A Word From Joelle Pendergrass
Founder, Bumbershoot Aerial Arts
Aerial Art is physical movement, often dance-like or acrobatic in nature, performed while suspended in the air. I have been teaching, performing, and exploring Aerial work for almost 12 years now. I started Bumbershoot in 2009 because I couldn’t stop dreaming about it and I really wanted the place I was dreaming of to exist in St Louis. Bumbershoot has continued to grow and many amazing people have come along side me and helped Bumbershoot to become more of what I believe it was always meant to be. I have been blessed to see beauty and health come through Aerial Arts in countless ways but below are a few that are particularly dear to the heart of Bumbershoot. Physical outlet, Creative outlet, Therepeutic medium.
Aerial work is a fun, unique, and effective workout. Aerialists are known for their upper body and core strength as well as flexibility, control, and grace. Aerialists use muscles not often targeted in day-to-day life or even inside most workout regiments and the results over time are dramatic. Although Aerial can be intimidating, Bumbershoot is unique in that we specialize in making it approachable and doable for complete beginners. I have found that there is a magic that happens when people start to feel themselves getting stronger and begin to be able to manipulate their own bodies more easily and with more control. The bodies themselves also begin to transform. Lean, toned muscles appear where before they were not! Its also really fun and exciting which makes it a perfect fit for the person who gets bored going to the gym or doesn’t like working out. Some people already have some strength when they come to us but most people are not and its a really big deal when they are able to do their first pullup. The focus at Bumbershoot is very much on building a respectful, positive, working relationship with your body and letting this inform what you do and how you do it. Aerial work is a wonderful avenue to build this kind of relationship.
Aerial Art is a great way to express yourself and explore your more creative side! Humans have been inspired by flight and weightlessness since forever and aerial work plays with exactly that! Bumbershoot is a place where finding and developing your sense of play is highly valued. We find that most adults have forgotten how to play and often need a guiding hand and the right environment to help them remember and Bumbershoot seeks to be exactly that. We’ve also found that a strong spirit of community results and groups bond over a shared commitment to finding creativity with authentic expression in a safe and supportive environment.
Aerial Art is a wonderful mixture of challenge, acceptance, and satisfaction. Initially, it can be a little intimidating. For some people, just showing up for the first class may rightfully deserve a thunderous round of applause! And at Bumbershoot you are likely to get it. This is the beginning. Aerial work is very empowering because it is a natural therapeutic medium for overcoming fear, trusting oneself, and accomplishing the seemingly impossible. You will find excitement in the personal journey and value in the role you share in journeys of others. Bumbershoot provides a very nurturing and noncompetitive environment. We love to celebrate every step that is taken and share in the excitement that fills the room. The challenges and accomplishments you experience with Aerial work are multidimensional; I think this is one of the reasons that it is so rewarding. There is something very right and wholesome about combining the physical, emotional, and spiritual in one experience.