recently quit her day job to do
She was several weeks into a job as a certified medical assistant, when approached by Brooke Sheffer who told her she needed her aerial and yoga skills, her social media expertise and her admin experience because she is opening a studio in San Francisco,
Maia, raised in Uba City, where she voiced her choices as: get married, get addicted to meth or get pregnant, came to the bay area to find a more wholesome definition of success. She had just landed herself the 9-5 that met that mark and now it was being questioned. The grown-up Maia was being presented with a dilemma. Those things we so openly embody as children-playing, performing, being in our bodies and our passions fully- are the same things we are taught to forget about in service of more practical pursuances that do not include being FREE or being HAPPY. We all still harbor inside of us a deep rooted desire to be granted permission as adults to tell and live the truths we know about ourselves and each other when we are children. And the representation of the adult and child values begin placed vis a vis could not have come in more perfect packaging! Maia was being asked to join the circus!
And when you understand it like that, there is no choice in the matter.
Maia works at Aspen Aerials, whose grand opening is this coming Saturday April 5th. She also teaches Aerial classes at Athletic Playground in Emeryville, where we met. I had been taking aerial silks classes at AP for a little over a year when Maia started teaching there. Her class was the first class I had fun doing aerial in. She enjoys teaching and it shows. I felt comfortable in her class. Not just that I was being taught skills, but that I was being held in the space she created to learn and play in. Maia tells me yeah, “I kind of want to talk about the teaching cuz that’s always a weird place to be in.” She likes being the weird one and sees teaching as a sort of performance. “Even if i feel super shitty going into a class, in the gathering, the act of the gathering of a class… I am always riding a high when I leave.”
I ask Maia how she got into aerial, to which she responds, “well…I had this crazy weekend.” While finishing up school, and engaged, in her hometown, she took a week to party in Berkeley’s cooperative housing. At Casa Zimbabwe, she found a lot of opens minds and ended up meeting her husband on the dance floor. She “moved the fuck out of the farm town and lived in cooperative housing for a while.” In natural progression from there she started getting into Poi and then Aerial, frequenting the warehouses of west oakland and “beboping off other circusy folk.”
Maia says,” On valentines day I saw my first performance (at The Supper club) and Valentines day of the next year I was performing there. Aerial has taken over my life. It is like a monster. (she laughs) I didn’t think it was going to do all this stuff for me.”
Maia became obsessed with getting aerial down and hadn’t been enthralled like that for a while. She describes staying at the warehouses of West Oakland until late at night and asking people to show her how to do silks until they basically kicked her out and said they needed to sleep. “It was then I decided that maybe I should find a teacher,” she says. That’s when she headed over to The Athletic Playground.
Now she says, “with aerial becoming such a big thing it has kind of opened up all these physical things.” She now takes ballet and has gotten into Acro Yoga. “I suspect that iIhave this mentality,” she starts, “when you have the sheer compulsion to want something so bad you don’t give a shit if your left arm is falling off.”
“There is a find line between audacity and saying that I’m going to live a different path.” Maia continues, talking about the opportuinity to work at Aspen Aerials: “its never something would have given myself merit to do like 3 years ago – it’s fucking weird.”
She is also currently in her yoga teacher training at Flying Yoga Shala in Oakland as well as bartends for Pour Girl Bartending owned by her friend, Olana Sullivan. Maia and I discuss the necessity of having 3 or 4 jobs in order to make sure you are “maximizing your creative energy.” The truth be told though, Maia is a hustler.
Come to Aspen Aerial’s Grand Opening this Saturday at 6 PM at 132 9th St #302 in San Fran.
Take Classes with Maia at The Athletic Playground.