My Acrobatic Journey [Pt. 2]

My Acrobatic Journey [Pt. 2]

I’m Felicity Azura and I recently wrote about how poledancing has opened the door to so many opportunities for me.

I have been trained on 7 different apparatuses, but let’s focus today on lyra hoop.

Lyra is my comfort apparatus. To be honest, I didn’t consider pole a comfort apparatus of mine until after I became a stripper. I learned how to dance on poles and lyras during the same week back in February 2018.

A lyra hoop is a suspended circular apparatus made of steel. Non-acrobats typically refer to them as “the big ring”. But lyra hoops vary in size from a 50 cm diameter or about 97 cm diameter. Lyras are supposed to be covered in tape to prevent people from accidentally slipping off.

Someone on my premium snapchat subsidized my first lyra lesson. My first generous client from sex work and I are no longer in contact.

I still remember his name. I do miss him every once in a while. I probably would not be where I am today if it weren’t for him.

Unlike poledancing, lyra doesn’t have its roots in sex work. So I’ve never met any obnoxious lyra aerialists who think they’re superior to strippers simply because they don’t get paid to dance naked on poles [1]. Meanwhile, I’ve only had positive experiences with lyra instructors and other aerial hoop students. You'd think that pole studios would be more pro-sex work than aerial gyms. It has been the opposite in my experience [2].

There are plenty of aerial gyms that mainly teach kids. Before the pandemic, I was an assistant youth instructor at my favourite aerial studio. I’ve never felt ostracised for my occupation at kid-friendly circus gyms [3]. In fact, plenty of instructors at circus gyms are also sex workers/former sex workers. There are some strip clubs (worldwide!) that have aerial hoops in addition to stripper poles. I can attest that lyras are the second-best apparatus to dance on whilst wearing 6 inch heels.

I still remember the name of my first lyra instructor. She eventually opened up her own pole studio. I sadly never took a class there before it shut down (during the early days of the pandemic). She now works at a cat shelter!

If you have been making excuses as to why you’ve never taken your first lyra class before--this is your sign to stop procrastinating. Life is too short.

I began modeling in early 2019. I’ve done boudoir, editorial, fully nude, acrobatic modeling...acrobatic modeling is my favourite because not every model is capable of doing what I do. There's a catch, though. I prefer to work with photographers who are also acrobats [4].

The last photoshoot I had before my country quarantined was a “powder photoshoot on lyra”. Powder creates wonderfully conceptual photographs. My photographer was also a lyra artist so that was helpful. Whenever I ran out of ideas for poses on his lyra, he always had easy suggestions. His assistant threw powder at me and the photos came out phenomenally. When I begin publishing my own books, I plan on using photos from that shoot for the cover.

A huge misconception about acrobatic dancers is that we oil our bodies before performing. Our skin actually needs to be as dry as possible to prevent, I-kid-you-not, life or death emergencies. I don’t wanna scare anyone. Every aerial teacher I’ve asked told me they have seen more people injure themselves from walking on stairs than from doing acrobatics.

A circus troupe in my area recently had a celestial-themed showcase on youtube. I submitted a video of myself looking like an adorable alien on lyra [5]. It was my first circus performance that wasn’t for a competition or a student recital. I was compensated by the troupe when I honestly did not expect to earn anything. I asked viewers of the virtual show to donate to a sex worker’s rights organization (that I’ve been volunteering for since the start of the pandemic...hopefully at least one person did).

Contrary to popular belief, you can make a living doing aerial arts without joining Cirque Du Soleil. In addition to being a teacher or performer, plenty of lyra artists are aerial bartenders.

Yes, you read that right. And all three are the end goal for me.

Aerial bartenders pour alcohol for guests at high-profile events like weddings, corporate dinners, grand openings, and basketball halftime shows. Most of them are contractors hired by talent agencies. One agency in my area recently reached out to me and asked me to send them an audition video. I’m guessing they want me to show off my moves, and not send them a four hour long video of me hanging my legs on a hoop whilst holding a wine bottle. I’m currently prioritizing my degree but I’m auditioning for that agency after I graduate.

But until then I’ll keep training, selling my used underwear, and producing my podcast [6].

 

[1] Yes, pole hobbyists like that exist. That’s why so many strippers detest non-strippers making a living teaching other hobbyists how to pole dance.

[2] For example, one pole studio owner (it shut down last year) hired a former stripper to be a teacher and reprimanded her for dressing sexy when she pole dances. Did I mention she also banned stripper shoes within her pole studio?

[3] And for the record, I only talk about my occupation when none of the kiddos are within earshot.

[4] I had one photographer I hired for JUST editorial photos. I told him I’m a poledancer and he then told me to do an Iron X on a street lamp...that was far too wide for me to grip, even if I COULD do an Iron X. We took tons of editorial photos for hours and all he sent back were two headshots. Quite unprofessional if you ask me.

[5] My choreography to If You Love Me

[6] Pro Cuddle Hustle Podcast is on 17 different audio platforms

My Acrobatic Journey [Pt. 2]2