The Sky’s the Limit- Aerial Success!
So last Thursday a group of my friends and I from Warwick Pole and Aerial Arts society took on the Inter-University Aerial Hoop Competition, which this year was being hosted at Royal Holloway, University of London. The whole experience was an incredible day, and we did have a lot of fun.
We started out with a fairly early morning to get ready, as we either had to be picked up or at the train station at 7:30 AM. We knew that we would be starting at the competition fairly quickly after arriving, so we had to go with all of our hair and makeup done in advance. As anyone familiar with stage makeup will know, it can look quite intense out of context. So given I was doing a villainous routine for my solo, I was quite glad that all of my neighbours appeared to still be in bed while I was walking through Canley.
The car ride didn’t take too long when we picked everyone up. We were on the road with everyone by around 8 AM, and had made it to the competition by 10. From then onwards it became a flurry of stage safety checks, finishing touches for hair and makeup, putting costumes on and warming up. I was competing in both beginner solo and group category, which was the first and last section of the day, as well as helping friends with hair and makeup throughout, so it was quite a busy day. The drama for me was only increased, when one of the ribbons used to secure my cape (a key part of my costume and my routine) snapped as I walked round to the stage. However, a quick bit of last-minute thinking got everything sorted, and all was good again!
I loved performing my solo on the stage. It felt so great to be showcasing what I’ve learned in the six months I have been doing hoop. I’ve always found so much joy in performing, and telling a story, so combining it with skill, and plenty of dramatic flourish was perfect for me. Sure, the routine may not have gone perfectly as planned, but it still worked really well, so I’m still proud of it.
After I finished my solo, I felt so amazing. I don’t think I can ever explain the feeling of having some of your closest friends cheering for you, knowing that you have left your heart on the stage and just hit an amazing routine. Then, it was my turn to watch as my incredibly talented friends took to the stage for the intermediate and advanced categories. I felt so proud, watching them all on the stage delivering beautiful routines. I knew how hard they had all worked, how many times they had fallen out of sections to rise back up again. It was also really interesting to see what other universities did, to see different styles of routine being performed, and tricks I hadn’t come across before but now want to try….
After an incredible performance by one of the judges, it was time for the group. We had all put so much into this routine and were the largest of all the groups competing that day, so the pressure was on. The most important thing to all of us was to enjoy ourselves, making the most of the time we have together before some of our group members graduate in a few months’ time. So, we had some more fudge (made by one of our society who came along to support us) and took to the stage. The routine went well with only the occasional hiccup. Sections that had never quite seemed to go to plan before suddenly worked with ease, which was incredible. You could even say we killed our James Bond routine……
The awards were an interesting time. Would our routines be good enough to win? Sure, we had put out phenomenal routines, but the other entries were all great too…… We started going through awards in the order of the categories from the day. I got first place in the beginner solo category, with the other entry from Warwick taking second with her beautiful Tangled theme routine. Then, a nightmare-inspired routine saw our advanced soloist take first too. Our group came third overall, and our beautiful intermediate soloists didn’t place, although they were in the biggest category of the day, and should absolutely still be commended for their incredible routines.
At the end of the day, we all returned to the university proud of how we did. We’ve had such an incredible experience with this whole process, and now we’re even more driven for success next year. Because I won my category, next year I will have to go into the fierce competition at the intermediate level. Might sound scary, but I’m already looking forward to the challenge, and to choreographing my routines again.