Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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I believe I can fly


Do you know what pickup line works without fail?

“I can fly.”

Sure, Lois Lane might have feigned disinterest and even made the Man of Steel compete with his own alter ego, but she never said “No” to a night in the clouds. Hell, even Steve Trevor had to contain his excitement when Wonder Woman gave him a lift.

Professional aerialists will perform and lead workshops at the first Aerial Arts and Fitness Expo.

Professional aerialists will perform and lead workshops at the first Aerial Arts and Fitness Expo.

This weekend is your chance to use that line at the Aerial Arts and Fitness Expo when master and amateur aerialists descend upon Des Moines to show off their high-flying skills.

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“I’m really excited to bring the master aerial instructors to Iowa,” said Felicia Coe, professional aerialist (Iowa Fly Girl) and producer of the inaugural AAFA Expo. “These are the best of the best, and (I become) a complete fan girl and totally starstruck having them around.”

This event is the first of its kind in the U.S. While the masters will be there to put on some amazing shows, workshops and give feedback, the main attraction will be the amateur aerialists.

“I love the idea of having only beginner and intermediate level aerialists come out to compete,” said Anya Shevelyuk, an acrobatic instructor and aerial and contortion performer out of Kansas City, Missouri. “Competitive Expos are typically designed for the advanced level competitors. It’s nice to have an aerial expo for those who are working up to that level.”

As for how competitive these events will get, Coe said it’s probably much less than traditional sports — though she can’t say for sure since it’s the first event of its kind.

“Of course, people compete because they want to do well and, hopefully, win, but with aerial at this level there is a big sense of community and a ton of support,” Coe said.

Along with the chance for amateurs and hobbyists to demonstrate their skills, the expo will also feature more than 30 different workshops. Professional aerialists and performers from all over the country will be on hand to teach workshops on aerial skills, dancing, tumbling, hoops, conditioning, stretching and everything in between. There are many introductory workshops designed for those who have never even touched an apparatus.

There will also be two showcase events, Inspire and Desire, which feature a completely different cast of aerialists, contortionists, dancers and acrobats. This is a chance for amateurs to perform with professionals and show off what they’ve learned.

“In only eight months, aerial classes have helped me become so much stronger, flexible, confident and even happier than I thought possible,” said Sarah Brekke of Des Moines, who will perform in the showcase. “I hope that people come out and experience a relatively new and fun type of fitness, and I hope learn more about how to take (the professionals’) great moves and tie them into a fluid routine.” CV   

David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

The Aerial Arts and Fitness Association Expo at the Science Center of Iowa
Friday, July 25: 1-10 p.m.
Saturday, July 26: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday, July 27: 9 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
See listing of workshops, seminars and shows at www.aafaexpo.com
Weekend pass costs $75 ($70 for AAFA members)
Individual events and shows range from $5-$30

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