Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 10th 2014 Contents B13
Thursday, July 10, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Started by Provocative Fitness
Studio founder JC Blandin in
2013, Aerial Sky Kids (ASK)
offers parents a challenging and
rewarding alternative fitness
camp for their children: aerial
Popularised by the Canadian
circus troupe Cirque du Soleil,
aerial gymnastics includes com-
plicated acrobatics performed on
silks and hoops suspended in the
air.Blandin was already offering
aerial gymnastics lessons at her
women-only studio but
after seeing the art form
featured on the popular
Lifetime television network show
Dance Moms, she decided to offer
classes for children as well. At
ASK, the youngsters are taught
aerobic dance, hip-hop dance,
gymnastics, aerial hoop and aerial
ASK is part of the Gymnastics
Federation and offers classes that
run parallel with the school term.
The company also offers out-of-
studio setups for parties, bazaars
and sports days, and was one of
the attractions at T&T Coalition
of Services Industries Street Arts
Festival in June.
"We started off with after-
school classes just one day a week
then took our aerial rig to three
The response from children
and adults was so phenomenal
that we ve now expanded, offer-
ing our services to corporate enti-
ties to include at their sports and
family days," Blandin said via e-
mail. ASK also facilitates themed
parties, both in studio and at out-
The ASK team of instructors
includes Blandin and Sade Ellis
who are both certified to teach
aerial classes, local gymnastics
instructors Sarah Radwar and
Kelly Ramlal-McDowell, and TT
Dance Comm founder and hip-
hop dancer Takyha Springer.
Classes are held at their studio
on Fitt Street, Woodbrook. The
500-square-foot space has ten-
foot-high ceilings where the stu-
dents dangle from sturdy hoops
and bright pink fabric.
ASK is offering a vacation
camp for the month of July that
is meant to be an intensive intro-
duction to the craft, with the
week-long standalone sessions
ending a recital for the parents
where the students show off the
skills they ve learned.
"Our vacation camp is geared
to expose children to aerial arts
with a fun twist. Our school-
term programme is structured to
systematically build strength,
increase flexibility and fitness
over a longer period of time as
opposed to an intense session
that is the vacation camp," said
ASK also offers a two-hour
workshop on the last Sunday of
every month to give children a
taste of what aerial gymnastics
The vacation camp caters to
children aged four to 16 and the
four week-long sessions run
Monday to Friday throughout
July, at $1,000 per session.
Each day begins at 8 am and
ends at 4 pm, but students can
be dropped off as early as 7 am
at the studio at 10 Fitt Street,
Registration for the July 14 --18
session closes on July 13.
In the mid 90s, there were two national literacy
surveys of those aged 15 and over---the first by Alta,
followed by the University of the West Indies.
These showed that about 1 in 4 people could not
carry out basic reading and writing tasks, and only
45 per cent could read and understand a simple
newspaper article. In the 22 years Alta has been in
existence, it still comes as a surprise to some that
there are people among us who cannot perform
everyday reading and writing tasks like reading
simple signs or filling out basic forms.
Being in the information age where everyone has
a computer or a smart phone, some may argue that
concern for literacy is a thing of the past.
At the very minimum, most jobs require three
CXC passes and for every job there is a literacy
requirement: filling an application form, entering
information on a computerised cash register or for
stock-taking, reading labels.
In reality, non-readers have fewer legitimate options
to earn a living. Instead, there seems to be a wide
range of fairly well-organised illegitimate ones often
starting innocuously: "drop dis here for mih," "look
out and see when Babylon comin." If we were obliv-
ious to the issue 20 years ago, perhaps it is the time
to pay attention.
Fr Clyde Harvey wrote in December 2010: "Those
of us who have worked with youth at risk have been
struck by the high percentage of them who have
very poor reading skills. Many of our teenage boys
are reading at levels half their age. Many of our gang
leaders have reading disabilities which were not
recognised at school. It left them at the back of the
class and then saw them compensating through
their other natural abilities of leadership."
Alta s 2010 student registration saw a record num-
ber of people register for its literacy classes after a
massive publicity campaign on television and radio.
If there was any doubt before, we were assured then
that people in the shadows were finding the courage
to step out.
Without the right kind of encouragement from
us, there are others that may never step forward.
We can all begin addressing these myths by
encouraging the adults around us to join an Alta
Alta registers new students only once a year---on
the first Tuesday and Wednesday of September, the
start of the new academic year.
Registration is easy. Visit your nearest public
library on September 2 or 3 and Alta tutors will let
you know the class options in the area and sign you
up. Let s be real about literacy instead of continue
believing the myth.
In the coming weeks
Alta will share a series
of illustrations as part
of the Reading, It's Life
by literate people and
answer to the myths
we are made to believe
about non-readers. The
first myth is that we
are, or even once were,
a literate nation.
Become a part of Alta. Volunteer, donate,
sponsor a student. New student registration
begins September 2 and 3, 2014. Call 624-ALTA
(2582) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or like us on
Facebook: ALTA Trinidad.
For more information,
Watch them soar
...vacation camp gives
kids taste of aerial skills
Kids learn the foundation of
aerial gymnastics with
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