Meghan Schech wants to help people rise to new heights, literally.
While the aerial acrobat might dream of producing a circus arts show that combines musical theatre and acrobatics, Schech has wrapped herself in launching CircoFit, a circus-training program.
A seven-year veteran of Edmonton’s Firefly Theatre, she is taking her aerial arts hobby one step further. She is offering eight-week aerial silks classes at Saint City Cross-Fit starting Jan. 9 and 10.
Although a full-time microbiology lab assistant at Innovatech, Schech hopes to follow her passion and eventually make circus her career.
“With classes, I can share what I love with other people,” said Schech, a St. Albert resident.
A university friend first introduced her to the circus arts.
“I thought it was going to be a clown show and went because he was my friend. But it looked like Cirque du Soleil and when I saw him up there, I thought, ‘Wow, real people do that.’ I wanted to try it, went to Firefly theatre and have never stepped back,” she said.
As part of the Firefly Theatre troupe on silks, Schech has performed at K-Days, the Stollery Snowflake Festival, the Art Gallery of Alberta and in St. Albert at the lieutenant-governor’s Award ceremony.
Back in 2008, Schech further honed her circus arts skills with a four-month stint training at the grueling San Francisco Circus Centre.
“I worked hard there. I wanted to make my time count. San Francisco is an interesting place to live and it was incredible to have four months there to pursue something I’m so passionate about.”
While most people’s knees would turn to jelly at the thought of dancing 15 metres in the air without a supporting net, Schech is in her glory.
“First and foremost I have always loved performance. I grew up surrounded in musical theatre and when I found out about aerial circus, I found a way to tell a story in a different way. And when you are 30 feet above people, you know they are watching,” she laughs.
But it’s more than audience attention that inspires Schech. It was the introduction to fitness that keeps every muscle in her body firm and toned.
For CircoFit, Schech has invested in three silks that hang from the cross-fit studio’s 20-foot rafters. A maximum of six people per class is permitted.
“I want to start simply. I’ve built a curriculum from scratch and I’ll have two people per set of silks.”
At first, students will learn the fundamental skills and building blocks before attempting to master the silks. That means working arms, shoulders, abdominals, legs and back.
“As students get stronger and move with confidence, they can climb a couple feet at a time until they are confident about reaching the top.”
“Circus is a really good for transitional movement because the body moves through so many different positions twisting, turning and pulling. It’s a very good way of conditioning the body overall.”
The eight-week classes run every Saturday starting Jan. 9 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and every Sunday starting Jan. 10 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. No experience is necessary. To register visit circofit.ca.