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May 17 09 in Current columns | Tags: acrobatic, Britney Spears, Capoeira, Circus, Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Sublime, Club Med, Cygnus, Daniela Munden, flying trapeze, Joshua Munden, Mutant X, Nelly Furtado | 1 comment
Josh Munden got more then he bargained for when he signed on to work at Club Med Turks & Caicos. So did Daniela, who was transferred to a new location from Club Med Brazil. The Newfoundlander and Brazilian met in 2002, he was the Chief Catcher – having already clocked 4 years – and she was a Flyer working at the circus. “After working, practicing and performing together for 3 weeks, it was obvious we were in the wrong relationships. We fixed that right away,” Josh shares proudly.
Josh’s interests in travel were sparked after “a student exchange program in Cuba for 4 months,” offers Daniela. She was led to Club Med because of her educational background in Restaurant Management though she applied herself with the kids and sports going on as well. And, “it was as soon as we made our first ‘catch’ that got us hooked,” Josh exclaimed.
With more then two decades of aerial acrobatic experience, Josh was a competitive gymnast for 7 years with Cygnus and Daniela has been involved in everything from ballet to swimming and even the Brazilian martial art, Capoeira. “All you have to do is see [it] and you will understand where the acrobatics come from, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen,” compliments Josh, who has some unbelievable career highlights himself. Wanting to be a stunt man since childhood, Josh worked to make the dream come true and appears in Nelly Furtado’s Forca video and on an episode of Mutant X. He’s also performed with Circus Sublime and was a rigger for Britney Spears in Toronto.
The duo returned to Newfoundland, establishing ACRO-ADIX to teach acrobatics to anyone interested in the challenge and experience, not to mention the fun, in a safe environment; eventually determining if students are flyers or catchers. “In my opinion, the flyer is the show, they throw the tricks, and are the ones that have to look tight and clean in the air. The catcher is the finisher; it’s all on their shoulders. They call the timing; they’re the quarterback of the team,” Josh explains.
“It’s just like dancing in the air, the catcher and flyer need to work together, trusting each other,” Daniela adds.
The timing couldn’t be better for ACRO-ADIX, “because the aerial arts are booming thanks to Cirque du Soleil who work hard to make their performers perfect and they need more for future acts,” says Daniela, adding athletes are starting younger. In fact, age is one of many ‘qualities’ that don’t even play a factor. Josh and Daniela have taught an 85 year old all the way down to their daughter, Luna, who started at 2. They’ve also had deaf students as well as autistic youth, and a blind 11 year old from Alaska up on the trapeze. “It’s just a great way to be fit, feeling free,” Daniela says, “I challenge myself and guide students to succeed safely on their own terms.”
Becoming an aerial artist can also be as big or small a commitment as the student wants to make it. Having been asked to audition for Cirque twice already, the duo has the connections needed to help their students achieve real goals and build careers. Or, flying on the trapeze can be more of a hobby or just a personal fitness method. Of course, “like any sport or physical activity, the better shape you are in, the better off you will be. But just doing this activity is going to get you in good shape,” Josh points out. It’s a full body work out and entertaining at the same time.
More information including class times and registration is available at http://www.acro-adix.com or by calling 743-3618. ACRO-ADIX is at 161 Thorburn Road and 2 hour classes are $30.00, with additional drop-in weekend programs like Fun Fly Day! Classes for flying trapeze and bungee trampolines are offered 3 times daily, 5 days of the week (they will be outside to accommodate the ideal 40’ clearance). The Munden’s hope an indoor location will be determined in the near future but will take advantage of every nice day. They’re also planning a show for the end of the summer featuring students and hope to perform in a few themselves. There are more goals too, setting up the euro-bungee trampoline at the Regatta, Sea Hawks half time shows, fundraising opportunities and getting schools involved.
Josh and Daniela Munden couldn’t be a more dedicated pair and both agree there is nothing more rewarding than having a positive impact in people’s lives. “If Cirque du Soleil is coming back and doubling shows, that means there’s an interest,” and ACRO-ADIX is the first of it’s kind in Atlantic Canada, “so the sky’s the limit,” according to Josh. And he just might be right.