Cristina Schoonard - My Daughter Began When She Was 3, I Began When I Was 25, and I Have Had Students Begin as Late as 67! (Ariel and Pole Fitness Trainer)

Cristina Schoonard

When I came back after giving birth, I had lost everything. All of my strength was gone - and I was even weaker than when I first started - even though I was working out safely until the day I gave birth. Coming back after giving birth and realizing I had lost all of my strength was devastating. 


1. Tell us about your background and journey.

I began to dance when I was 3 years old at my family's dance studio. I did tap, jazz, and ballet (pointe). I also began gymnastics when I was about 12, and kept up with it for several years intermittently through college. Dance and gymnastics have a special place in my heart.


2. How and when did you decide to pursue aerial performing? 

When I moved down to Tampa Bay, my friend wanted me to try out a pole fitness class with her. The studio I went to had silks hanging up in the other room. I had never seen or heard of silks, but they intrigued me, so I took a class. After that class, I was hooked! 

I have been doing silks and pole fitness since February 2015. A few years later, I began to teach aerial silks. Shortly after, I began to be invited to perform at various showcases. However, because of COVID, I had to stop performing in person for quite some time. Now, I have taken up performing online through live shows!


                       Cristina Schoonard

3. How do you ensure you stay strong and fit enough to perform?

I hold myself accountable to working out in some shape or form 5 days out of the week. I try to run 3 miles two to three times a week, my boxer puppy accompanies me when it isn't too hot, light free weights, do body weight exercises planks, pull ups, ab exercises, etc, I also make sure to practice silks at least once a week. 


4. What was the most challenging part when you started your career?

Aside from COVID preventing me from teaching in person classes and performing live shows since March 2020, the most challenging part was when I became pregnant 7 months into my aerial journey. I knew I could continue some things I was doing, but I could not do drops. 

When I came back after giving birth, I had lost everything. All of my strength was gone - and I was even weaker than when I first started - even though I was working out safely until the day I gave birth. Coming back after giving birth and realizing I had lost all of my strength was devastating. 

I knew how to do things, knew I had done them before, but my body just would not do things because it had lost the strength. I pushed myself to gain the strength, and it all came back with a vengeance. Even though this was incredibly hard to go through, I am super thankful I went through it, because it enables me to relate to my students who come in with no strength.   


Cristina Schoonard


5. How did you discover your own style?

I really enjoy drops - big dramatic ones! Particularly ankle drops! I remember being in awe of them when I was a beginner aerialist. I find them challenging to learn and mentally conquer, and I love the challenge!


6. Who is your role model?

My first and only instructor is very inspirational. She has the same style as I do - loves big drops and her speciality is ankle drops, just like me. I always find something new to learn from her!


7. What advice would you give to aspiring aerial performers?

Do not give up!!!! Aerial can be extremely hard! But if you persist, it pays off quickly! The feeling when you finally conquer something is incredible! Also, it is never too early or too late to start aerial! My daughter began when she was 3, I began when I was 25, and I have had students begin as late as 67! 


8. Which is your favorite book and why?

I really enjoy the Wool/Silo series by Hugh Howey!! I highly recommend it! 


Cristina Schoonard

Cristina Schoonard

YouTube

Interviewed By - Anshika Maurya

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