The Life of a Busy Aerialist


Andrea Lizarraga

She’s at the backstage door, scanning through all the people in the audience. “Ladies and gentleman, Valerie Salazar!” said Ulises. A mix of emotions go through her head, but she walks out to her starting position. The audience admires how beautiful she looks with her bright red leotard, her perfectly slick back bun, and her doll like makeup with extremely long lashes. She hears her music that she had already listened to a million times play on the loud speakers.

Climbing up high into the air, she looks down and sees all the tiny people watching her. She dances up high in the silk to the beat of the music. Flip after flip and turn after turn, it has finally come to the end of her routine. As the music starts fading, the audience stands up and they start clapping. A swish of relief hits her as walks up to the front to bow. It was at this moment when she realized this is what she does, and she loves it.

“I have always been really sporty and athletic because of my flexibility and strength,” said freshman Valerie Salazar. “Before starting aerial silks, I had competed in gymnastics and swim. I took dance, horseback riding, and ice skating classes for fun.”

Salazar has been really athletic her whole life and has done so many sports, but she never had a sport that she was truly passionate about. Then, aerial silks came to her life. When she found out about aerial silks she knew she had to try it out.

“When I first found out about aerial silks, it was six years ago at a studio in Houston,” said Salazar. “I wanted to try it out really bad, but the gym was too far away, so my parents opened up their own Aerial studio.”

Her parents decided to open up a new studio just a few minutes away from their house, and now she goes all the time. Sometimes there can be a little too much practicing at the gym, and not enough practicing for school. Spending that much time in the studio can get in the way of education.

“I practice 8 to 10 hours a week because I want to get better. I try to balance the amount of exercise I do to the amount I study and do homework. My classes take up most of my time after school, so I end up doing schoolwork at night,” said Salazar. “I would like to continue silks as long as I am physically able to because I would like to get more performing gigs at events.”

Salazar everyday routine is to wake up, go to school, go to aerial silks, go home, eat dinner, do homework and go to bed. Even though it’s really tiring, she would still like to continue for a long time. Her hard works pays off at the gigs when she earns money.

“I did aerial silks when I lived in Mexico, so I already knew what it was,” said freshman Ana Roman. “I wasn’t as advanced as Valerie because I wasn’t very flexible, I didn’t have the strength.”

Salazar is very good at performing in front of people and isn’t afraid which is what makes her unique. When people watch her in the air, she makes it look so easy.

“When I go to the shows, I watch her do all kinds of stuff in the air and it looks so cool,” said Roman. “She has a very distinct style, and she looks so graceful in the air.”

Sometimes the practices can become very long. School work can be a trouble to Salazar due to how long she’s at the gym.

“Homework and studying can become difficult for her because she practices right after school. She starts her homework really late, and in high school we get a lot of homework so I don’t know how she does it,” said Roman, “I support her in what she does because it makes her happy, but I do think she should start putting more work into school.”

School is a big role in Salazar’s life because she really wants to make it into a good college and graduate, so she can get a good job. She still wants to continue doing aerial silks as long as she will be able to. For now, she will just continue doing what she loves, and not focus too much on the future.