By Cadence Smith
Have you ever wanted to be a part of a circus? Well, sophomore Valentina Catalano is doing just that by learning aerial silks, a type of aerial acrobatics where performers hang from fabric suspended from the ceiling.
Catalano has been learning aerial silks at the Big Top Performance Art Center in Lincoln since this past June.
“It’s really hard because you need a lot of muscle to do it,” Catalano said. “You usually can’t get good at things until you start to build up muscle, so it takes a while to actually do a lot of the moves, but it’s really cool.”
While aerial silks can be fun to learn, it can also be difficult. In addi- tion to learning aerial silks, Catalano will also get to show her talent in a circus at the Lied Center downtown. The date is not yet confirmed.
Catalano started learning aerial silks in June and has had no back- ground in acrobatics. She also hopes that if she has time, she can also learn lira, the circus hoops.
“I saw a circus show and I was like, ‘that looks really cool,’” Catalano said. “Then we found there was a place in Lincoln.”
With learning aerial silks, there are no nets or ropes to catch you, only mats, so it can be dangerous. At the Big Top Performance Center, you can only go to 20-30 feet up in the air, however that’s still enough to become seriously injured.
“It is very dangerous to try a move up in the air without practicing very low on the ground first, or without other people with you,” Catalano said. “It’s kind of scary, but [it’s] also cool to be up in the air.”
In addition to learning acrobatics, she also speaks several lan- guages. She is fluent in English and Italian, but she is also learning a few others.
“I’m learning Spanish and French–which I’m okay at–as well as Mandarin,” Catalano said.“I decided to learn languages, because I love them and each language is so beautiful.”
Aerial silks, and four languages? To add on top of that bundle, Cata- lano is also an artist. She started drawing when she was seven and has been drawing ever since. She loves drawing realistic people and self- portraits, even creating her own characters. She has also won a couple of awards including the Silver Key award from the Scholastic Art com- petition for creating a self portrait.
Like learning about aerial silks, Valentina makes sure to try out as many things as she can, so keep an eye out for her name in the future.