Today we’d like to introduce you to Colleen Dunleap.
Colleen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I came to Los Angeles in 2013 as a dancer and a theatrical maverick. But I had a really hard time adjusting and finding where my place was in this crazy town. I started to look for new ways to dance when I came across Aeriform Arts. It was an aerial fitness studio which focused on dance and community. I immediately fell in love and dedicated all of my free time to practicing and learning the craft of aerial dance and circus fitness. After two years of studying multiple apparatuses and styles, I began teaching my first Lyra/Aerial Hoop class with Aeriform Arts. I loved explaining and sharing the incredible challenge of trying to safely turn your world upside down. As time went on I began teaching more classes on different apparatuses including Silks, Hammock, and Aerial Cube. I also helped create Aeriform Art’s Aerial Youth program, teaching aerial dance to kids from ages 8-17. After almost six years from my first Aerial Arts class I still find loving see the joy on my student’s faces when they surprise themselves in the air. While you are likely to find me flying or dancing around town, the most likely place to spot me is at Aeriform Arts, either teaching one of my many classes or taking a class from my awesome fellow instructors.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has certainly not been the easiest of paths to get to where I am. Spending anywhere between 3 – 6 hours a day working out, stretching, and training certainly takes its toll, I’ve pulled muscles, gotten dollar-sized bruises, burnt my skin off, and even fallen once or twice. But with a community like you find at Aeriform Arts it’s hard to stay down. There’s always someone who has been there before and ready to cheer you on when you try again. Mistakes become lessons, and success leaves you hungry for more.
Please tell us about Aeriform Arts.
Aeriform Arts can be simply put as a Circus and Pole fitness studio. But as soon as you walk through the door you realize there is nothing simple about it. Seeing people hang from a giant suspended cube, hearing clack of the pole heels, or watching someone safely drop 10 feet in the air may seem intimidating at first glance. But one of the first things you learn at Aeriform Arts is acceptance. No matter where your fitness level is at, Aeriform Arts is for everyone and every BODY.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Lea Walker and Al Ruggiero are the incredible owners of Aeriform Arts. They are the creators of the Aeriform Arts community and the best bosses in town. I am so grateful to them for the encouragement, mentorship, and for taking a chance on an unknown 20 something kid. They gave me a work study job way back when I first came to Los Angeles. Little did we know back then that I would not only go on to teach a multitude of classes for them but also that we would create two fantabulous original Aerial productions for the Hollywood fringe festival.
- Single Aerial Class (Kids or Adult) $30
- 1 Hour Private lesson (Kids or Adult) $150
- Address: 1276 Van Ness Ave Los Angeles, CA 90038
- Website: https://www.aeriformarts.com/
- Phone: (323) 466-2374
- Email: AeriformArts@gmail.com
- Instagram: Aeriform Arts
- Facebook: Aeriform Arts
- Twitter: Aeriform Arts
George Simian, Vanessa Woods, Carlos Suarez, Colleen Dunleap