• Nick Zacharias

Champions in aerial and pole sports

PHOTO COURTESY ACROPARK/BRIAN THOMPSON

Hailey Pellan came in fourth place in amateur Aerial Sports at this year’s Canadian Championships.

Vice World Champion Anna von Hoyningen Huene is a recognized force in international elite competitive pole sports. If the term pole sports makes you do a second take you’re not alone: “It’s not exactly mainstream yet” she says, “but it is trendy and growing rapidly. The whole circus and performance aspect of it is a great draw for competitors.”

Governed by the International Pole and Aerial Sport Federation, events include solo and doubles competitions using a fixed vertical pole or a suspended aerial hoop for performing acrobatic and artistic feats. Judged similarly to gymnastics competitions, pole and aerial sports are recognized in over 40 international federations, and have received certified status from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as under consideration for future Olympic Games.

This year’s World Championships took place in Montreal in October, where von Hoyningen Huene, coach and owner at AcroPark on the border of Vaudreuil-Dorion and Saint-Lazare, took the silver medal in a field of competitors including 350 of the best in the world. It marked the first time a Canadian has broken the top three on the world stage.

PHOTO COURTESY ACROPARK

The AcroPark team performed well enough at the Canadian Championships to place in the top six.

Earlier this year, she placed first in elite pole sports at the Canadian championships, and fellow coach Nicole Quenneville took second place in the same event. Three amateur competitors from the studio also placed in the Canadian top six.

AcroPark studio has been open in its current location on Boulevard de la Cité-des-Jeunes since just this summer, and von Hoyningen Huene is hoping it will continue to attract more novices and juniors to this exciting sport. She says, “For the recreational program, we focus on the circus arts – we use suspended silks and straps, work on hand balancing, we do conditioning with a ballet bar, and of course we lead into aerial hoops and the more competitive side of things for our team. We have competitors from the age of six to one who’s 50, so there’s a whole range for kids and adults alike.”

Men, women, and children who are interested in recreational circus arts or competitive pole and aerial sports programs can check out AcroPark on Facebook for more information.

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