Growing up in the competitive dance community, Katie Scott experienced a lot of negativity — from her peers, her teachers, and even herself. Scott, now 26, has been able to take the time to work through a lot of this trauma, and in the process, found a newfound love for a whole different type of creative movement.
“I danced my whole life growing up, and I think that’s really hard when you work your whole life in this passion, then you turn 18, and if you don’t do it in college, you don’t do it as your job, you think, ‘How do I transition this into adulthood?’” said Scott.
She tried new things and dove into the world of circus, specifically lyra aerial, which consists of a metal ring apparatus hanging from the ceiling. Then she tackled hammock aerial, with long silk fabrics suspending the artist in the air.
“I ended up getting my yoga teacher certification, but I never really fell in love with it like I had to, and meanwhile, I’m just thinking in my head, ‘I just want to do aerial, why aren’t they just doing aerial?” said Scott. “I started it as a yoga studio because I didn’t think that my actual dreams would make it, I thought it was too niche of a thing to be able to just put into Rogers right away.”
Alas, the then-named Eureka Yoga studio opened at 21343 John Milless Drive, and six months later, the pandemic hit.
“I was 24, this is my dream, and I thought, ‘What am I gonna do after this? Go back to serving?” said Scott. “I’ve worked so hard to get here, and I felt so vulnerable.”
Before the pandemic, Scott’s studio was primarily used for adult yoga and barre, with occasional kids classes on the weekends.
“It wasn’t making me happy,” she said. “I think I was just kind of lying to myself, but a really amazing thing happened, and that is that the kids just kept coming. And that’s the reason that I was able to survive through that.”
After reopening post-shutdown, Eureka Yoga began adding more and more kids classes, and eventually, Scott stopped teaching things other than aerial altogether. In between her Zoom training courses, she created a master plan.
“It got to a point where the adult classes weren’t really filling,and it just became more work than it needed to be, so I just decided to change it to a kids aerial studio,” she said. “My plan was to actually not put that into action until June, but we decided to do it earlier. So it was like, not only are we surviving a pandemic, we’re also rebranding!”
EUREKA [YOGA] AERIAL GETS A MAKEOVER
“When I brought the kids back in, I really just fell in love with it,” said Scott on her rebrand. “I’m as passionate about teaching as I am about aerial in general.”
To Scott and her students, aerial is more than just a sport and art form — it is also a place of gathering, safety, comfort and building confidence. While the fabric or metal rings may seem daunting at first, they are a great medium for exploring fluid movement, body autonomy and control.
“A lot of students won’t try certain moves because they just feel like they can’t, because everybody has told them they can’t,” she said. “And I’ve seen so many kids flourish and be able to do incredible things on the aerial fabric and it’s just been the most inspiring thing that I’ve ever seen.”
Scott prides herself on providing a safe space for all of her students, regardless of their ability, orientation, gender expression, and the like. She stands by the statement that “all kids are so different,” and leans into this (in addition to her hoop, that is) during her teaching.
“A lot of what happened to me in the dance room growing up was honestly traumatizing,” she said. “I honestly get emotional about it ... I see what confidence it brings them, and that is what I’m really here to do, because sometimes I still grieve about what I deserved as a kid and I just get sad for myself — I’m still healing — but I’m so happy that I got through that, because now I use what I know being an awesome teacher.’’
“I guess I became the person I always wanted, and in a way, that is healing.”
Scott teaches kids and teens of all levels in aerial, in addition to workshops, classes, parties and more. The studio is a work of love, with Scott and her business partner — who owns the salon next door — DIYing their hearts out to make the space beautiful and open.
Stop by for a class or pop on the Eureka Aerial instagram page to see the glory for yourself, as the students might just be out-performing their teacher sometime soon.
“I don’t mean to brag, but they’re really good … I mean, I think they’re better than me,” she jokes. “But my students mean everything to me. The studio … this is my baby, and they’re all my babies, and it means more to me to build their confidence than anything.”