Flying Fitness & Aerial Arts
Abby Moldenhauer Brings Her Circus Experience To Amarillo
And Helps Members Both Physically and Mentally
With The Magic of Silk
Abby Moldenhauer has always been a daredevil and up for an adventure. She literally left home and ended up joining the circus. Abby was born and raised in Canyon, Texas along with her three sisters, by her mom who is a nurse and dad who was a metal worker and owned his own construction business. After Abby graduated from Canyon High School, she headed off to New Mexico where she would be a Bear Researcher on Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America’s largest National High Adventure Base, located in the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains in northeastern New Mexico. There was a big fire that happened at that time she was there and Abby got selected to become part of the conservation team to restore the land and was required to a become Sawyer, which is someone certified to cut wood with a chainsaw.
After Philmont, Abby moved to Taos, New Mexico. She and a group of friends attended a Thanksgiving theatre show where aerial artists (think acrobatic acts performed on long fabric hanging from the ceiling) were performing. They were so mesmerized, they sought out aerial classes in the area. Abby recalls, “I was always into fitness and focusing on core strength and stability. I was a rock climber so transitioning to aerial arts came naturally.” Within two years, she became a professional and was part of an aerial troupe that performed with the band, the String Cheese Incident. She would later audition for and attend the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vermont. After graduating in 2009, Abby was contracted with Ringling Bros. Circus where she would do aerial silk performing, production dancing and elephant riding.
While on tour with the circus in Atlantic City, Abby was contracted to go to India so she was just renting a car while in transition. Then one morning an encounter with a man who had been watching her performances and stalking her would forever change the trajectory of her life. The man stole her car with her in it and beat her up all the way to the beach where she would attempt to escape and he continued the abuse by trying to run over her. She attributes her athleticism to helping her survive. Abby ended up in the hospital with a couple of herniated disks, a broken wrist and a lot of soft tissue damage. Her career as she knew it came to a screeching halt.
Not only did Abby’s trauma effect her physically, it broke her mentally. She recalls, “My body was broken, I was depressed and grieving the loss of my career”. Abby came back home to Canyon to be surrounded by her family and to heal. Abby’s end game was always to start her own aerial fitness center when she was done with her performing career, but her experience would bring her business idea to the forefront much sooner than planned. “I knew this was the plan all along, to built this,” she said. “So I wasn’t going to let my trauma stand in my own way.”
Abby opened Flying Fitness and Aerial Arts in a small space in Western Business Park in 2014. It would be a place of healing, teaching and learning for Abby and her new students for the next four years. In the beginning, Abby was withdrawn, so she used social media and word of mouth to build a following. Abby was also no longer able to do aerial stunts after her injuries, so she learned how to be an amazing coach. She herself focused on aerial fitness which helped her body to heal. It’s been just in the last year that Abby has felt a little bit of release of the trauma that she’s carried with her for so many years. “It seems so far away even though I’ve dealt with it for so long,” she says.
In April 2018, Abby was able to move into a larger spot in Western Business Park with high ceilings. Today, Flying Fitness and Aerial Arts are split into two groups as their name implies. The Flying Fitness is for any fitness level and it contains their Fly Series using silk hammocks, which include Fl’Yin (restorative aerial Yoga), Fly Flow (power aerial Yoga), Fly Barre (you use the silk hammocks instead of the ballet barre), standing Pilates and even Belly Dancing. They then have the Aerial Arts which include more of the acrobatics and classes that focus on the trapeze, the Lyra hoop and utilizing the long hanging silk fabrics. They also have their youth program of ages 4-17 and within that there is an elite team, called Yellow City Aerial Dance, that performs aerial shows for events and festivals around Amarillo and surrounding towns.
There are so many benefits to the aerials arts such as flexibility, enhanced muscles, weight management, focus, stress relief, plus…it’s like being on an adult size playground. Abby explains how the silks and hammocks create proprioception, which is the body’s ability to sense its location, movements, and actions, “It creates a very unstable environment and because of that it makes your body incorporate more muscles. So because of that, you lose more calories. We work to failure and then stretch it out to create that long, lean muscle.” Everyone starts on the ground and works their way up. And Abby has an Introductory Offer for beginners that includes any 5 of the fitness classes for only $30 or 3 of the aerial classes for only $49. Check out their Facebook page for up-to-date information on classes or go to their website at www.flyingfitnesstx.com.