Antigravity Soars to New Heights in Kissimmee

    By Saundra Amrhein

    The lights go dark and a triangular rig lowers, suspended over the stage by cables, holding brooms that sparkle. A song booms over the loudspeaker with a techno beat and a singer with a raspy voice whispering lyrics about “toil and trouble.”

    Within minutes, Amy Smith, 15, and two fellow students, all dressed in purple-and-blue striped tights as witches, are atop the rig, which rises skyward, soaring through the air as the girls begin a series of graceful, mid-air acrobatic moves: upside-down splits; a suspension from the rig by their legs; and a dizzying spin while they grasp only the brooms with their hands.

    Here at AntiGravity Orlando in Kissimmee, before the sequined costumes and makeup, long before they soared above audiences and learned how to fly, it all started with a single class.

    At AntiGravity, no experience is needed and classes are available for all levels and ages.

    At AntiGravity, no experience is needed and classes are available for all levels and ages.

    Julie Fletcher for VISIT FLORIDA

    Whether you want to try out a piece of equipment or get involved with AntiGravity fitness, there is something for everyone.

    Whether you want to try out a piece of equipment or get involved with AntiGravity fitness, there is something for everyone.

    Julie Fletcher for VISIT FLORIDA

    Students, instructors and stagehands put their hands together and chant before showtime.

    Students, instructors and stagehands put their hands together and chant before showtime.

    Julie Fletcher for VISIT FLORIDA

    Guests watch an AntiGravity performance.

    Guests watch an AntiGravity performance.

    Julie Fletcher for VISIT FLORIDA


    For residents and tourists, AntiGravity offers every facet of the increasingly popular world of ethereal arts and aerial acrobats: classes on aerial yoga and aerial training with hammocks, silks, hoops, cubes and trampolines, as well as annual shows by its students and a growing number of professional shows by AntiGravity’s traveling troupe of performers.

    Owner Daniel Stover originally signed a lease to use the building as a place for the professional troupe to rehearse. The tall, vaulted ceilings and cavernous space were perfect. He installed the massive, black stage, which opens up into a trampoline. He put in the rigs, cables and lights, sound system and cushioned theater chairs that seat about 200 people plus cabaret-style table seating in the back. He built a second-story studio for the yoga classes. With the improvements, the arrangement changed to lease-to-own. His wife, Heather Dodt, oversaw the development of the aerial and yoga classes.

    Amy and her sister, Maya, 12, were among the first students. “A friend was taking silk classes and we thought, wow, that’s really cool,” Amy says before the show. Their father searched for a school near them in Kissimmee. After an initial class at AntiGravity, the sisters were hooked. “It kind of made me sleep better,” Maya says.
     

    The venue features 40 foot ceiling and seating for 200.

    The venue features 40 foot ceiling and seating for 200.

    Julie Fletcher for VISIT FLORIDA

    Students and instructors prepare for performance for a live audience.

    Students and instructors prepare for performance for a live audience.

    Julie Fletcher for VISIT FLORIDA


    “Physically, I started to feel healthier,” Amy agrees, saying she grew stronger and found the workouts relieved her stress. Their parents set up a silk for them to use for practice in the front sitting room of their house.

    The strength and skill needed were well on display during the rest of the student show. Maya, Amy and about a dozen fellow students took turns in elaborate aerial numbers – many they choreographed themselves – climbing upward on silks, deftly wrapping them around their bodies in mid-air to support ballet-like splits, backbends and suspensions, sometimes rolling out of them all the way to the ground, where they landed on their feet.

    “It’s the best feeling,” says 16-year-old Ireland Cunningham, a fellow student. “It’s literally like flying,” Amy says. “I feel so hapy.”

    If you go…

    AntiGravity Orlando is located at 5390 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee near Orlando in Central Florida. For more information about class schedules and prices or theater performances, visit www.antigravityorlando.com or call (407) 507-3943.

     

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