Jetlag has me running behind about a week and has kept me from presenting you with September’s Fit Showgirl Spotlight. Despite these post vacation blues I am super stoked to be showcasing the multi-talented, gravity-defying pint-sized powerhouse Emma D’lemma.
I first had the pleasure of being wowed by Emma at the Texas Burlesque Festival in 2014 and have been keeping my internet eye on her since. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Dance at Texas Tech University, Emma began training in aerial arts in 2011. With her lifelong dance training and immersion into aerial arts, Emma started to focus on fitness alongside her artistry. She became a certified personal trainer in 2014 with ACE and has tried many different forms of exercise such as powerlifting, gymnastics, rock climbing, and swimming. After spending some time in the field of aerial arts performance and teaching beginner to advanced students, Emma attended Circus Warehouse’s Professional Intensive Program for further study of circus arts. Her specialties include aerial silks, aerial rope, hammock, cube, and flexibility.
Emma can be found performing in the likes of New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Dominican Republic, and the list goes on. If you can’t make it to see her in person you can check out some of her performances on Youtube. I also suggest you follow Emma on Instagram.
What is your name?
How long have you been performing?
Almost my whole life, but mostly burlesque and circus since 2011.
What type of performance do you do?
Burlesque, circus arts, and modern dance.
What does fit mean to you?
Being fit means feeling good!
When do you feel your best?
I usually feel my best after a good cardio session or after a good stretch session.
How often do you workout or are you active?
I usually work out six days a week. Depending on the week, I’ll get two rest days.
Do you prefer to work out at home, the gym or attend classes?
For things like deep/ contortion style stretching, I like to do that at home. Some of the faces I make are not so nice, plus I have all the necessary props at home which a gym may not have. However, I love the gym atmosphere when I am getting cardio or conditioning in. I do enjoy going to the studio for my aerial workouts. I especially enjoy going when I know other acrobats will be there making gains as well. Most of the time I will take a class. I’m definitely a group exercise creature :). I tend to vibe off the motivation in the room.
Is there a specific type of workout/exercise you haven’t tried but are interested in?
Hmm, this is a tough one. I’ve been super curious yet avoidant of Krav Maga and Parkour. I see several of my friends excelling in Krav and their bodies look AMAZING. And gawd damn, jumping from thing to thing looks super fun.
It’s hard to convince myself to go take a class in either, so I tend to stray away from types of exercise that could leave me with an injury that’s out of my control. As a performer, even a sprained ankle could set me back in training or financially.
Is there a certain area of your body you concentrate on when working out?
In order I’d say it is shoulders, core, and hips. This is the trifecta of aerial awesomeness in my opinion.
For shoulders I really like using resistance bands and doing shrug exercises on the silks (both inverted and not inverted). For core I love a good plank session. As well as any tuck/ like/ straddle variation (from hollow on the ground, or in head stand, or in plank). For hips I try to combine a little Pilates and ballet, like leg lifts (put your foot on the barre and lift your leg as one unit), lunges, and tilted leg lifts.
Do you have a favorite piece of workout gear or accessory?
Oh man, I’m a big fan of the superbands right now. I love them for stretching and for resistance training. I also really love sliders for abs (everyone in my conditioning class hates it).
What was it that got you into circus and aerial arts?
I tried it out while I was at the American Dance Festival one summer during my college years. So many people had told me, “You’re so strong! You’d be great at it! You’d make a great flyer!” Aerial was nonexistent in the town where I went to college. So I figured why not since it was accessible and then one year later, boom. I did my first show as an aerialist.
Do you find that your circus training inspires your burlesque and vice versa?
Eh, sometimes. I find that music and my college dance background continuously inspire both. I really enjoy making pieces that jerk emotions out of an audience. I’d say that’s why I haven’t created an official glove peel/ classic routine yet. I just can’t find the motivation to make one if I don’t think it will make someone go home and question reality. The costuming of burlesque most certainly inspires my costuming for circus though. I made a rope routine just so I could attempt tear away shorts on rope. It worked and it was awesome.
What is your biggest challenge or weakness in regards to health & fitness and what do you do to overcome it?
At this very (while I’m writing this) moment I am eating elote with my Mexican boyfriend. Steamed corn with mayo, cheese, and hot sauce. I’d have to say many of the delicious foods he makes at home/ has shown me are definitely hard to say no to.
Overall though, it’s food and my schedule. I do generally make healthier choices when it comes to eating and snacking. I definitely do not have a routine like I used to when I had I solid gym job. I live on the go, my schedule is almost never the same week to week, and sometimes after a late night club gig carbs are my best friend. I try to overcome the carb calling by having food prepped at home.
What are your words of advice for others on how to stay fit & focused in the nightlife world?
Bring snacks with you!!! Trail mix, bananas, and Complete Cookies are my go to gig bag snacks. Every strip club, burlesque show, rehearsal, or nightclub gig I’ve ever had has been made better by knowing I’ve got snacks in my bag. Also knowing that I can go home to a nice meal I’ve already made is pretty sweet too. Whether it’s a class or a late night workout I find that keeping a training schedule keeps me accountable. Depending on my schedule some days I do more than others, and that’s okay. As long as I feel good and see progress in strength or flexibility then I just keep doing what I’m doing. If I don’t feel good then that’s when I need to find a change. Ah, the life of a gig chaser.