“I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, in the same home my mom grew up in, next door to my grandparents. I started dancing at 3, hated it, quit, then begged to start again when I was 5. I was a hyperactive, introverted kid who loved being referred to as a ‘tomboy’. I tried every sport I could: swim team, diving team, t-ball, badminton, tennis, track. I also sang in the choir and was a member of the drama team in high school. I was a “tell me I can’t do it so I can prove to you I can” kind of kid.”
Tell us about your education
“I received a BFA with a double major in Ballet and Modern Dance from TCU. I studied Eastern and Western Massage at Mueller College in San Diego and am a certified Massage Therapist Instructor and Certified Herbalist. I also have a 200hr yoga teacher certification.”
What first drew you to aerial work?
“I saw Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere while attending a national dance competition in Las Vegas (1992ish). I didn’t breathe or blink or swallow for the entire show (that might be an exaggeration). I was blown away by the possibilities of movement and storytelling using such an athletic performance style. The idea of flying through the air immediately spoke to my heart.”
Tell us about your first time on an apparatus
“I came to an audition for Swings Asunder. The director asked us to improvise a spin on the lyra. It seemed easy enough. Oh my lord, was I wrong. I had no idea how to hold on to the thing or how to hold my body up in space while I spun. It was humbling.”
How did you get involved with Sky Candy?
“After I was cast in Swings Asunder, I decided I wanted more. I started teaching a Modern Dance class at the Cesar Chavez location and slowly started taking classes and exploring different apparatuses.”
How long have you been teaching? How long have you been teaching at Sky Candy?
“I have been a dance teacher for over 20 years. I have been teaching at Sky Candy since 2015 (I think).”
Describe your teaching philosophy. What would a student experience in one of your classes?
“My mission, in all of my endeavors, is to help people help themselves. Each student comes to the table with their own personal goals in mind, but I think we all share the hope of having a good time while learning new things, and I enjoy being able to help safely facilitate that. With a background in dance, my teaching style tends towards teaching skills in the context of sequences. If you come to my class, you can likely expect to pick up a new skill or two, and a sequence to help you remember it.”
What is your favorite thing about being an aerial instructor?
“There is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing the light in someone’s face when they unlock a new achievement.”
Tell us about a particularly impactful moment you’ve had with a student
“I have a student who comes to my bungee classes regularly and has steadily progressed her stamina and skill. But the most awesome moment was when she got her bungee handstand for the first time. She worked so hard to get it, and it was so exciting to see her find it.“
If you could give a brand new student one piece of advice, what would it be?
“Don’t get frustrated with yourself for not being able to do all the things on the first try. Enjoy the small gains as much as the big ones.”
Has there been an instructor/coach/performer who has impacted or inspired you?
“I love watching anyone who is passionate about and dedicated to their craft. But honestly, I am most inspired by beginners. To see someone realizing that they are capable of something that previously seemed out of reach brings me so much joy and reminds me to keep striving for those moments in my own practice.”
Talk about your experience as an aerial performer
“I kind of fell into aerial performance. I had a dance choreographer put me in a climbing harness and tell me to take flying runs off an 8ft moving ramp for a show several years ago. Then I got invited to audition for Swings Asunder, where I learned to dance on the cube and perform on a steel bed frame hanging above the stage.
After that, I auditioned for Blue Lapis Light and have been flying off buildings, roller skating on bungee cords, and dancing atop scaffolding ever since. It wasn’t until recently that I finally got comfortable calling myself an aerialist.”
What excites you about aerial performance? What would you like to see the aerial world do next, creatively?
“I love invented apparatus and site-specific work.”
What do you find challenging in your own aerial practice?
“Sometimes, after time away from an apparatus, I worry that I will have forgotten how to do all the things. It can be hard to set that fear aside and just go for it. I think fear of failure drives that. But how do we know if we don’t try?”
Aside from aerial work, what are your passions, hobbies, and interests?
“Dance, running, cycling, knitting, baking, herbal medicine, gardening, making soap, dogs, gingerbread house making, camping, chocolate making . . .”
What’s your favorite way to indulge?
“I love treating myself to a handcrafted outfit or household item from a local small business or from Etsy.”
Amy currently teaches two Online Drop-In Classes, Morning Mobilization on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays at 8:30am and Self Care & Repair At Home on Thursdays at 3pm, as well as co-teaches our Online Series Class Virtual Creation Lab, in which students can learn the basics of creating dance & aerial videos using your smartphone.