Student of the Month

April 2014
Claire Hilleren
What brought you to Bumbershoot Aerial Arts?
I first learned about silks while in school at Webster University, and that was when I fell in love with aerial dance. After graduating in 09 i was devastated because Webster changed their policy on when you can use the equipment. I didn't know where I was going to continue my love for flying in the air. Then that fall Bumbershoot opened, and a friend that I should check it out, so I did. I fell in love immediately the colors and atmosphere was perfect, I never turned back.
What is your favorite apparatus to work on?
This is tough one, I am really torn between silks and rope. RIght now I think I will say Rope. It is a perfect balance between silks and trapeze. It can act as a bar when it is held tightly, or it can be languid and free like silks.
What is your favorite thing about Bumbershoot?
The acceptance that everything and everybody has a different learning process. Whenever I talk about Bumbershoot to outsiders I tell them that they won't find a more welcoming gym to go to, and they will feel comfortable trying new and scary things.
What kinds of things do you do when you aren’t hanging in the air?
Oooh so many things - I dance for MADCO (Modern American Dance Company), and work part-time for a School Information System (FastDirect Communications) doing customer support. I am currently planning my wedding in September and helping my fiance garden and turn our backyard into yummy vegetables and fruit. I play with my incredibly cute and spoiled dog, Kali. In general I sing and dance around my house acting life a crazy person most of the time.
When you are having a tough day in class, what do you tell yourself?
Don't give up, take a break and try again. I will also visualize what I want to happen, and I say "I CAN do it". I know this is cliche but it really does work, positive thoughts can do wonders.
Do you have a favorite memory from class or performing?
This is a hard one I feel like there are so many. I have to say this past Showcase Laura was cracking me up with her emceeing. Showcase is always fun, but I think the Love showcase was awesome, so many great moments in one night.
What is your favorite music?
I like alt-rock, fusion of jazz and funk, and anything that you can dance to.
What advice would you give to people about Showcase?
Don't stress, there are no judgements at Bumbershoot. Also, from experience there is no better time to be "in the moment" than while performing. The audience can feel when your brain has taken over and the movement is no longer coming from your physical and emotional being. As performers we strive to make the audience feel something, so in turn we need to feel something. By being present for every moment you choreographed can help facilitate the magic that can happen. Also one act tends to fly by, so make sure you enjoy it while it's happening.
What classes are you taking next session?
Rope, and continuing to work on silks and trapeze at open.
What is your philosophy of aerial and life?
Take it one step at a time. I learned that I get stressed and overwhelmed easily and in order to live the crazy life that I do I had to learn (through yoga) that you can take each task as it comes, and you need to live in that moment as much as possible. This can be a great way to look at aerial work too. You can't get discouraged when certain tricks or elements take a long time to master; you have to be thankful for the little improvements that are made each time you work. When I can unify my mental and physical body I find that I can do things I formerly thought were impossible (i.e. one-armed hangs anyone?)
Past Students of the Month