Photo Credit: Nina Reed Photography
We are thrilled to welcome April Moore Skelton to the faculty here at Born to Fly! April will join Julianna in running the Trapeze 1 Teacher Training in Castle Rock, CO June 4-8, 2018.* I've asked April some questions so that you can get to know her better.
Q: What is your current role in the field (i.e. teacher, studio owner, etc.), and in what city are you based?
I recently wrapped up two years as Education Director at Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance in Boulder, Colorado, and moved back to my "chosen hometown" of Asheville, North Carolina. I am proud to be an aerial instructor at Empyrean Arts in Asheville!
Q: When did you start training in the aerial arts?
I started my aerial journey in 2004 at Canopy Studio, in Athens, Georgia (founded by Susan Murphy, now led by Melissa Roberts). My first and favorite apparatus is dance trapeze, but my interests and style on that apparatus have evolved greatly.
Q: What motivated you to start aerial training?
I was a photojournalism student in college who attended a show at Canopy to shoot some images. I was transfixed by what I saw and decided I had to sign up for class as soon as possible! At the time it seemed like a novel and quirky adventure, and a way to meet people and make friends.
Q: What keeps you going today?
Aerial arts has served so many purposes in my life over my 15 years in this form. One thing that remains consistent for me, is that it is a way to be fully present. I can really be with myself, my physicality and emotionality, or with my students and their experiences, completely in the moment. That is remarkable, and is more and more precious to me every year.
Q: How has your teaching evolved from when you first began?
My first teaching assignment was for a group of 5-10 year olds, with my best friend and trapeze partner. We were so overwhelmed by the challenge of corralling these kiddos in any semblance of an organized class, but we did have a lot of fun! Thank God we had lots of energy, mats, low equipment, and patient parents. Contrary to some people's belief, teaching children is not "easier" because they may be doing less advanced skills! I apprenticed beside an experienced teacher when I started teaching adults. I think early in my teaching career, I tended to use a lot of words and talk too much. I like the sound of my own voice! One thing that transformed my teaching was going back to school to get a degree as a physical therapist assistant. Through my work in that field, it became so apparent that good teaching involves careful observation and listening. I think the world could use a lot more good listeners. I try to use fewer words now, and give my students space to show me what they need.
Q: What are your primary interests as an instructor/teacher trainer?
As ed director at Frequent Flyers, I trained our new teachers over the course of a school year, and I really enjoyed helping them refine their lesson plans--using different ideas and approaches, and helping them understand that there are so many ways to reach a goal--choosing a different way to get there is fun for the students, but helps keep the teacher excited as well! I love creating a classroom "container" that is inclusive and where students feel safe to share their own ideas, and enjoy working with teachers in training to figure out how to create that for their own students. After teaching many kinds of students, from novices to professionals, I know that my favorite students are intermediate/advanced recreational students--there is something so life-enriching about being able to create a place for adults to explore their playful, resilient, artistic selves.
Q: If you could choose just one thing, what would you like for people to know about teaching in the aerial arts?
Great Teachers are Great Learners. Teaching aerial is a craft that one learns over a long period of time. A beginning teacher will not be a Great Teacher, but should be at the minimum, a safe teacher. An average teacher, however, can become a Great Teacher, with mentorship, curiosity, an appetite for continued learning, and a willingness to work. Embracing the process--the reality that Great takes time and commitment--will allow you to embrace and enjoy where you are in your journey without judgment!
*April will join us if the class has 5 or more participants enrolled by March 15, 2018.
Julianna Hane traded life on a cotton farm to become a dancer and aerialist. She is the Director of Training at Born to Fly, and enjoys nerding out on teaching and anatomy.
Our authors include our Master Teacher Trainers as well as Born to Fly™ Certified Teachers.