Student/Staff Spotlight: Cait Stuff
You may have noticed some new faces around the Sky Candy Studio recently- that’s because we’ve just welcomed a bunch of new teachers and front desk staff to our family! We’ll be introducing you to our new folks over the next few weeks, starting with one of our new front desk goddesses, Cait Stuff!
In addition to rockin’ out at the front desk, Cait has also been a Sky Candy student for awhile now, so we thought we’d ask her a few questions about what her experience has been as a student of the aerial arts.
Sky Candy: How long have you been taking classes at Sky Candy?
Cait: Signing up for an Intro to Verticals class was my Christmas present to myself at the start of 2014. So about a year total, although there were series that I had to miss because of travel or health issues.
SC: What was your physical background before becoming an aerial student?
C: As a child I was an elite athlete in synchronized ice skating (I’ve always been a fan of the “weird” sports!) and competed internationally. After I quit, though, I had a number of health issues and ended up losing almost all of my muscle strength from an eating disorder followed by chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia as I recovered.
SC: Tell us about your aerial journey- what have been some of the challenges you’ve faced? What successes have you found?
C: The biggest challenge for me has been gaining enough strength. My pain issues often interfere with how hard I am able to push myself on any particular practice, and that has definitely slowed down how quickly I can improve. On bad days I really cannot do much more than sit and watch. I remember that during my first six weeks, I probably sat out over half of every class. Even just observing, however, I know I learned a lot that was helpful to my progress when I was able to participate!
When I first started taking classes, I set a goal of being able to climb the silk and perform a hipkey on the hammock before I quit. These intro-level skills took me 11 months to be able to do. However I was determined that I was going to succeed at them before deciding whether I wanted to stick with aerials “long term”. By the time I got there, I found that I was already committed!
SC: What piece of advice would you give to new aerial students who are just starting out?
C: There is no rush. I took the Intro to Verticals six week series five times before finally moving on to level 1 classes. One of the things that I noticed in that time is that there isn’t any competition– everyone is always going at their own pace. There are people who can learn everything they need to know, and gain all the strength they need in six weeks. There are others that– even though they are much stronger than me– need to take the class a few times in order to gain the muscle memory for how to wrap a silk, or how to process left from right when flipped upside down in a hammock.
The other piece of advice is that if you stick with it, you will succeed. Not every practice needs to be a success for you to eventually get to where you need to be to move up.
SC: What is your favorite thing about being an aerial student?
C: Being able to do things that most people can’t. I love when I tell my friends that I am going to class to climb some silks and they are super impressed and say “I’ve always wanted to try that!”
And then I drag them to the studio with me, and they discover it’s even more fun than they expected. Converting my friends– that’s another favorite thing about being a student for me. I love introducing aerials to new people, whether it’s encouraging people to come into the studio, or just telling them about what I do in practice if they’ve never heard of it.