It's been a big year for Treeline Aerial.
To get an idea of how much the aerial silks class has grown, consider this: last year's Christmas showcase featured 10 acts, while this year's boasts a whopping 22.
"There are 50 people in the show," says founder Dani Duncan. "It's super overwhelming for me. I'm really proud."
Duncan, a Whistler resident originally from Ireland, first started offering one aerial silks class four years ago at Whistler Gymnastics. (For the uninitiated, aerial silks is a performance art in which performers climb up a long silk suspended from the ceiling and do tricks on it. Think daredevil gymnastics meets graceful dancing.)
As interest grew—along with her students' abilities—she slowly started adding more classes at various levels. As of 2019, that will include beginner, improver and advanced classes for kids, teens and adults in Squamish and Whistler. She also has her eyes set on Pemberton and hopes to continue hosting one-off events where newbies can try silks before committing to a class.
The big reason for the company's growth is a new location. Next year, it will officially say farewell to Whistler Gymnastics and head to a new location at The Hangar in Function Junction. Recently, Duncan was able to quit her day job to focus on Treeline Aerial full time.
"It's really exciting and rewarding for me to see it grow," she says. "We started with one class at Whistler Gymnastics and now it's really escalated ... I loved working there, but they've experienced so much growth in the last few years as well, there was no room for anything. There were silks, parkour, and gymnastics happening at the same time as well."
To that end, this year's Christmas showcase on Saturday, Dec. 15 will mark the farewell performance at the gymnastics centre. "We'll still be involved with the centre, but this is to say, 'thanks' for the last four years and giving us a place to be and helping us grow the program," Duncan says. "They said it's grown beyond what they thought possible."
The showcase, meanwhile, will be jam-packed with aerial silks performances as well as other circus acts like an aerial hammock and an aerial hoop. Not only is it a chance for the community to take in a new art form, but it's also a good way for those interested to find out more, Duncan says.
"There are people entering the fourth year of classes with me," she adds. "It's really exciting to see a lot of the girls reaching those higher levels and being able to show that off. For anyone coming to watch, you can go down to the city and pay to see a show, but we want to highlight that there's a lot of really good-quality, high-performance acts in this show. It's right in Whistler, you can come down and watch and see what all of the aerialists here have been working on."
The Treeline Aerial Christmas Showcase takes place on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Whistler Gymnastics. Tickets are $15 in advance at eventbrite.ca or $20 at the door. Kids are $5 with those under five free. Proceeds will help Treeline purchase new equipment. There will also be a cash bar and bake sale to help fundraise for the Whistler Gymnaestrada Team's trip to Austria next year to compete.
Doors are at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. For more, visit treelineaerialbc.com.