Local Aerial Performer Mesmerizes With Gravity-Defying Feats – Long Island Weekly

Aerial sports, epitomized by disciplines like aerial silks, captivate with their graceful blend of athleticism and artistry. Julia Schwing, a high school student at Long Island Lutheran Middle & High School (LuHi Arts Academy) in Brookville, is making a name for herself by doing just that.

Julia Schwing

Performers ascend silk fabrics suspended from above, showcasing strength, flexibility, and sheer elegance. Each movement is a delicate balance of control and fluidity, a dance with gravity itself. Beyond mere physicality, aerial sports demand mental focus and creativity, as participants choreograph routines that mesmerize audiences worldwide.

A Big Win

Shortly before this story went to print, breaking news was reported by Schwing’s mom, Amy, who phoned to report, “Julia just took a gold in Aerialympics Nationals,” that was being held in Kansas City, MO, on Saturday, June 8. Schwing competed on behalf of iFly Trapeze in the advanced event (14-to-17-year-old category), taking first place.

Schwing will perform in a circus cabaret-style performance with iFly Trapeze in Eisenhower Park on June 22. In addition to catching her in a performance, she will teach a summer camp class with the troupe for children. I had a chance to speak with her about her incredible talent.

Julia Schwing

CH: How did you get involved with aerial sports and ultimately with silks?

JS: I have been ice skating competitively since I was about three or four years old. One of my coaches recognized my flexibility and suggested I try contortion. My mom started calling a bunch of places to find contortion lessons. In 2019, I really got involved with contortion and silks; I was about 12 years old. When COVID hit and the places that I regularly train at like iFly Trapeze in Eisenhower Park and Aerial Loft in Mineola were not open, we had silks installed at our house so I could continue training. Ultimately, I would like to perform with Cirque du Soleil.

CH: Can anyone do aerial sports? What makes a good aerialist?

JS: When I started as an aerialist, I had a lot of lower body strength and a lot of flexibility but no upper body strength. It took me months to learn how to climb. Anyone can learn how to do it; my mom has even learned how to do some of the basics on the hammock and hoops. I know of a woman in Nashville, who is in her 70s, and she just started in aerial sports and she’s good. Aerial sports like the hammock, hoops, silks and pole are for everyone, from every walk of life, every fitness level, every age and every body type.

CH: What are the benefits of aerial sports?

JS: People do it because they love performing and they love getting in front of an audience. Performing gives people an opportunity to be creative and gives them a goal to work toward. It is not a traditional fitness outlet like going to the gym or walking on the treadmill. A lot of people like it because it’s something new; it takes fitness to another level. Some people love the dance aspect of it. A lot of people get involved because it helps them to rediscover their creativity.

CH: Tell me about the stigma of circus sports.

JS: I think circus sports have a darker history, but that is evolving. There are a lot of people who are discovering pole dancing and aerial sports and are falling in love with it, how it makes them feel; it’s empowering. Aerial sports have become more of a sport and not just a hobby; in fact, pole dancing and aerial sports are nearing Olympic-level competition. People respect how challenging it is and the athleticism that comes along with it.

Julia Schwing

Circus Cabaret

Schwing will perform on Saturday, June 22, in the iFly Trapeze show “Circus Cabaret. Enjoy a night out with friends and family and see local talent ranging from aerial acts, magic and illusion, cabaret and comedy acts, student acts, and the talented flying trapeze troop.

Tickets are $10 per person for general admission that includes bleacher seating or lawn area for you to bring your own chairs. VIP seating is also available for front row seating that includes a group price ($75) for up to five people. The show will last approximately one hour.

iFly Trapeze is located at Eisenhower Park, directly in front of the aquatic center. The entrance is on Merrick Avenue between Stewart Avenue and Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow.

Visit www.iflytrapeze.com or call 516-640-6995 to buy tickets for the June 22 show and to see a list of other upcoming performances.

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