Following the Lancaster Performing Arts Showcase last week, SCAN interviewed aerial performer Ju Ribeiro to find out more about Aerial Circus.
Ju Ribeiro is a third year Biology and Psychology student. Originally from Portugal, Ju moved to the UK to study at Lancaster University.
Growing up she used to love watching Cirque du Soleil shows and still proudly owns the DVDs. She used to watch them over and over again, in awe of every performance. Ju said that she’s always enjoyed sports, especially those where you get to express yourself, like dancing. So when she heard about the LU Magic & Circus Society at the Fresher’s Fair, it felt like where she belonged.
When asked about the most dangerous skills she had learnt so far, Ju began by explaining that although Aerial Circus is seen as a particularly dangerous sport/art, the vast majority of aerial moves aren’t inherently dangerous when performed with appropriate experience and safety conditions.
Ju felt that with any sport things can go wrong even if we control everything, whereas this isn’t really the case with Aerial Circus. For example, beginner and intermediate drops are actually very safe as long as the wraps are done properly prior to the drop and there is enough height.
But in terms of the most ‘dangerous’ skill she has learnt so far, she felt it would have to be the double 360˚ drop, simply because it requires more awareness as the person doing it has to keep track of where their hands go during the fall.
One of the most common questions when it comes to sports/arts such as Aerial Circus is, do you need to be flexible? Ju confirmed that you definitely don’t need to be flexible to start learning aerials. She felt it’s a skill that will help with some moves, but it’s something that you can develop over time.
When asked about her ambitions for the future, Ju expressed that she hadn’t thought about it much but would love to continue performing aerials for the rest of her life. One of the aerial artists Ju is most inspired by is Cirque du Soleil artist, Mizuki Shinagawa, primarily for the insane and contagious energy she gives to each performance. Although Ju felt she’d probably never reach this same point, she thinks it’s good to aim high. She also expressed that she would enjoy maybe getting a teaching certificate at some point.
When asked to describe Aerial Circus in one word, Ju chose ‘rollercoaster’. She felt that the process of learning new skills in aerial silks can be full of ‘ups’ and ‘downs’. Then when it comes to doing drops in silks, it physically feels like you’re on a rollercoaster; you don’t know what’s going on until you get all the way down!