all the more important that we are here for each other. Aerial is a part of that circus family that helps breathe wonderful energy into people, as they learn how to express themselves and create art. We don’t create resources just to create resources. We are hoping that the bottom line happens by the end of the day: People’s mind, body and spirit are nurtured by their opportunities to enjoy aerial movement. Whatever form that takes will differ by local venue, but I hope that it’s all going towards creating sustainable communities that support and love on one another. We have the great privilege of sharing the art of play with the world. Let’s keep pressing on.

 


 

Internship Opportunity Summer 2017

There are so many resources that the community is waiting to see created. If you are an energetic aerialist who wants to get involved in the community in a unique way, see if you fit the criteria to apply for an internship at Born to Fly Productions during the summer of 2017. Includes monthly stipend.

Applicants would need to:

– live locally to Castle Rock, Colorado, USA for the summer of 2017 (mid-May through end of July)

– be fluent in all major adobe products including Photoshop, InDesign, Premier and Adobe Acrobat Reader. (nothing too fancy, but enough to get in there and tackle projects.)

– help with social media advertising; create regular posts on various platforms, gather blog postings, put together newsletters, coordinate campaigns for prize giveaways, etc.

– have excellent customer service skills, able to communicate effectively, write and answer e-mails warmly

–  be available to assist with various projects in the studio to include helping with photoshoots and organizing teacher trainings

– have the gift of organization; be able to take a ton of information and organize it in an effective manner

– ready to tackle a variety of projects that support creating aerial resources and curriculum; the more knowledge of various aerial apparatuses, the better

– a great bonus: be as obsessed as Rebekah about collecting moves and organizing them into their appropriate levels for teaching aerial :)

Benefits of the Job include: monthly stipend, access to studio time to create or workout, be a part of the Born to Fly teacher trainings (a great way to learn more about the depths of teaching aerial!), great job satisfaction in seeing projects completed, learn another side to the aerial industry

To apply, please send your resume to info@aerialworkscastlerock.com.


 

 

Take This Survey (If you’ve been pregnant)

Calling all aerialists who have been through pregnancy! We want to know what it was like to be you. What sorts of things did you have to change when you found out you were pregnant? What sorts of crazy things were you doing up until the day you gave birth? The crazy thing is that every story is different, so there’s no way I’m looking for a “one-size fits all” story.

By gathering different stories, we can get a glimpse into the unique way that someone who is high on movement approaches pregnancy. For some, it means giving up movement for 9 months. Some feel ready to do this – as they fall in love with the kid that comes at the end of it. For others, pregnancy is a tortuous time. Others find it amazing. Most people experience both emotions and everything in between.

My goal is take all these different perspectives – your perspectives – and add them into the book that is brewing on the editing shelf: the Prenatal Aerial Yoga Manual. Although aerial yoga sequences are the main focus of exercise, the book is an approach to being pregnant as a mover no matter what form of aerial you practice. The book is designed for teachers who are looking for more information about prenatal exercise so they can better coach their pregnant students. And of course, this book is designed for all aerial women who find themselves pregnant – whether it was expected or unexpected – and they are curious about what others before them have experienced.

If you have ever been pregnant and you are an active practitioner of the aerial arts, we invite you to take place in the country’s largest data collection ever attempted on the topic of pregnancy as an aerialist known to this author:

http://www.rebekahleach.com/preggo-survey.html

The survey will take a bit of time, so set aside about 20 minutes or more, depending on how thorough you would like to be.

All entries need to be in by January 31, 2016. The results will be in the upcoming book as well as posted on our discussion board for members of AerialDancing.com.

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An Early Year-End Wrap-Up

Hey Everyone!

This is my annual blog to fill you in on what’s been going on here at AerialDancing.com and what you can expect to see in the coming year.  Things have been a little slow around here lately, but there’s a reason for that.

First, some back-story: For the past four years, I have had a day job – you know the kind that makes a nice predictable income and provides for health care and retirement for your family.  My husband has been taking care of our kids and has been awesome at running this site.  I have worked as an aerialist only on the side. Well, all that is about to change.

My contract of 4 years just came to a close and I am now making the slow and scary transition back to aerialist. only. just. an. aerialist. Well, of course, I’m also a mom and lots of other good things, but as for making any money, it’s down to just one thing. Aerial Dancing. So, this is it. To make it real and make it happen, I will be depending on you – the reader – to buy a book or sign up for a membership. It is wholly unpredictable if you will do that or not. I cannot control that. But I can control one thing – and that is doing what I love.  I am a mover. Through and through and through. I am enthusiastic about staying healthy and keeping my body is prime condition so that I can be free to express myself and create art. I am passionate about helping others achieve the same goal that I chase after. I find satisfaction in connecting to other dedicated people like myself who love their art. So, I am going to keep on doing what I do and pray that the rest will follow. I plan on taking a nice break for the Holidays. After a very busy 4 years, it’s time to take a rest, enjoy hanging out with my daughter and my baby boy. Then I will come back in January refreshed and ready to see where this journey will take me next.

Below is the to-do list. It is quite the beast. I can’t do all of this alone. It will take a team of people, and you are most welcome to be on that team. In fact, we have an open position for a part-time job. More on that below.

THE TO-DO LIST:

  1. Finish the rope videos that go with the manual that was released this past year. Once the videos are all linked up to the book, I will release the digital download version of Rope Volume 1.
  2. Finish the prenatal aerial yoga book. This was a passion project that I worked on while I was pregnant this past year, and I just need to put on the finishing touches. This also has corresponding videos.  HOW YOU CAN HELP: If anyone would like to share their experiences of being pregnant while being an aerialist, please send them along. I would love to share your story in the book!
  3. Start working on the new Aerial Trapeze series! Melissa Roberts of Canopy Studio is my collaboration partner and I am so excited to be starting this project. Trapeze will be the last and final aerial apparatus that I will write books on.
  4. Finish the revision of the Beginning Aerial Fabric Manual. I re-shot the whole book about 2 years ago and I been sitting on a brand-new version ready for editing. It is tailored for use with teacher training programs. I removed some of the moves that are too advanced for beginners and have added ones that are better.  HOW YOU CAN HELP:  If you have any great moves or programming that works well for beginners, send me your thoughts and ideas for the book. I’d love to have your wisdom shared. (Keep in mind that there will be an entire book devoted to the knot/sling, so that will be it’s very own topic!)
  5. Continue working on the Rope Manual Vol.2. This project has been documented through film and I have all the pictures done. I need to work on the next phase – which is actually writing the text.  HOW YOU CAN HELP: any volunteers to help write it are welcome aboard! You must be familiar with rope.
  6. Continue working on the Aerial Knot/Sling Manual Series. This is another series that I have been working on, but it keeps falling to the bottom of the to-do list. I think this one will take a while because I have so many other things to do, but it is definitely planned!  HOW YOU CAN HELP: do you have favorite moves that you like to teach in the sling? please feel free to share them with us and get credit in the book!
  7. Continue filming Aerial Yoga Sequences that are created by experienced aerial yoga teachers.  HOW YOU CAN HELP: Would you like to see your sequence on this site? Send it along. We pay or trade for goodies.
  8. Start focusing on filming other sequences from silks, hoop, etc.  HOW YOU CAN HELP: Have a sequence that you like? Share it with us. We pay or trade for aerial goodies.
  9. Spend time with other amazing aerialists at retreats at the Marsh Studio. HOW YOU CAN JOIN IN THE FUN: For a list of upcoming retreats, see www.borntoflyaerial.com.
  10. Open a real live studio. That’s on my dream list. Maybe one day I’ll get there. All funds from the books continue to go into an account labeled “Aerial Dance Studio.” Every time you make a purchase from this site, my future students thank you.

If you’re still reading (I know long to-do lists kinda stress me out, so that might have scared you away), we are always looking for cool stories and blogs. Consider publishing your next aerial article on this site.

If you haven’t purchased a membership yet, sometime before December 31, 2015 will be a good time to do so. This website is about to get a whole lot more active. To help fund all these upcoming projects, the membership prices will see an increase January 1, 2015. Think of this like kickstarter – only it’s here on this site, ongoing. You get something really cool for your money – you get access to the largest collection of beginning/intermediate aerial moves from 5 genres (silks, hoop, rope, aerial yoga and soon to be trapeze) on the internet!!

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JOB ANNOUNCEMENT

We are actively seeking an aerialist who has advertising/graphic design/communication skills. Live and work from home! The only requirements are that you must have a US Social Security Number and have a good phone number to reach you (not an international number).

Job Description: Seeking a friendly aerialist who is passionate about connecting a community to resources. Work 2-3 hours per week online helping spread the word about what AerialDancing.com has to offer. Opportunity for more hours directly proportional to website growth.

Must be:

  • highly competent with Social Media
  • have basic skills at graphic design to put together announcements, online flyers, e-mail campaign headlines, etc.
  • able to take initiative, create surveys, collect testimonials, and other tasks related to growing an online business.
  • an independent worker, ready to jump on board the mission starting in January 2016.

 

Pay: $10-$20/hour. Depends on Experience.

For more information or to submit your resume, drop a line to: info@aerialdancing.com.

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