Journey to aerial silks …and the dream of a circus center
Athleticism has been the very core of my being since
I was two years old. It started with tap dance, Jazz and ballet. When I became more of a tom-boy I switched to baseball, basketball, volleyball, and softball. After reigniting my love for dance in High school, I went on to enroll in west African and modern dance classes in college to satisfy a cultural studies requirement. The major I had in mind at that time was Mathematics Education; I had always wanted to be a teacher. Once the dean of the dance department became familiar with my abilities she encouraged me to change my major to dance. I did, and in 2002 I graduated with a BFA and High Honors from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. During the following 9 years of dancing, choreographing, producing, and teaching professionally in cities across the United States, I found acrobatics and aerial arts and felt they could bring my physical abilities and performance to the next level, Literally!
While I was dancing professionally in Brooklyn and Manhattan, New york, I taught gymnastics and dance at Ms J’s gymnastics and dance studio in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY. Wei Jiang, a former Olympic athlete and owner of Ms J’s, was my mentor for a few years, until she handed me full time responsibility over the studio. Working extensively and intensively with class lesson plans for children ages 18 months to 12 years was the most desirable part of my job. Educational program design, staff management, administration, website management, and community outreach were also in my job requirements. My new goal became to open a circus center with a multitude of activities for all ages.
I digress here…. Signs of a science nerd!! I also found myself incorporating physiological information and nutrition into my program; one day I taught 7 – 11 year old kids about the oxygenation of blood after they complained about our flexibility training. It was that moment that made me realize I want to be able to teach the science behind human athleticism and I want to start with humans at the root of their lives, in childhood.
So, graduate school was a major shift in my life and lifestyle. A great challenge and life obstacle met with determination. And I conquered graduating Highest Honors!!! During my studies, I kept up with my personal physical practice in AcroYoga and aerial silks in Greeley, Boulder and Denver Colorado. I continued to teach children gymnastics and dance in Greeley, Windsor, Boulder and Denver, traveling every weekend.
After school I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado. 🙂 Here I found AnikolovArts Aerial program at Live Beyond Limit. I studied with their instructors and eventually became and instructor of aerial silks as well! For two years now I have taught kids and adults aerial silks, sling and beginner level aerial Lyra.
I have a well rehearsed and enriched educational system to incorporate into all of my artistic and athletic programming. My passion for movement and health is what I strive to pass on to my students. With the help of peers and mentors, I continue to collect tools needed to take my instruction to the next levels. With the help of a business owner or investor, my circus center dream will come true!
Trying to put together all the pieces.
Business plan – check
Educational programming for all ages and abilities – check
Written by: Jessica Louise Schultz