Gabryle Brody has always found the aerial arts mesmerizing, but she recently took the leap, quite literally, and left her nine-to-five job to become an aerialist. Since then, she has boldly embraced the artform through both teaching and circus-style performances. Brody continues to leave a mark on the Phoenix community through her work at Vertical Fix Circus Arts Studio, where she also gifts the artform to others.
WOD: When did you first become interested in aerial arts?
Gabryle Brody (GB): I went to a lot of Cirque du Soleil shows when they would come into town. I loved those, but I never really knew that was an option as a child, so I always had it in the back of my mind, and after graduating college and coming back to the city, working a normal nine-to-five job, I needed an outlet. There just happened to be an aerial yoga studio down the street from my house, and after my first class I was hooked. But it wasn’t until about a year into it that I actually dove into the aerial arts. That’s when I really fell in love.
WOD: Was there anyone specific who kind of influenced you when you first started?
GB: There were a couple people, when I first started that I was really inspired by. The first one, her name is Holly Jarvis, and she just moved so fluidly. She was so beautiful to watch. I think that was an inspiration.
WOD: What was your first show like? What’s the difference between performing and teaching?
GB: My first show was in October of this last year, in 2021. I was 26 years old, and I had been teaching since July of 2021, so I had a couple months of teaching under my belt, and this specific performance came up pretty fast. And so I ended up doing a routine I had just taught to my student, and after teaching a routine for a whole month, it’s pretty much engraved in your body, and doing it in a performance setting was easy-peasy.
I perform about once a month in the valley right now and then I teach 4 to 5 days a week.
WOD: Do you feel like your performances inspire you to continue your aerial arts, or what’s the biggest inspiration that you have?
GB: I think performing most definitely encourages me to grow and continue to push myself. Step out of my comfort zone. The levels that I teach are more entry-level to just above entry-level. More recreational, so I don’t ever really dive too deep into my wheelhouse of tricks. That’s why performing is nice to have on the side. I love teaching because I get to watch, as you’d suspect, how everyone in the circus world is a little kooky, and it’s always fun.
WOD: How does your love for the Aerial arts impact your work-life in general?
GB: It was always this constant battle of how to divide my time, and I realized that I was spending more of my nine-to-five work day thinking about getting home and training. So over the summer, I ended up quitting my job, and now I teach full-time. And my husband has learned to support me.
WOD: Is there any other way you stay involved in and contribute to the arts community in Phoenix? I know you recently did the “Drag me to the Circus,” which also featured Trey, who performs Cirque Du So Trey, so along those lines, how does your art fit in there?
GB: Yeah, so I’ve also been a part of the Melrose fair, just a couple weeks ago. I had the rig up and did some routines there in conjunction with all the other arts and crafts that were there. I’ve had some other shows that were collaborations with other artists. Even if it was dancers, painters, or magicians, it was an open call for whoever wanted to Showcase their art. And then in my free time, we are always going to local artist galleries or First Fridays. Our whole house is filled with local Arts.
WOD: How does being a part of Vertical Fix in Phoenix specifically impact your work?
GB: I feel like it’s helped me evolve a specific style, which is really cool, and it’s allowed me to reach more students than I would at my home studio. I’ve been doing this professionally for only two and a half years, and I don’t think I’ve even come close to covering all the bases yet.