Today’s FACE is the graceful Allison Page, owner of Birmingham’s only aerial pilates studio, Aero Joe, located in downtown’s Pepper Place. Aerial fitness studios are the latest exercise craze sweeping, or shall we say, soaring in the nation, and now thanks to Allison, Birmingham is also climbing to new fitness heights.
Where did you grow up and what brought you to Birmingham?
I am from New Orleans originally, but moved here when I was young. I went to ASFA in dance. Later I pursued a dance major at the University of Arizona, followed by grad school at New York University. My husband, who is a Louisiana native, and I were living in New York when I received a wonderful opportunity in Birmingham to teach dance and Pilates, as well as to form AROVA Contemporary Ballet with colleagues. We knew we wanted to be down South to start a family eventually, and we took the chance that was given to find our Southern roots again.
Tell us how Aero Joe came about.
When I began to take classes with the AROVA dancers in aerial silks performance at Sky Gym (Atlanta) in 2010, I began hearing about aerial fitness, as well. I soon realized just how popular aerial yoga is in other parts of the country. (Aerial fitness was voted the number one fitness trend in the US by the Wall Street Journal in 2011.) At the time, there was little to no aerial Pilates programing going on in the US, and I was very inspired by the idea of developing a training system combining very basic aerial silks performance, aerial yoga and Pilates skills.
I needed a new, creative challenge, and the idea of Aero Joe, once it was developed into a business plan, gained a lot of support with my family and friends. Another plus is that because the studio employs some of the AROVA dancers/aerialists, it also creates synergy between my two career endeavors (AROVA and Aero Joe), which is very fulfilling.
How are you liking being a part of Pepper Place?
It’s fantastic and very convenient. There’s plenty of parking during the week. Most clients find street parking right outside our front door day or night, but there are also two adjacent parking lots. Plus, our clientele love visiting the Red Cat Cafe and other shops after their sessions. We can’t wait to have the farmer’s market right outside our door in the spring!
What types of exercises do you offer at the studio? What level of experience/fitness is needed?
We offer Pilates (equipment and mat), aerial Pilates and yoga from an experienced, certified staff of 5 instructors. We will be offering aerial yoga beginning in May 2013. Private, semi-private and group classes are available in every form of exercise we offer, which is very unique. We cater to every fitness level from beginner to advanced and have experience in providing training to those with a variety of injuries or conditions. Clients can take advantage of private orientation sessions if they would like help in deciding which of our services may be best for them.
Our new, state of the art 2012 Pilates equipment is from Balanced Body, and we offer private lessons as well as small group classes (3-4 persons) on all of the Pilates apparatus (chair, tower or reformer.)
Group classes are available for on-line sign up at aerojoepilates.com. You can call us to schedule private or semi-private training. 205-202-5758
Are you still involved in dance? Any performances coming up?
Yes, I am the founding artistic director and resident choreographer of AROVA Contemporary Ballet, Alabama’s only dance and aerial performance company, and we are in our sixth season here in Birmingham. Our next performance is “Fortuna” Apri l 19 – 21 at the Virginia Samford Theatre. For tickets and info: WWW.AROVA.ORG
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
You don’t have to be a starving artist. it’s valuable to learn other skills, and if you are really meant to be an artist,you will find a way because you must.
What advice would you give to others?
Happiness is a choice, and no one else can choose for you.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
I am addicted to Pintrest. I am a bit “type a.” I love that I can relax, but at the same time feel productive on Pintrest, because I might actually do some of what I pin one day…
Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
Coach dance rehearsal for AROVA Contemporary Ballet. We rehearse weekends, which is tough sometimes, but all of us in the company feel it is worth it for this rare opportunity to do what we love. Dance to me is human truth and beauty that speaks to His greatness. When I watch a successful rehearsal, I feel very blessed to be there.
Favorite local restaurant?
What are you listening to these days?
The M83 station on Pandora. It’s my go-to at the studio.
What books are you currently reading?
Honestly, I am reading Pilates for Hip and Knee Syndromes right now. (Not the sexiest title, I know…)
Do you have any personality quirks or irrational fears?
I am actually afraid of heights. I love that aerial fitness gives anyone a taste of the circus arts experience without the extreme heights or physicality. Our aerial silks are only 2 – 3 feet off the ground, making this training un-intimidating. I have no problems at this low height, and I leave climbing higher to the aerialists in the dance company.
If your house was on fire what’s the one thing you would grab?
Photos of my mom. We lost her to ovarian cancer in 2010. The logo of Aero Joe is teal (the color of ovarian cancer awareness) for her. I know she would have just loved this place, and this is what she would have wanted for me.
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding friends, family and God!)…
Epsom salt baths, dark chocolate, and Swan (a Pilates move)
Thanks for sharing, Allison and thank you, Beth, for the beautiful photos!