Studio Profile: Flying High with Molly Alghussain at Aerial Theory Fitness

Is your fitness program uninspired and stale? Mix up your tired routine by taking your workout to new heights at Aerial Theory Fitness! This revolutionary fitness studio, located at the Coastal Gymnastics & Dance Academy in Northern San Diego features a wide variety of classes for both adults and children. The schedule is packed with innovative classes ranging from introductory to intermediate and beyond to ensure every student enjoys an unforgettable and challenging fitness experience. Exciting aerial hammock and aerial yoga classes are offered for advanced students looking to take their aerial arts practice further.

The fun and safe Aerial Theory Fitness studio provides a welcoming and encouraging environment for students to explore the aerial arts while feeling confident and secure. With years of both performance and teaching experience under their belts Aerial Theory Fitness owner Molly Alghussain and aerial arts instructor Susan Taylor are ready to help students soar! These two knowledgeable and extremely talented instructors lead students through aerial fitness classes while focusing on building strength and increasing flexibility. Small classes sizes enable the dedicated instructors to provide incomparable hands on training.

We spoke with Aerial Theory Fitness owner and instructor Molly Alghussain about her fitness background and how it feels to fly.

Can you share what first drew you in the air?

I was a gymnast from pre-school through high school. It was a big chunk of my childhood and adolescence. After college I was looking for something like gymnastics, but once you are twenty-five you gain grandma status in gymnastics. I wanted something similar which wouldn’t kill my joints. I didn’t even realize aerial classes were an option. One of my co-workers said, “I need to get my daughter into circus class.” I was like, “What is circus class? That sounds awesome!” I started taking classes and became more involved. Soon I started teaching classes and performing and it built from there.

I understand you have performed with Aerial Couture Entertainment as well as Aerial Revolution Entertainment. Are you still part of these groups?

I am part of those two groups and actually also just started performing with Astraeus Aerial Dance Theater as well. We are doing a show in the summer.

What is it like performing in sky-high productions?

It is definitely a really great high especially for me. Luckily I am comfortable performing acrobatics in front of people. It is a lot of fun because nobody really gets the opportunity to see what you are doing in the air every day. The moves are super impressive to people watching and the crowds always have great energy. I get nervous until I touch the fabric and then as soon as I start the nerves are gone.

What motivated you to make the switch from performing to teaching aerial arts?

At the studio where I was practicing the opportunity for teacher training came up. I have always really enjoyed teaching and training in all the jobs I have had. I try to find positions where I am able to teach and train. This felt like a perfect mesh between something I love to do as a hobby and teaching. Why not put them together?!

How have your years of gymnastic experience played into the way you view both your personal practice and your aerial teaching methods? Do you find yourself incorporating a lot of gymnastic aspects into the silks?

Yes and no. When I perform it is more natural for me to point my toes and straighten my legs. My body has been drilled to do that. My performing friends tease me because I do gymnastic-like things where for example I will “stick it” instead of flowing through movements. Gymnastics and dance are very pose-y and I have adopted that style. One woman I perform with is an ex-ballet dancer with a more flowing, slow, graceful style. I have more of a dynamic shark style.

I like that! Is there any way you can put into words the sensation of being up in the silks while performing movements and holding poses?

You feel a freedom and are very inside the moment. I am more comfortable dancing and acting in the air than on the floor. It is much easier for me. Being up in the air is a comfort zone. The aerial arts are all about comfort, freedom, expression, and total control. You have to have control over everything you are doing or you could obviously hurt yourself. It is incredible to have full trust in yourself to control your movements and do the routine successfully.

For those who are not familiar with Aerial Theory Fitness, can you explain what can be expected in a first class?

A lot of people are scared prior to their first class, but that’s why we offer intro classes. Everybody is in the same boat. We make sure it is comfortable because most people are nervous. You will not go into an intro class with someone who has been practicing for three months and can flip upside down. Everything we do in the first class is only an inch or two off the ground but still really fun! It is exciting and totally safe. Aerial Theory Fitness studio is a non-judgmental environment. Every achievement, no matter how small is celebrated. I guarantee when you take your first class you will do something cool and have a good picture as proof.

That’s very important!

We take a lot of pictures in intro classes. It is important for students to see what they are doing. Plus they can share the photos with friends and family later. When they get home students can look at the photo and say, “Look what I did! I achieved something I didn’t think I could do!”

That is excellent motivation to come back and continue challenging yourself to move higher or get into a new pose. Great idea! What is a typical class size?

Our studio has a maximum of 8 students per class to ensure everyone gets the attention they need from our teachers. The studio has four rigging points, which means there are only four people in the air at once. When there are two people per silk, the person on the ground can watch their fellow student. A pose will make a little more sense when it is their turn. It gives students a little break and allows them watch the pose they are about to do or one they just did.

Is there a move you love helping your students get into?

The pose I really love getting students into is the X Back Straddle, which is one of the tougher inversions. It is a beginner move but a bit more involved. The move takes a little while to get so it is really satisfying when students do nail it.

Do you have a personal favorite position, pose, or movement?

One of my favorite moves to personally perform is the Star Drop. Your arms and legs are out in a star position and then you just roll, roll, roll all the way down the silks. For me it is not that hard but it looks really cool. Minimum effort and maximum output.

I like that! Your studio offers classes for adults as well as children as young as eleven years old. What are the benefits of starting aerial classes a young age?

Just like with any sport in aerial arts children have to follow directions and be respectful. Aerial arts can be a dangerous activity if you are not paying attention. We drill safety. If kids want to do the crazy hard drops they understand they have to start from square one and work their way up. It provides them with a goal to work towards.

Students are able to easily reserve spots in Aerial Theory Fitness classes through the MINDBODY scheduling platform, which in conjunction with Lymber’s innovative technology enables users to search for and purchase classes at a desired time for a discounted price. How will the MINDBODY and Lymber partnership make filling classes and booking appointments easier for both your students and your team?

I have had really good experiences with Lymber and I am enjoying using MINDBODY. I don’t see why a partnership between the two would be any different. I like them both separately and I am sure I am going to like them together.

What would you like to say to those who are interested in joining an Aerial Theory Fitness class but may have reservations about their ability or fitness level?

 The biggest hang up for people is fear. They believe they can’t do it or that they are not strong enough. You don’t need any strength to start. People tell me, “I can’t do a pull up. There is no way I can do it,” but that’s why you come to class. You build the strength in class. Everybody can do it. There is no question. Everybody can do something on silks. Everybody.

Interested in trying out the silks or becoming your own aerial artist? Book a class at Aerial Theory Fitness on the Lymber app today. You’ll be flying high in no time!