Welcoming guest blogger Claire to Project HB
THE BASICS: Fitness Freak makes it really easy to find and sign up to classes you might not normally go to. With that, I found myself wondering what you wear to an acrobatics class and whether it would matter that I can’t really reach my toes. £12 a session at the London Dance Academy. 8:15pm on Wednesdays. Lasts one hour.
THE BITCHES: Claire
THE CLASS: I’m a pretty typical runner. You’ll catch me being reminded on a weekly basis how tight running can make muscles at yoga sessions, grumbling as I struggle to touch my toes. Flexibility is not my middle name. Upper-body strength is not my friend.
The idea of throwing my body around and balancing on it with total, artistic ease – whilst, say, upside-down – is a far cry from powering through miles of London’s streets on two feet. Still, I’d love to have such a different poise and control over my body. Actually, I’d be content with mastering a hand stand, really.
So signing up to an acrobatics class at the London Dance Academy was a big step away from my comfort zone. Feeling brave, Fitness Freak made it alarmingly easy to find my nearest acrobatics class.
The London Dance Academy is tucked away around the corner from Old Street. It’s a basement area, but it’s not dingy. In fact, it’s airy and white, and definitely feels more like a dance school than a gym studio.
The classes cover four focuses and rotate each week. When you sign up, you know what you could be covering but you aren’t told which it’ll be. For my session it was throwing yourself at the floor, namely through rolls and handstands – neither of which I’ve touched for ten years.
After a 15 minute warm up to songs that you’d easily find on the most secretive section of my running playlist, we did some yoga-like stretching, did some core work and did the splits. Or rather, some people did and I mostly practised grunting. Luckily I wasn’t the only first-timer and our teacher, Lowry – who pulled off every move with enviable ease, and is about to go traveling the world with her acrobatics – was incredible patient. So the ritual humiliation was neatly skipped. We threw ourselves around the room doing forward rolls and then worked up into handstand bending; back-bending to help, and then across the mats with some supportive help from Lowry. It was all oddly liberating. Getting to trust your body in new, alien upside-down sessions is amazing. And tiring.
THE VERDICT: It’s an approachable way to practice acrobatics. Great for true beginners who haven’t pulled out a forward roll since they were 15, not a waste of time for anyone who can go straight into the splits; probably to be avoided if you’re looking for Cirque du Soleil as your next step. It feels less like a workout for general training’s sake, and more focused which is great: much more like you’re learning a new skill. And I loved that. I’ll be returning to hone an ability to stand on my hands rather than as a go-to way to pop out some core strength. But based on how tired we were the next day, that’s something that definitely comes with the sessions regardless.
THE EXTRAS: The lovely Claire has officially been recognised as being a Freakin’ Hot Bitch by trying out this class and becoming Project HB’s very first guest blogger! You can read more about her musical musings and love of overpriced Scandinavian cups at her blog, Get Dancey…. :)