'Aerial performance is basically acrobatic circus art. Cirque Du Soleil is probably the most well-known and professional example of it. Those performers are amazing and at the absolute top of their class in terms of what aerialists can do. Ours is much more grass roots and amateur because we've only been training for a couple of years. We don't do swinging trapeze but we perform with fabric silks that you climb up and drop down – and we also perform with aerial hoops and rope.
I first tried aerial performance at a flying workshop during a fringe festival three years ago. It was mostly wall-running on harnesses but I was instantly hooked. I met the other main organiser for the Dublin Aerialists, Elaine McCague, through the workshops and we've both been really determined to establish a strong aerialist community here in Dublin ever since. The problem is that it's been very difficult to find spaces where we can practise. Galway and Cork and Belfast have their own community circus bases that are fantastic, which cater for professional artists and hold classes for the public, but there isn't one in Dublin. Elaine has spent a lot of time training in aerial performance in London and aside from that we've both been training with Ireland's only aerial dance company, Fidget Feet, as much as we can but that's all outside of Dublin so it's not ideal. We really want to get a hub going here in the city. It's such an exciting and spectacular skill and we'd love to make it available to more people so that they can try it out.
We placed the ad to find somewhere to train and maybe reach someone who would be interested in supporting contemporary circus arts and willing to help us get something new off the ground. We've heard of people in the past who've found warehouse spaces that were vacant or unoccupied and managed to come to an arrangement with landlords about occupying the space. They agree to keep it used and maintained and in return they get to use the space rent-free, which would be the perfect solution for us. So we thought we'd put an ad out there looking for landlords who have a vacant warehouse that would suit our needs for a training space. We're very willing to clear up or clear out anywhere that may be suitable.
Aerial art and performing with the silks and ropes at a height isn't about the adrenaline buzz. It takes a huge amount of calm and strength and stamina and it's quite schooled; you work for a number of years on your routine. It's not about taking risk. Being in front of an audience is a great sensation and we love the buzz of live performance, but that comes from enjoying the interaction with the public rather than the thrill of danger.
I'm an artist and I work hard at being that. I'm really hoping that I can stay in Ireland because so many people are leaving at the moment. I don't think Berlin needs another artist. I think Dublin needs artists to stay here and cultivate ideas and opportunities so Dublin can become a hub for creativity. I think we really need to start addressing the fact that our artists are leaving and are finding it very hard to stay in Dublin and establish sustainable projects.
We've had some success so far in terms of the ad. We've been offered use of a warehouse in Blanchardstown, which is great, but we're hoping to hold out for somewhere that is a little more central.
The circus has always held real romance for me. I grew up in Blanchardstown and the arrival of the circus tent was something that I found very surreal and extraordinary and brilliantly weird. I remember being fascinated by the performers. I think people who become performers or artists have always had it in them."