High-flying student wows Ozarks with aerial agility

Release Date: 3/2/2012

The audience for the recent sold-out Ozarks cabaret show already has the scoop on this, but for the rest of you: U of O has acrobats!

Linda Ollivier, a freshman from Chihuahua, Mexico, is an expert in the high-flying arts.

Linda Ollivier, a freshman from Chihuahua, Mexico, is an expert in the high-flying arts.

Well, one acrobat, anyway. Linda Ollivier, a freshman from Chihuahua, Mexico, is an expert in the high-flying arts.

"I started when I was 16 years old," said Ollivier. "So I have been practicing for four years. It was back home in Chihuahua. I saw they had opened an academy where I could learn, and I was curious, so I signed up. It was easier for me than many of the other girls because I already had the strength from playing volleyball. Plus I have always been in the gym and doing sports, so I was able to learn the techniques quickly."

She was a quick study learning the silks. "By the second week after I started learning this art, I was already climbing the whole silk and doing some movements," she said. "By the month's end I learned all the basic moves, and in my second month I was already doing performances."

Ollivier, whose major is undeclared but who is "leaning toward" strategic communications, was approached by Walton Professor of Theatre Bruce Brown after being contacted by Director of Physical Education Activities Sally Wood about Ollivier's interest in auditioning for the cabaret show. "It was great being in the cabaret, the opportunity Bruce Brown gave me," she said. "Last semester I mentioned to Sally Wood I really wanted to start the auditions for the cabaret, and she called him. It was very exciting!"

Ollivier is trained in performing aerial silk, also known as aerial contortion, a type of performance in which one or more artists perform aerial acrobatics while hanging from a special fabric. Performers climb the suspended fabric without the use of safety lines and rely only on their training and skill to ensure safety. They use the fabric to wrap, suspend, fall, swing, and spiral their bodies into and out of various positions. Aerial silks may be used to fly through the air, striking poses and figures while flying.

Linda Ollivier

Ollivier is trained in performing aerial silk, a type of performance where she performs aerial acrobatics while hanging from a special fabric.

"The highest performance I've done was at a presentation back in Chihuahua, where I was approximately 45 feet in the air," Ollivier says. "I have done some performance with more than one silk, actually performances with two or three aerial dancers doing the same choreography."

Ollivier says people have asked her about performing in the circus. "I haven't thought of really doing that - I want to prioritize school - but I would like to keep practicing here at Ozarks and do performances for important game openings or any kind of show," she says. "I have never tried the trapeze, but if I get the chance I'll definitely try it. It sounds like a lot of fun to me!"

Ollivier said she had considered the possibility of teaching a class in the subject, but mainly wants to arrange a place to practice. "For fun I like to do sports," she said. "When I have my free time, I go with friends to play volleyball or soccer. When I'm stressed out, exercising helps me to relax." She adds her favorite part of living in Clarksville is the biking trails across town. "I bought my bike two weeks after we started school, and I spend a lot of time out there riding in nature," she said.

Once she finishes her degree, Ollivier plans to return to Mexico. "I don't know what career exactly I'll go into," she said. "Possibly a multinational company? I'm not quite that far ahead in my planning yet. I guess I could always go ahead and join the circus!"