Teacher Feature: Irene Tapia
Our new staff spotlights continue with an interview with veteran personal trainer Irene Tapia! Irene is teaching our new 1pm session of the Circus Circuit Challenge starting this week, as well as the weekly drop-in class TRX for Aerialists!
Sky Candy: How long have you been involved in the circus arts/your chosen discipline? How did you get started?
Irene: I signed up for a single-point dance trapeze class in my home city, Madison, Wisconsin. I had just finished reading a thought provoking article about fear and it inspired me to face my own intense fear of heights. Did that first trapeze class cure me of my fear of heights? Nope, but I learned how to control my breathing, center myself, and slow down my actions to calm my nerves. My heart still pounds loudly every time I climb a silk to the ceiling or complete an inversion high-up on trapeze ropes, but I remind myself that I am in control; and as long as I am paying attention, trusting in my skills and training, I am safe.
SC: What has been the hardest thing about being a circus artist? What challenges do you face?
I: The bruises! Well, mostly when it is summertime and the bruises are exposed when I wear shorts and tanktops. Oh the looks I receive from strangers!
The hardest part of aerials is being ok with the ups and downs of training and conditioning. Life happens. Which means there are times when I need to take small physical and mental breaks from aerials, but coming back is always a humbling challenge. Taking even as little as one week away from practicing and conditioning affects my strength and endurance levels. Sometimes, it is hard to practice compassion for myself and remember that my strength will not only come back, but grow as long as I keep at it. The days I successfully push through those challenges are so satisfying!
SC: What is your favorite thing about being a circus artist? What is your favorite thing about teaching the circus arts?
I: I live for the day of a performance! Every part of the day; waking up with small butterflies in my belly, getting together with the other performers as we nervously put on our make-up while giggling. The moment I’m on stage with the lights off. Transforming into character while the music plays and the lights shine bright, knowing there is someone in the crowd cheering me on. The reaction of the audience, while I am feeling free and happy in the air. The final moments, hugging my fellow aerial performers afterwards, and lastly, rushing out to the audience after the final curtain call to find that one face that supported me through all of the rehearsals, classes, training and performances.
I’ve been personal training as well as teaching various fitness classes and yoga for years, but I am excited to take on this exciting opportunity with Sky Candy; teaching circus arts! I look forward to sharing my story along the way.
SC: What do you love most about your favorite discipline?
I: We all have those days where we just don’t want to anything. We don’t want to go to work, we don’t want to cook, we don’t want to workout. I love motivating and supporting who are just having “one of those days”, where they are not in the mood to workout. I strive to inspire them during the workout so they leave feeling awesome, strong, and happy!
SC: What classes will you be teaching at Sky Candy?
I: I’m excited to introduce a new class to Sky Candy; TRX for Aerialists, where we will focus on specific exercises, using the TRX suspension system, to develop strength and conditioning for all aerial disciplines. I will also apply my veteran personal training experience to the Circus Circuit Challenge!