Dangling & Dementia

A body hangs in a fabric hammock, suspended from a freestanding rig. Drawing in blue and brown.

A body hangs in a fabric hammock, suspended from a freestanding rig.

Drawing in blue and brown lines.

Over the past two weeks I have had the great pleasure and privilege to work with Jess Urwin of Dea Dia Wellbeing on a Zest Project for Bright Shadow.

We have taken one of my small, mobile, aerial rigs to four community centres, enticed the groups’ participants to swing and spin on an aerial hoop, or sit, lie, and relax in an aerial hammock. Admittedly there was a little resistance in the planning stages: Would people engage with this? Would they try it?

The answer came back as a resounding YES!!!

This week I brought juggling beanbags but seriously hadn’t anticipated the laughter that would ring out from each group.

As an absolute novice working with people living with Dementia, these few weeks have been a wonderful learning curve. I strongly believe that everyone should have an opportunity to try new things, step outside their comfort zones, and of course give aerial and circus skills a go, regardless of age or perceived ability.

We have another few weeks working across Canterbury, Whitstable, Dover and Hythe. I know I’ll be sad when the sessions end, but hopefully this is really just the start of something.

Thanks for reading.

Tina Carter


#aerial #circus #dementia #kent #uk #brightshadow #deadiawellbeing #airhedzaerialtraining #old #zest

A Farewell to Guy

I met Guy Hawkins about 13 years ago. He was heading to the gym in the QEII Jubilee Centre in Faversham, saw people suspended in the air, stopped and watched. I was teaching trapeze I think at the time, possibly aerial fabric, but he called over to find out what we were doing. We chatted briefly, and he asked if he could try it.

Guy is upside down, hands and one foot on the ground, the other suspended high in splits on aerial yoga hammock.
The Inimitable Guy Hawkins

“Will you just check your insurance will cover me though,” he asked.

“Why?” I responded, “I’m sure they will.”

On telling me he was 70 I remember being open mouthed in rude shock! Really? You don’t look it at all! And I’m sure any who knew him would agree, he never really acted his age!

I duly called my insurers and let Guy know there was no upper age limit to participating in the classes. It was probably the next week that he joined. I don’t recall his first lesson, but what I will always remember is his unfailing curiosity, his determination to try all he could, to explore ways of combating niggles like dry cold hands that make grip nigh on impossible. NOT doing was rarely an option. He always turned up, even if he’d walked into a lamp, trapped a finger or stubbed a toe at work – he did seem quite accident prone; he would still arrive ready to do as much or as little as he could.

I would sometimes need to bully him to rest and somewhat begrudgingly he’d take a few moments breather; he’d keep his eye on people, offer suggestions, applaud people’s efforts, congratulate big and small successes, and ALWAYS ensure our splits were done correctly. He was after all the master of the splits.

Guy. The studio spaces are less vibrant with you gone. You really are missed. Thank you for everything you gave us.

Tina & Guy look to the camera in exaggerated smiles.
Tina & Guy… being silly!

It may be getting colder… but there’s a smile on my face!

Aerialists hang horizontally off aerial hoops, some reflected in the mirrors.

November already! It’s been an exciting re-opening for Airhedz Aerial Training.

I started a new partnership, working with Affinity Pole Studio in Chestfield, where I now run Aerial Hoop classes for adults and family groups; I get to train a little myself, and it’s a great place to run private classes.

Continue reading “It may be getting colder… but there’s a smile on my face!”

Accessible Aerial… for me!

Close up of a hand wearing a wrist support. Socked feet are in the far distance below left.

I turned 50 and my body started to rebel. Holding on is getting harder, but letting go? That’s not an option.

I have been exceptionally lucky in my life. I know this. Much of the time, I get to do what I want. I’m my own boss. I make decisions about what and how to do things, and although there are of course significant times of doubt, fear, frustration and panic, it’s not a bad position to be in. Most of the time.

Then some days I just don’t FEEL lucky!

Continue reading “Accessible Aerial… for me!”