SOPHIA HARWOOD

Lead Teacher & Aerial Specialist

Sophia found her passion for dance and musical theatre from a young age, starting ballet, tap and modern classes at her local studio in Oxfordshire when she was 4. She continued to explore more dance genres as she grew up, finally going on to study a National Diploma in Dance and Performing Arts at college in Banbury. 

After college, Sophia decided to take a gap year and work as an au pair in Madrid. In her free time she took various contemporary and lyrical classes, but most significantly focused her time on taking daily intensive ballet classes. She branched out into other styles during her time in Spain, spending a lot of time at the salsa clubs learning LA and Cuban salsa, and bachata.

It was during her time training here that Sophia decided to further her passion for ballet, going on to study a three year Ba(Hons) Degree in Ballet and Contemporary at the University of Surrey in Guildford. She also spent a year learning traditional African and Kathak (Indian) dance. During her time at Surrey, Sophia continued expanding her knowledge of different styles, beginning vocal coaching lessons and taking part in three full scale musicals with a society as a dancer and singer.

Alongside writing a dissertation and specialising in dance injury rehabilitation in her final year, Sophia found the time to start aerial classes at The Fitness Hangout in nearby Godalming. She had always wanted to be an aerialist in a circus but had never found any classes, so starting to learn aerial hoop was a dream come true! This soon sparked a new passion for all things aerial, and since then, Sophia has trained extensively in lyra (aerial hoop), silks, and aerial yoga, as well as various workshops in corde lisse (rope), trapeze, pole, hammock/sling and Spanish web. She is an Xpert certified silks teacher, and a CircusFit certified aerial yoga instructor, teaching weekly classes for the past two years. She is currently studying to complete her Spin City advanced aerial hoop qualification, having taught beginner/intermediate hoop for 2 years as well as weekly adult ballet classes.

Outside of teaching, Sophia has started to take on some performance work, having recently performed her aerial hoop act with a touring circus. In summer 2016 she competed as an advanced hoop finalist and a doubles hoop finalist at IPAAT (International Pole and Aerial Tournament) and then went on to compete in the advanced hoop category at Solent Pole and Aerial Competition 2016 where she placed 2nd. She also trains a double act with a partner on the Lyra which they hope to take to festivals/ perform with this year.

Sophia endorses learning aerial arts in a safe and happy environment, strongly believing in proper technique and execution, as well as having lots of fun hanging upside down!

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