Perhaps like me, you have heard of Aerial Yoga before, but it never really crossed your mind that you’d actually have the chance to try the experience out? Well, on the 8th Feb 2017, Leoni and I were lucky enough to be invited to London to get our zen on and take part in a private Aerial Yoga class. Here’s how we got on…
Our lesson took place at the London Dance Academy Studio in Old Street which was only a few minutes walk from the tube stop. Dressed in our yoga gear (gym leggings and a top that covers your armpits – think about the chaffing!), we arrived at the venue and were raring to get stated…we’d been looking forward to trying this experience out for weeks! We left our shoes and bags in the changing room and then met our instructor, Toni and headed to the studio.
We started off nice and easy – first of all just sitting in the swing and getting used to the sensation of hovering above ground with our legs dangling free. It was then time to kick things up a notch and learn how to somersault out of the sling. It will never quite seem natural to be swinging your legs over your head to flip upside down…but it definitely is fun!
Next we tried out the ‘One-Legged King Pigeon Pose’ which really stretched out our hips and backs. As we learnt from Toni, using the aerial silk allows gravity to help your back leg relax and therefore let your spine curve naturally to allow for a deeper stretch. Following this, we tried out some Superman-inspired poses involving stretching out your arms and legs to ‘fly’ in the air. What a great core workout this class is!
This one hour private aerial yoga class was one of my favourite experiences I have been on, since starting work here at Experience Days, 7 months ago. It was a great workout and I found myself addicted, anxiously awaiting the next move to learn (plus it’s way more fun than going to the gym). The class has the perfect balance of testing your fitness whilst also focusing on challenging stillness in your mind and body. One tip however…definitely don’t have a cup of tea before you start, there is a LOT of moving around!
Thank you so much to Toni, and to London Dance Academy for having us! If you’d like to have a go at Aerial Yoga yourself, you can either take a private class or join a group to try out this wonderful active experience.
Watch this space for the start of my professional acrobat career!
Following our visit to London Dance Academy in February, we thought we’d take the time to have a chat with Vanessa, the Studio Manager, to learn more about the company as a whole. She gave some really interesting answers on behalf of the Academy – continue reading to find out more…
Q. Hi Vanessa – to kick things off, please can you tell us a little about the history of London Dance Academy?
A: Best friends and accomplished dancers Alexe Woods & Melissa Grey set up London Academy of Pole Dancing in 2005. The company started by running classes in gyms and clubs across London, and were the first to introduce pole dancing to these venues. In 2012 the company expanded and opened their own studio on Central Street with a unique offering of pole dancing, anti-gravity yoga, aerial and circus skills classes as well as tailor-made flexibility and conditioning classes for dancers and aerialists.
LDA now run over 150 classes a week at venues across Central London, and have developed a very successful dance party business as well as a performers agency in addition to the regular class offering.
LDA was the first school in London to offer comprehensive classes in pole dancing technique and choreography from beginner to elite level, alongside specially developed flexibility and conditioning classes all under one roof. Wanting to expand their class range, they added anti-gravity and aerial circus classes to the repertoire when they opened their own studio in 2012. LDA was the first studio to teach Antigravity® yoga classes in London.
Q. Wow, the company has grown quite a lot! Where did the passion for dance originally stem from?
A. Both Alexe and Melissa have been dancers all their lives. Dance has always played a vital part in their families – their mothers are dancers and have passed on their passion to them.
Starting with classical ballet, and moving on to explore other contemporary dance forms, Alexe and Melissa were soon asked to do pole dancing performances at events and shows. However, unable to find any pole dancing schools and relying on taking private lessons with individual teachers/professionals in the field across the country, Alexe and Melissa realised there was a big gap in the market and decided to pursue their dream of building their own dance company.
Q. What makes your classes unique compared to others on the scene?
A. LDA offer over 150 classes a week including pole dancing (technique & choreography), aerial & circus arts, antigravity yoga as well as flexibility, conditioning and body building classes alongside fun sessions like ‘Twerk’ and ‘Grind’ or ‘Discover Your Sexy’.
We also provide private one-to-one tuition and private group experiences in a wide range of dance styles, tailored to each individual or group – no matter what background, size, age, shape or fitness level.
Our aim has always been to challenge the way people view fitness, focussing on enjoyable and creative ways to stay in great shape, mentally, physically & emotionally, and discover new skills.
LDA have been running classes and private group experiences for 11 years in all of the above disciplines. We have been working with a wide range of corporate brands and private clients over the years, and continue to operate at a number of fantastic venues across London to cater for our diverse client base.
Q. Who would you say your experiences are most suited for?
A. At LDA, inclusivism is a top priority. We welcome students from all walks of life – no matter your age, size or fitness experience, we are certain that you will feel relaxed and empowered as you learn.
Our experience can cater to anyone who has always wanted to try a particular dance style or activity, as well as participants with previous experience. Our highly professional teachers are all well equipped to teach classes on all levels, including mixed level groups and we are always happy to tailor a session to meet specific needs.
Our lessons are also ideal for both private group classes as well as experiences for special occasions such as birthdays, hen do's and the like.
Q. We imagine there are some funny stories to tell, any favourites?
A. All our classes are a great laugh, especially the private group experiences. Some people like dressing up for a themed party, so we have had great moments; from Dirty Dancing and Moulin Rouge, to 80s or 90s parties, and even 50 Shades of Grey – too many to tell!
Some people are completely taken by surprise when friends arrange a class for their birthday or hen do and have a fantastic time trying out something they have always wanted to learn but never quite dared to. So essentially, every experience has a very special character and we've collected a lot of fun and entertaining memories over the years – as have our clients.
One memorable experience that will always stick in our minds is the group of army lads who brought in their completely unsuspecting mate for a pole dancing stag do…we’ll let you imagine the rest!
Q. That sounds brilliant! Finally, do you have any exciting plans for the future?
A. We are currently developing our own unique clothing range of pole dance and yoga wear, as well as staging more corporate events and planning to expand our business and open another of our own studios. LDA has always been about ambition and taking our company further with new ideas, spaces and offers…so watch this space!
We would like to thank Vanessa for telling us more about the London Dance Academy and sharing her story with us. We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about such an amazing dance school and look forward to experiencing more of their lessons, first-hand in the future!
Group Size & Spectators:
This is a private class for two.
The aerial yoga classes are available throughout the year on weekday and weekend dates. All bookings are subject to availability, and must be arranged around the standard class schedule.
This is a 70 minute yoga class.
The weather will not affect your aerial yoga classes in London.
Wear comfortable, flexible yoga or gym wear. Please note that you should wear sleeves that cover your underarms and at least knee-length leggings, as the hammock can feel a little chafing if you don't!
Minimum age: 18