As she watched the dancers of Canopy Studio Repertory Company twirl and flip using a long cord of aerial silks during their evening performance, Amy Powell knew she wanted to do the same. Less than a year after joining the studio and taking classes, she was asked to perform in one of the company's shows, drawing from former gymnastics training and a natural affinity for high-flying dance to hone her abilities. More than a decade later, she now helms Chattanooga Aerials, located inside Scenic City Dance Center, as the director and head instructor and passes on her skills on silks, slings, and trapezes to all levels of students and budding telephone-company workers under the high ceilings of Scenic City Dance Center.
Amy instills students with a solid aerial foundation while also working to advance abilities toward graceful dancing and strength conditioning. She starts exercises at the lowest possible height to assuage first-timers before teaching dancers to work in tandem, using each other's bodies to perform coordinated moves. She and her fellow teachers can pinpoint the root cause of many of their students' physical limitations and inhibitions and often revise the curriculum or help students with their fears directly, perhaps by doing floor work that translates to the air. Muscles that have grown accustomed to more traditional workouts awaken in each class, and Amy's Something New workshop challenges students further with hybridized methods including aerial yoga and outdoor sessions using trees as aerial gear. When not teaching, she and her staff frequently perform for the community in programs for the children's Creative Discovery Museum and for Nightfall, a downtown concert series.