Ashley has been practicing aerial arts for 4 years.
A former early childhood educator, currently obtaining a Masters in Counseling and LPCC with desires to improve mental health among at-risk children in the future
A mother of 2, 1 of which enjoys aerial as much as mom, the other plays competitive soccer, enjoys traveling, reading, spending time with her children, cooking, and hiking
How was your first aerial class and what made you go back?
I went to my first silks class after my (much) younger sister encouraged me to give it a try. I had always enjoyed sports such as gymnastics and diving but had been focused on raising my two young children and letting my hobbies fade into the background. I was immediately hooked on aerial because for the first time since I became a mom I was focused just on myself. Something about being suspended from the ceiling and using your muscles in new ways really encourages a kind of focus that I had been looking for. Plus, seeing what my body was capable of and always pushing for more kept me coming back for more and more!
Traditional silks and hammock are my favorite. Silks were my first apparatus, and will always be my first love, but after about two years of training silks, I began training hammock and fell in love with the natural spin, flow, and tight hugs that hammock offers!
Prior to the pandemic, I was a Preppy-K teacher. So, teaching (especially children) has always been a passion of mine. However, what makes teaching aerial near and dear to my heart is the mental health component that it provided for me, and that I hope to be able to pass along. During difficult times in my life, aerial was there to remind me that I can do difficult things. In addition to helping students become proficient in aerial, I also strive to help everyone achieve the feelings of accomplishment and happiness that I derive from aerial as well.
To me, inclusivity is what makes UAF special. No matter who walks through the door, you feel like you have been welcomed into a big aerial family. From professional aerialists to first-day beginners, we support and cheer for each other.