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Workout Wednesday: Cirque School

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Top: Students practice their skills at Cirque School; Bottom: Aloysia Gavre on the aerial fabric

It was with great hope that I began my search for an aerial arts class here in L.A.

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I was certain that is there was one thing this town could teach me, it was to learn how to fly. But from the time I brought my workout clothes to a nightclub that had been listed as a studio to the email I got telling me that another class had relocated to San Francisco, my trapeze dreams seemed to soar farther and farther away.

Close to giving up, I made one final call to Cirque School in West Hollywood. Success! They were up and running, and offering classes.

The following Saturday, I showed up late to the airy second-floor studio and the other women around me were already deep into the rhythm of the class. I scrambled in and deposited myself on the mat.

Aloysia Gavre, the petite but strong instructor, promptly passed me a Pilates ball and I prepared to start with a typical warm-up -- maybe some deep breathing, or a nice hamstring stretch. But Gavre, a veteran of Cirque du Soleil, was having no such thing. Shoulder stretches were followed in rapid succession by back bends, which were followed by crunches and pike stretches.

And that was just the beginning.