The Love of Aerial Practice: Art, Embodiment, Phronesis

Maria Kosma, Nick Erickson


Background of study: Given the importance of movement and low exercise adherence among young adults, it is imperative to understand reasons for the love of movement. Objective: The purpose of this phronetic, qualitative study was to examine if the values of aerial practice encompassed elements of embodiment, techne (art), and phronesis (practical wisdom). Method: Participants were 13 undergraduate college students in an aerial practice class. Individual-based interview topics included exercise behavior and the values and meaning of aerial practice. Results: All participants were active regardless of aerial practice classification (e.g., beginners vs advanced). Beyond aerial practice, other exercises included dancing, yoga and aerial yoga, Pilates, aerobic activities (e.g., running and spinning classes), rock climbing and hiking, weight lifting, somatics and acrobatics. Based on the first theme, the love of aerial practice, techne aspects reflected fitness, skill improvement; challenging, infinite learning and determination. Art, performativity, fluidity included techne and embodiment, while the sensation of whole-body movement encompassed an embodied element for the love of aerial silks. A combination of phronetic and embodied elements were sense of community and inclusivity; novelty; it fits me. Embodied qualities of the second theme, challenges with aerial practice, included fear, injuries, bruises, pain. Fitness, skill, performance and the struggle to learn new movements linked to techne and the integral parts of movement. Phronetic categories regarding situation-specific reflections were time on the silk and unhealthy competition in the business world (territorial traits and lack of sharing). The third theme was future exercise plans and its categories included phronetic (decision-related) elements: practice and/or teach aerial silks; keep exercising. Conclusion: Artistic, embodied, and phronetic approaches in movement education can enhance the value and pursuit of movement.


Movement, Practical Reasoning, Art, Embodiment, Dance, Theater

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