Acrobatics gets a lift

Published 2013-04-24T06:00:00Z”/>


Zachary Coyl

Red and gray mats cover most of the hardwood floor in Acker Gym Room 202. The faint smell of sweat hangs in the air as agile bodies stretch, lift and flip.

It’s a regular night of practice for the Chico State Acrobatics Club. With more than 80 club members, some meet three days a week to practice.

The club was formed in 2010 by head coach Makaela Bogowitz, a Butte College junior, and its first president, Alex Baker, now a Chico State graduate.

Almost two and a half years later, the group has grown and its performance team has appeared in shows for the Chico Women’s Club and local fashion company Chikoko. The club is also preparing for its performance with Momentum, a Chico State dance club, next month.

The group’s focus is acrobatics, or as its many members like to call it, “acro,” but they also draw inspiration from other sources like cheerleading and yoga.

The club’s members start practice by stretching and then go into the basics. The fundamentals include poses like “airplane,” “candlestick” and “partner cartwheel.”

All of these routines involve a member lying on the floor and lifting a partner while both pose.

In the airplane pose, for example, the two participants face each other while the bottom partner lies flat on his or her back and extends his or her legs straight up. The partner on top balances in midair on his or her companion’s legs and extends his or her arms.

After the group has warmed up, the members have the rest of the night to practice. Some perform toe pitches, an exercise that involves one person pushing up on the bottom of his or her partner’s feet to launch them into a back flip. Some acrobatic lifts involve three or more members.

Rachel Athos, a senior accounting major and the group’s vice president, loves the challenge and body awareness that acrobatics brings during these sessions, she said.

The club is successful because of its inclusiveness and the community its members have built together, said Greg Panero, the club’s current president.

“We have Chico State students, we have Butte College students and people from the community here, and they are all welcome to come and participate,” he said.

Bogowitz, a former international acrobatic competitor, is supportive of people interested in joining the club.

“Anybody can do it, I encourage everybody to come and try it out,” she said. “It’s amazing what you can surprise yourself with.”

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