What it is: To be honest, whenever someone talks about pole dancing, I tend to throw a little shade because of its implied connotations. But when Aerial Hoop popped up on my GuavaPass app, I thought I had nothing to lose by giving this a shot. On a Sunday afternoon, I found myself walking down the quaint street of Bukit Pasoh before stepping into a small studio decked with hanging hoops.
Let's begin by understanding what an Aerial Hoop session entails. Firstly, it features a large circular hoop suspended in mid-air. Similar to pole dancing, a series of acrobatic moves entwining the body with the hoop will prove to be mesmerising to any audience. Since the hoops are already provided by the studio, you don't have to worry about finding yourself in a BYOH (bring your own hoop) situation. Having a strong core, upper-body strength, and a flexible body will carry you far in this class.
What I loved about the class: I was really excited to take this class and a flashback of Jennifer Beal's epic Flashdance number came to mind. This all-female class of 10 with various participants executing splits and stretches felt very much like a group of performers getting ready for a dance class.
Our warm-up was core-focused, involving sets of push-ups, sit-ups, hip pulses, and planks. Thereafter, our instructor assigned two participants to each hoop. It does help when your partner has done the class before. First-timers are directed to a hoop that's hung lower to the ground. The teacher showed us a couple of moves before encouraging all of us to attempt it. Our first exercise was to climb onto the hoop and hang upside down while pulsing our body 20 times over. Well, my first attempt felt very much like a fat monkey that got himself stuck in a tree. It was a great reminder of how my core had failed me once again. Next, we had to climb onto the hoop and sit on it. Sounds easy? I truly underestimated the sheer amount of upper body strength required. Here's a pro tip: Don't hike yourself up with too much force, this causes the hoop to swing around mercilessly.
This basic class taught us two moves: The Man in the Moon and Mermaid. Beautiful to watch, but difficult to execute. I would definitely have to take the class five or six more times to really nail it. Over the next few days, my arms felt really sore.
It's great for: Those exploring their inner performer. This class allows you to envision yourself as an opening act in a suspended aerial hoop show. If Cirque du Soleil is your true calling, this could very well be your first step. Taking this class with a girlfriend allowed us to once again feel like mischievous kids in a playground.
Name of class: Aerial Hoop
Name of studio: Milan Pole Studio
Duration of session: 60 minutes
What to expect: A realisation that circus performers are so underrated.
Difficulty: 4/5, wear long tights and body hugging clothes.
About Sarah Lian
Sarah Lian is a fitness enthusiast who works out as much as she can to compensate for her appetite during the durian harvest. During the 10 month off-season, she believes in releasing endorphins with an active lifestyle and inspires others to do the same with the help of a GuavaPass membership. You can follow her journey on her Instagram (@imSarahLian) and her other day job on www.sarahlian.com.