About Flying Fantastic
Hello aerial addicts and aerial addicts in the making! We have created this blog to try and share the knowledge that we have accumulated since setting up Flying Fantastic Aerial Fitness school in 2011 - in the hope that we can inspire other people to reap the benefits of aerial exercise and all that it provides.
If you are new to the Flying Fantastic family, welcome! If you've been around a while, which many of you have, then thank you for sticking with us!
My name is Edel and I run Flying Fantastic with my other half Christopher Wigan. Former performers? Aerialists? Gymnasts? Nope. None of the above. A Primary Teacher (me) and a Graphic Designer (Chris in case you need help with that...) who went to live and work in Argentina for a year. Whilst exploring our new barrio and looking for things to do, we went into the gym on our road (we must have been desperate for entertainment!) The owner will have no idea that his next words would change our lives forever:
"Our gym is really boring. Why dont you try our aerial classes?"
The space looked amazing with silks and hoops alongside a climbing wall. But surely I wasn't flexible enough to do aerial.... (more on this later.) I was an Irish dancer before, so had strong legs but arms that weren't used to doing much/anything! And Chris was a ruby player. So not what you'd expect aerialists to look like. (Yes yes, we thought it too!) So we laughed and went home. Then, sat on the sofa, we decided to give it a go - what was there to lose?!
That first class was hilarious. I was stuck at the bottom of the silks wondering if climbing was for superhumans. But at least I had pointy feet for sitting in the hoop! Chris muscled his way to the top immediately but would have a way to go on making anything look dainty! But we loved it! The feeling of empowerment when I first managed to lift myself off the ground. The satisfaction of finally nailing my invert (3 months later having been put in the "therapy group!") The pair of us dropped a dress size but seriously toned up. We made friends and learned a whole new vocabulary in Spanish! We were hooked.
Fast forward to the return to London, and we wanted to share this cool thing we'd found with the world! There wasn't anywhere at the time that offered recreational aerial classes that weren't part of a substantial course. There are obvious advantages to joining a course, but it becomes a huge barrier to entry for people like ourselves who really just want to try a class before committing to anything longer.
So, we found a community centre and started silks classes one night a week in a venue in Battersea. This grew gradually, all the while looking for our own space, which we eventually found in Waterloo, and more recently in Peckham. It has been a steep learning curve, but the best thing without a doubt has been the community that has formed. A bunch of mad, badass aerilasts of all levels who support each other in a way you just cant explain until you hear that roar in the studio when someone has nailed whatever it is they're working on.
The Flying Fantastic ethos is to make aerial accessible. Everyone should be able to benefit from the joy and challenge of being upside down.
One of the first questions people will always ask you if perform. I knew I never wanted to perform (nor would anyone want to watch it!) Aerial was for me. Time for me to switch my brain off completely while I tried to work out my right from my left in the aerial. A space for me to get strong and really celebrate the crazy things your body can do if you work with it and don't limit yourself. I'm still not flexible. I can't do the splits. And I definitely can't touch my head with my foot. Being surrounded by people who can do that, and look amazing in the air, can be intimidating - if you let it! Its an exhilarating, challenging hobby that makes you feel amazing, wherever youre starting from.
So if youre in London and youve been thinking about coming to try a class - do it! We'd love to have you. Theres a new customer offer on the website
If you're anywhere else in the world, find yourself an aerial studio and give it a go. You won't regret it. Then come back here hopefully we'll have lots of useful information and hints and tips to help you along your aerial journey.