Teacher Spotlight: Sarah Marsh

Tell us about your early life

“I was born and raised here in Austin to parents who are also Texans. As a child I was very active in dance and gymnastics. I performed in many recitals at the old Palmer Auditorium doing tap, jazz, and acro-dance. Growing up, I continued to pursue dance and movement, expanding to cheerleading, baton twirling, and Latin dance in high school.

What first drew you to aerial work? 

“My first memories were from when I went to the circus in 1994. I fell in love! I bought 2 videotapes from that show (I still have them) and watched them over and over! My favorite acts were the aerialists and the little girl who did hand-to-hand and contortion with her dad.

Tell us about your education 

“I graduated high school in 2003 and attended a year at UTSA but did not enjoy the university life there. I made my way back home to Austin and ended up going to school for photography at ACC and graduating in 2010.

Tell us about your first aerial class

“I believe my very first official lesson was with Sky Candy Collective when they were teaching in the backyard of the Vortex Theatre. I was experimenting on a lyra I bought from Trapeze Rigging before that.

How did you decide to become an aerial instructor? What was your teacher training process like?

“I started teaching lyra at a local pole studio (I think around 2009) and from there got formal aerial training at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Vermont. That was an incredible experience!

What is your favorite thing about being an aerial instructor?

“I love watching my students get stronger and more confident in their abilities!”

Has there been an instructor/coach/performer who has impacted or inspired you?

“The person that inspired me to do circus was the little girl from the circus (in 1994) who I recently realized I was following on Instagram: Olga Pikhienko @olgaupsidedown. She is an incredible contortionist and performer. I got so excited when I realized she was the same little girl I looked up to as a kid! Also, someone locally that I admire is (former Sky Candy instructor) Paul Zuker. He’s a fantastic teacher and contortionist!

How long have you been teaching? How long have you been teaching at Sky Candy?

“I have been teaching (mostly pole) since 2007 and at Sky Candy since 2017.”

Describe your teaching philosophy. What would a student experience in one of your classes?

“I feel like I’m a pretty positive and encouraging instructor. I like to have fun and want the class to be both a safe and fun environment.” 

Tell us about a particularly impactful moment you’ve had with a student

When a particular student finally got a consistent pullover on the lyra, that was really exciting for me. When students can get upside down without any assistance, it makes my heart happy! 

What excites you about aerial performance? 

“I love the thrill of spinning and being high in the air. It’s exhilarating!

What do you find challenging in your own aerial practice?

“Motivation and staying consistent. I am so busy.

Tell us about your experience as an aerial performer

“I have been performing aerials since 2009 and pole since 2007. I have had some amazing performance opportunities that have taken me to New York and Las Vegas.

A couple of my most memorable experiences include getting flown out to perform lyra on the Jerry Springer Show and being treated like a celebrity, and another was just recently when I was invited to perform for the AWS (Amazon) convention in Las Vegas! What a trip! I love getting to perform and making magic onstage. Seeing people smile and enjoy themselves is the best feeling in the world.

What’s your favorite way to indulge?

“I love cake and cookies! I especially love lemon cake, lemon squares, lemon meringue pie — all the lemon!” 

Aside from aerial work, what are your passions, hobbies, and interests?

“I like to train in contortion, and I really enjoy baking.

Sarah currently teaches three Online Drop-In Classes: Cardio Express on Tuesdays at 4pm, Toe Pointe & Ankle Conditioning on Tuesdays at 5pm, and Pole Fit: Home Edition! on Thursdays at 6:45pm.