◊ THE CLASS: Newbie Aerial Silks ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
Fitted athletic gear
The Circus Fix is officially the most unique and non-mainstream fitness class we’ve been to, to date. To be honest we didn’t even totally realise what we were getting ourselves into until we arrived. Even though we knew we were trying an aerial silks class, we half expected it to be aerial yoga, which it is not. I repeat, it is not. This is a much more difficult, raw strength, non-zen version of aerial yoga, but so fun. Basically, if you’ve ever wondered how they do all the things at a Cirque De Soleil show, this is your chance to dive into that world. Different from an aerial yoga class where the silks are a connected loop dropping from the ceiling, the silks at Circus Fix are two straight-up, long-ass pieces of silk dropping from the ceiling and ALL the work is up to you to get anywhere. Literally getting a foot off the ground was a massive achievement, and that’s not because I’m pregnant. It took all four of us an hour to get higher than a meter, and the next day we felt like we had done 350 push-ups and were getting early on-set arthritis in our hands. Fear not – that lasted a day, and all our hands are completely back to normal, albeit stronger and now aware of their insane capability. What starts out as an intimidating Cirque De Soleil play date, turns out to be an intense workout for your core, shoulders, arms and hands and challenges your strength in ways you wouldn’t expect. If you’re looking for a wicked way to switch up your conventional fitness class routine, then most definitely give this charming studio and workout technique a try. It’ll flash you back to gym class and that 12-year-old firecracker pursuing her olympic gold medalist goals. No, just me?
The Circus Fix is located in Leslieville just south of Lakeshore Blvd a few minutes east of the DVP. It’s definitely in an industrial area, surrounded by warehouses and studios, however because of it’s accessibility to major roads, it’s quick to get to from just about anywhere. For us, it was a 10-minute drive from downtown TO, and parking is easy (and free) with plenty of space out front. On street parking is available on Carlaw Avenue North of Lake Shore Blvd and on Commisioner Rd as well if needed, but apparently most surrounding businesses are gone by 4:30pm, so evening and weekend parking is a breeze. Although there aren’t a ton of options if taking public transport, there are TTC buses that stop right at the door. The entrance to Circus Fix is one and the same as Studio Flux which is the name on the garage door. They also temporarily share the same building with the community staple, YOGAthletix, who are located upstairs.
The Circus Fix offers classes and training for all levels from newbies to advanced. There’s a range of circus-esk classes offered from aerial silks (what we tried) to aerial hoop, air conditioning, and aerial hammock (which is like a traditional aerial yoga class.) Not all classes involve the giant silks that hang from the ceiling though, there are also plenty of mat classes like handstands, hula hoop class and circus splits. TCF is also a wicked place for kids, as they provide after school kids circus classes, teen aerial class, and in the summer they have kids camps that run for ~6 weeks. There’s also an open gym slot everyday anywhere from 10am to 2:30pm Monday-Friday, or 3:30-5:30pm on Sundays, for intermediate/advanced students. It’s supervised, but not instructed, and is a time for current students to work on perfecting sequences, techniques, and poses learned during classes. For a little somethin’ somethin’ extra they also have the The Boudoir Circus which is collaboration between The Circus Fix & Scandaleuse Photography to create tasteful and beautiful boudoir photography with a twist, on an aerial apparatus, posing gracefully. Best of luck.
Class prices at Circus Fix are a bit tough to follow and vary depending on the activity you want to do, see the full offering here. Single sessions for non-silks are $25 and $31 for silks before tax which is more than most spin classes, Reformer Pilates or row classes but with less equipment. More on the studio vibe below, but the studio is very much like an open gym with basic amenities, no showers or fluffy extras, so when you combine that with somewhat basic equipment, we were surprised to see the higher price tag. What also seemed a bit odd to us was some class passes don’t provide a price discount and some do. Typically as you commit to a studio and buy in bulk it drives down the price, but if you buy 4 or 8 passes for non-silk classes for example, the prices are the same.
- Open Gym: $10.61
- Open Gym Monthly: $88.50
- Single Session No Silks (Splits, Handstands, Hula Hoop): $24.97
- 4 Class Pass No Silks: $89 ($22 per)
- 8 Class Pass No Silks: $177 ($22 per)
- Single Session Silks: $31
- 4 Class Pass Silks: $108 ($27 per)
- 8 Class Pass Silks: $204 ($25 per)
The layout of The Circus Fix is one big open gym space. The bright white studio has neon-colored silks dropping from the high ceilings with mats surrounding the space that can be moved in our added on whenever needed. There is no sign-in desk or foyer, you walk right into the space, where there are wall hooks, benches and shelving to leave your belongings. There is a single mens/womens washroom (sans shower) and small change room but that’s as far as the amenities go, it’s all about being in the big gym. Up the stairs is the entrance to YOGAthletix which is a separate yoga, Barre and fitness class studio. Overall, the vibe is very much like being in a beautiful version of your elementary school or gymnastic club gym; big, open, and plenty of room to play.
- Washroom with hair ties and band-aids
- Change room
The Circus Fix is the brain child of the ultra inspiring, fit beauty, Jamie Holmes. Her career has taken her around the world performing on cruise ships and on the Vegas stage and when living in Vegas the circus bug bit her. After being a dancer first, she shifted her focus to Aerial Acrobatics training and the rest was history. She moved to Toronto and filled a gap in the market for an aerial silks studio that is just as welcoming to beginners as it is to seasoned aerial artists. Jamie is the primary teacher at Circus Fix, but her small staff of around 4 includes some of Toronto’s top aerial and circus performers; Wesley Janetta, Dino Goncalves, Christopher Taylor, and Glory Dearling. You’ve likely seen them perform at various events that feature an aerial artist around town, these guys are constantly on the move. Also weddings, Jamie told us there seems to be a movement of people hiring aerial performers even for non-circus themed weddings. #trending
After we got over Jamie’s amazing arms and insanely fit body (proof of what can occur if you pick up aerial), Jamie’s teaching style was exactly what we needed. Cheerful, with real life getting-to-know-us chatter throughout the class, paired with very thorough and precise instructions, demos and tons of encouragement. She was very careful to ensure we were doing everything safely and properly before we moved on to something more advanced and she was very flexible with the flow of the class, molding the exercises to our skill level and our interests.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
We tried the Newbie Aerial Silks class, obviously, which focuses on teaching the foundations of aerial silks. It’s imperative, by the way, if you’re new to silks to sign-up for the Newbie class. Regardless of how fit, or how much of a gymnastics background you have, or how much of a monkey you may be, we promise the newbie class is where you need to start. And also, probably the only place Jamie will let you start. What blew our minds about this class was how physically demanding it really was. Not that we expected it to be easy by any stretch of the imagination, but what surprised us was just how MUCH strength you require in very specific, particular muscles that typically don’t get a lot of air time in other fitness classes.
With 4 of us from Fit-City in attendance, we started off the class with a 10-minute warm-up on the mats facing each other in a circle. The warm-up was full-body, incorporated bits of yoga and dance and addressed everything from our side body and abs to our our hands and wrists – which require extra care in this class. Then we got into it and tried only about 6 positions in the end that slowly built on each other. Each position started out with a way to first get off the ground, and there are apparently a handful of techniques to try. Getting off the ground involved utilising the silks to wrap our feet, ankles or legs and then using our upper body, hands and pure strength to hoist us up. There is a lot of ab work to get anything done and it’s easy to overcompensate in other areas of your body and do it incorrectly, hence the small classes, careful instruction and requirement to only try Newbie until your actually skilful enough to move on. Once off the ground (which 3 of us only got a foot off of, Miss K was the monkey of our group and scaled the silks), Jamie would walk us through ways to manoeuvre our body to unwrap our ankles or legs, climb higher and re-wrap mid-air. So hard, guys. In the end we successfully executed about 5 positions OFF the ground and even flipped mid air! We did some fun poses at the end that were pretty in photos, obvi, and then cooled down with a stretching sequence that focused on our wrists, hands (including each finger) and our abs.
The next day we were all consistently sore in our shoulders, abs, and forearms – no surprise. We had such a fun time and would love to return and hone in on our newfound silk skills, but above anything else we have a MUCH deeper appreciation for circus things and the art of aerial.
To try this class, or anything else on Circus Fix’s schedule, see their below info.
The Circus Fix Web: www.thecircusfix.ca PHONE | 416.807.9707 Instagram | Facebook