Gearing up to perform as an aerialist takes several steps. The costume, the hair, the make-up, but most importantly, getting into character. Lydia Gallup of Luminary Entertainment Company performs many acts including aerial silks and lyra, fire dancing, LED dancing, stilt walking and many more.
“My friends joke that in real life I don't like to be the center of attention, but I change completely when I perform,” Lydia said. “Especially if I am doing an act when I am trying to portray a character, I try to get into that headspace before I approach my apparatus, so I am in that character.”
Lydia said that she transforms into character through music. Each act she performs on an aerial apparatus has a soundtrack, and once the music starts, she is ready to transform.
Lydia started dancing at the early age of five, starting like most other young dancers with tap and ballet. As she grew past her teen years, her love of dance intensified, but it grew harder to find dance classes for adults. She began teaching pole dancing and it was there that a friend introduced her to aerial silks.
“I’ve taken every type of dance class I could find, but when I tried aerial silks out, it was love at first sight,” Lydia said. “I love it; it’s just a beautiful way to express emotions using your body.”
Luminary Entertainment Company has 10 performers on the roster, all are busy women with other responsibilities, but all have the same love for performance.
“We are all mothers and people with other things going on, but busy people are the ones to get things done,” Lydia said. “We are an encouraging space for women, I really try to foster a space of warmth and growth for our troupe.”
Lydia said that when practicing for performances, the girls gather at her Destin home and often end up chatting and catching up for the first half hour of the meeting before diving into the routines.
“We often have our rehearsals centered around some type of cheese, snack or dessert,” Lydia said. “After the social hour, we do our training portion and then frantic goodbyes as we all have to run off to other things in our lives.”
But all the practicing, transforming, and hustling is worth it when the troupe gets out in front of a crowd and performs. Seeing the crowd entranced by the performers, or the children’s faces light up in awe is what makes all the rushing worthwhile.
“We are just a group of women who fell in love with performing,” Lydia said. “Everyday life could use a little more magic in it, and we are grateful to be a source of that in the world.”