We would like to introduce you to Elisabetta D’Avenia. She is an aerialist and a certified personal trainer and acrobatics coach (for kids and adults) in Brooklyn, NY. She’s taking over our blog for three posts and we would like to warmly introduce her to our community. Take it away Elisabetta! And be sure to check back on her next post coming soon.
I was born by the sea and the incessant movement of the waves has been embedded in me ever since. I was only three and joining my aunt’s family for boat trips in the open Mediterranean sea when my uncle threw me into the water without water wings, and that’s how I learned how to float!
This experience quickly became a recurring motif in my life. Moving and being active, versus passivity and stillness, is what saved me multiple times from going down, feeling stuck and overwhelmed from the chaos that is life.
Shortly after my floating experience, and as I started to learn how to swim over and under the water with my dad, the entire world began to appear like an adventurous treasure hunt to my 4 year-old eyes! I discovered the joy of dancing, running, jumping, tumbling, climbing, balancing...and still today, that same “old” feeling is what makes me a movement addict: the potentiality unraveled by a strong and flexible body.
There is a fuel that ignites all of my movement-related activities and pushes me to go further; it is my passion, but passion doesn’t mean that it always feels easy. It feels right. Fear, exhaustion, frustration, failures are companions of your journey and fairly they are. The problem arise when they lead you to quit: none of the beautiful movements I have learned so far came without effort and perseverance. Practice is the key that opens most doors.
Practice and practice, not just for the sake of it, not just because people say that “you should be working out”, not because you need to pursue a certain body-shape, a certain look. Practice in order to be able to do! Practice to achieve what didn’t even seem possible a minute before. Practice to discover a movement, master a skill or create one!
I cannot deny the competitive aspect of movement is appealing, but the competition is all within myself. I remember how scared I was of jumping from a 23 feet-tall cliff into the sea (my dad always giving the “daredevil” example), yet I was so attracted by that jump into the void that I had to do it! I would stand by the edge of the cliff for several minutes, sometimes for hours, and when my parents would eventually call it a day, that’s when I would go for it and finally fly!
Emerging from the water, incredulous and ecstatic, I would tell myself: “I can’t believe I waited that long! I need more now!” and then I would jump as many times as I could before my parents started the car.
Frustration, copious amounts of it, was when I was forced into a two-month period of (partial) inactivity. Third grade, a late winter afternoon, racing with a class mate in the basketball court of my building. She accidentally tripped me and as I landed on my wrists everything went black for a second; the sounds around me echoing in slow motion. A compound fracture of my left radius and ulnar bone left me helpless to the fragility of my body. My favorite and main activity, being upside-down in a handstand, impossible for months...sigh!
And then, I recovered, and I clearly remember the next seminal moment in my relationship to movement, the day when I decided to be an aerialist- I was 10 year-old, watching a circus show. My gaze captured for ever on that elegant flying trapeze artist, light as a feather, strong as an ocean wave. It took me many many years to finally start pursuing that childhood dream. Hey, life is not a straight line! At least mine isn’t. But it’s fulfilling and calming knowing that, after many detours, all necessary and with their own teachings, I’m back to where I was supposed to be.
I cannot help but keep moving because the levity and the energy flow that permeates me while I swim, dance and float in the air, no thoughts attached, no explanations needed, are a place of pure joy, freedom and the most authentic me.
Find the movement that makes you happy; don’t force yourself into strenuous classes or routines of which you hate every single minute of it, just because you need to be in shape or because they are the new trend. Eventually you’ll quit. Once you find that activity that is yours, enjoy the sweat and the strive that come with it, give in to that feeling of exhaustion, taste it in its fullness and then move past it and have fun!