Pursuing a Career in Performance with Aerial Dance Artist Amy Schulster- EP054

 In Podcast

Circus hurts. In training sessions, you get bruised and burned, you fall down. But the joy that comes from having a platform to express yourself, to become something outside yourself and communicate through art inspires Amy Schulster to pursue a career as a performer.




Amy is a freelance aerial dance artist in New York City specializing in dance, aerial and choreography. She has a background in classical ballet and a BFA in Dance and Urban Design from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Amy trained with the Professional Training Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts before joining the Company and Teaching Faculty at Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance in Boulder for the 2015-2016 season. Today, she trains clients in acrobatic conditioning, performs with aerial partner Christie Palermo as Femmes de Flight, and does solo appearances at venues like Webster Hall, Dixon Place, and Muse Brooklyn.

On this episode of Ali Fitness, Amy explains the lifestyle of a freelance aerial dancer, sharing her training schedule as well as the different types of performance opportunities in New York City. She walks us through her background in dance, her transition to trapeze, and the motivation behind her choice to be a performer. Amy offers insight into the world of classical ballet, discussing the health issues that plague many dancers and her own experience with rejection. Listen in to find out what inspires Amy to take the stage—even when ‘circus hurts’—and hear her advice for beginners interested in aerial dance.

Topics Covered

[0:45] The lifestyle of a freelance aerial dancer

  • Requires thick skin, intense training
  • Always learning new skills
  • Competitive environment
[2:42] Amy’s performances in NYC

  • Nightlife (i.e.: burlesque, music venues)
  • Entertainment for parties
  • Physical/immersive theatre
[3:41] A day in the life of an aerial performer

  • Work in training around job as PT
  • No time off, must be performance-ready
[5:34] What Amy’s training looks like

  • 3-4 hours/day, 5-6 days/week
  • Warmup core, muscles around joints
  • Develop upper body strength
  • Conditioning days, choreography days
[9:54] How Amy recovers from intense training

  • Higher volume, fewer days
  • Eat well, drink water and sleep
[10:54] Amy’s background in dance

  • Ballet training from 10-18 (Russian technique)
  • NYU for dance opened eyes to choreography
[14:34] Amy’s transition to trapeze

  • Dislocated ankle in gymnastics accident
  • Gym had aerial and trapeze, trained with coach
  • Circus school in Vermont, joined Frequent Flyers
[19:20] Amy’s experience with rejection in the ballet world

  • Served as apprentice at ballet company
  • Contract not renewed based on physique
[20:29] Health issues among ballet dancers

  • Eating disorders, body dysmorphia
[22:19] The health of performers in the trapeze world

  • More accepting, community-oriented
  • Diversity of skill sets
[23:50] Amy’s support from family and friends

  • Balancing training with school difficult
  • Parents unusually supportive of performing
[26:17] Why Amy chose to be a performer

  • Form of communication, self-expression
  • Joy from music, movement and storytelling
[28:50] Amy’s advice for people interested in aerial dance

  • Look for beginner class at circus/dance studio
  • Very physical, but accessible to anybody

Learn More About Amy

Amy’s Website

Amy on Instagram

Amy on YouTube


Frequent Fliers Aerial Dance




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