Carolyn Richards discovers aerial arts


Patricia Richards

Carolyn Richards practices aerial arts downtown at Bumbershoot. “Even though it takes a lot of hard work and strength, I love learning new tricks and learning new sequences,” Richards said.

After seeing Pink’s 2012 AMA performance, senior Carolyn Richards was inspired to get into aerial arts.

She started taking classes at Bumbershoot Aerial Arts about two years ago. Richard started in an aerial fitness class, a silks intro class and a trapeze class before starting at level one.

“I love trying new things, and when I stopped swimming, I thought this would be something really cool to try,” Richards said. “Going into it, I had no idea what I was doing, so I started out by taking skills classes to help me. They offer so many different skills classes but my specific skill is working with silk. I thought that was the most interesting. The only thing that I don’t like is all the silk burns I get.”

Each class holds about seven to eight people depending on the skill level of the class. Right now, Richards is currently enrolled in a level two class. To move up, a person must be able to meet all of the criteria of the level that they are currently in.

“To pass level one, I had to be able to straddle from the air and hang for ten seconds. Each thing that we do takes a lot more strength, Richards said.

A sequence is a series of different tricks in the fabric that all go together to make one overall routine. They vary in time, depending on the tricks included. The most common trick to do in a sequence is a wrap around your leg because it is the base for a lot of other positions.

“While I am hanging in the air, I have to be able to remember the sequence that I’m performing. I am also always thinking about how I can’t fall, which no one ever wants to do,” Richards said.

Richards favorite tricks to do is an ankle hang and tying a knot in the fabric and swinging.

“Not a lot of people do [aerial arts]. This makes it more fun because I have met a lot of interesting and really cool people I would never have met without Bumbershoot. Even though it takes a lot of hard work and strength, I love learning new tricks and learning new sequences,” Richards said.

Bumbershoot holds a showcase four times a year.

“One day I plan to perform in a showcase, but right now I don’t feel prepared. I still want to practice a lot more and improve my skills before I actually perform for people,”  Richards said.