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Inverted acrobatics

Inverted acrobatics
Estelle Hjertaas hangs on to Julie Ruel as they dangle from the silks during a demonstration on May 30, 2017. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Prince Albert citizens don’t have to go far to experience circus-style acrobatic challenges.

Tuesday night the Performing Arts Warehouse adult silks and hoops class wrapped up their season of lessons with a demonstration of the high-flying skills they had learned, flipping, hanging and swinging high in the air on spinning hoops and flowing silks.

The class has been run in P.A. for some time, and lessons are provided to adults, children, and starting next year, an advanced class for kids who have been participating in the art for a few years.

The lessons are taught by Renée Phaneuf. She actually learned the art in P.A. before moving out to Saskatoon for school, where she further developed her skills. She has since returned to her home and now teaches the class she one took.

The adult class is small, with only three students, but the foursome of teacher and students work together to learn new tricks and develop their strength and flexibility.

One of those students is Lindy Thorpe. Thorpe had a friend who took a silks class in New York years ago. It was something Thorpe herself had always wanted to try. Looking through the Performing Arts Warehouse’s options, the class caught her eye.

“I came to try it, and I love it,” she said. “I assumed it would take a lot of arm strength, and it does, but it also takes a lot of core and leg strength, and I didn’t expect that.”

Phaneuf is able to customize the classes based on what the participants need to work on the most. For the flexible younger dancers, it’s about developing that strength. But for the adults, it’s more about building flexibility.

In the past few years, Phaneuf has seen her students grow immensely.

“Some of my students were afraid to turn upside-down in the beginning, and now they flip upside-down no problem,” she said.

“One thing I find with this class, especially with the adults, is it’s a real confidence-booster, and everybody is really supportive of each other.”

For more, see the June 1 print or E-edition of the Daily Herald