CHENNAI: Imagine looking up at the sky and seeing a beautiful angel dance. Austria-based Julia Pauer, an aerial silk performer, is all set to mesmerise Chennaiites with her performance, which quite literally, we need to ‘look up to’. With the idea of redefining the use of silk, for fitness and fun, this youngster has built her life in the air and the sky is her playground of joy and happiness. The base of any aerial acrobatic act is to develop flexibility and core strength. “Fitness is a mantra that is attained when you expand your ability and challenge your limits,” says Julia.
She joined contemporary dancer Terence Lewis’ company in Mumbai in 2014 and was introduced to Mallakhamba (a traditional Indian sport). That paved her way into aerial acrobatics. Aerial silk is all about the various transitions, music and typical fitness regime. She also takes regular classes in Austria and a few workshops during her frequent visits to India.
“I am a beginner at aerial silks and Julia is my teacher. I must say, she is exceptionally good at it,” smiles Arun Srinivasan, Julia’s fiancé, who is also a member of Salsa Madras community. The couple often travel together and take part in various dance festivals. While talking about the risks involved while performing in air, she says, “There are hardly any. I was never afraid of heights and it’s all about trusting yourself.” The classes or ‘jamming sessions’, that she conducts in India, are fun as participants are often from different backgrounds.
A challenge in practising any aerial act is the availability of an open space and ceiling that is strong enough to support your body. “There are different ways of performing with aerial silk like tying the lycra fabric silk on your feet, arms, hips or just suspending it down the ceiling,” she shares. In her sessions she focuses on fitness and the ability to lift oneself, for beginners and skills and act of transition is taught to experts.
“Experience is my best teacher. I would never say that aerial silk is hard because it’s just about being aware of your body. Self confidence motivates you to perform various acts,” she says. Julia wants to set up a studio where people can exchange their talents, art and the wisdom of dance.
The crowd down south is not very aware of this form, but in Mumbai, it is popular. Julia was convinced by the Salsa Madras community and Arun to conduct a workshop in the city. “Now I love Chennai; the food and people are really nice here. I am learning konjam Tamil also,” she laughs.
Julia and Arun were featured in a dance movie, Promised Land. This three-and-a-half minute video has become popular for its excellent choreography, screenplay and direction. It has also been selected to be screened at the Chennai International Short Film festival this month.
Julia’s workshop will be held at Zorba, RA Puram on Feb 17&18. For details call: 8122072572