For the past three years I have been lucky enough to attend AYCO´s New York Regional Festival. The Festival lasts all day and offers a wide variety of workshops and delicious snacks for all attendees. This year, I took a Fabric Variety, Duo-Lyra, Hang Tough (neck hangs, toe hangs, heel hangs) and Lyra Tips and Technique. Each workshop is one hour and fifteen minutes of learning new skills and improving those you may have thought you´d mastered.
Typically, I don’t train aerial fabric, and was not at all surprised to learn that, despite an amazing and supportive coach and cool skills, I do not like fabric. It´s a little too choppy for me, but I would have never known if I hadn’t tried it. That’s the beauty of these AYCO festivals. You are free to take workshops on apparatuses you may already love, or ones you have never tried before. It’s an opportunity to explore circus in its many forms, and really develop a sense of your personal preference. As well as discovering new apparatuses and possible passions, AYCO festivals allow for youth who love circus to meet more people just like them.
Having started training aerials at a very small gym at which I was the only person under 18, I know that I used to have maybe just one other circusy friend. The 2013 AYCO Regional in New York allowed me to expand my knowledge of circus as well as my friend group. Each year I´ve exchanged Instagrams and Snapchats with a whole load of new people, and have found that circus friendships are much more fun than school-based ones. So, if you’re looking to discover new passions, meet new friends and have a fabulous day of circus exploration, I would highly recommend attending an AYCO Youth Festival near you!