Aerial arts studio Sky Candy operates with mission to welcome all

An advanced student practices using aerial silks at Sky Candy.

An advanced student practices using aerial silks at Sky Candy.

Image description
Sky Candy
Image description
Sky Candy
Growing up in New York, Winnie Hsia did not have access to dance or gymnastics classes, and team sports did not appeal to her.

Hsia’s relationship to fitness changed, however, when she moved to Austin from New York 12 years ago. Along with some friends, she began taking group lessons at a local aerial studio, where she learned how to do gymnastic exercises and acrobatic stunts using two parallel silk ropes suspended from the ceiling.

“It was really joyful for me to engage in a physical activity where I could see my own progress,” she said. “I was getting stronger by trying, but I also wasn’t being judged along the way.”

After about a year of group lessons, Hsia felt confident enough to join a class with strangers.

“[The experience] really changed how I view my body and my capabilities,” she said.

A few years later, hoping to introduce others to these benefits, Hsia founded Sky Candy, an East Austin studio offering classes in the aerial arts, circus training and pole dancing in July 2010.

The studio’s mission is to provide a space that is welcoming to all, regardless of fitness level, gender, income or size.

Initially, Hsia taught classes in the backyard of the Vortex Theater, stringing up a single aerial ring for students to use in the summer heat.

After bouncing around to a few different locations in East Austin, Sky Candy landed at Springdale General,  a new mixed-use development with a slew of local tenants from the creative industries, last year.

With the encouragement from her staff, Hsia also started a youth program at Sky Candy, fundraising money to support classes for at-risk youth and working with a licensed clinical social worker to help her staff take a therapeutic approach.

“It’s been so nice to be like, ‘Oh, I can now identify when someone is feeling stressed out ... [or] left out, when someone is frustrated with themselves for not being able to do something, and then help them and support them emotionally,” she said.

Hsia brings an entrepreneurial spirit to the business; she majored in marketing and accounting and ran social media  for Whole Foods Market.

When she first moved to Austin, she also owned Naturally Tasty, a small vegan and macrobiotic catering company, for a period of time.

While the new venture may seem different, Hsia said both fulfill a similar goal.

“I realized the thing I actually wanted was to be able to create spaces where people could gather and feel connected to each other and feel joy,” she said.


Navarro Early College High School, pictured here, is one of over 30 Austin ISD schools frozen to transfer students for the coming 2020-21 school year. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD announces 31 schools frozen to transfers for 2020-21 school year

Austin ISD released its list of schools that will not be accepting in-district transfer students for the 2020-21 school year.

Austin Regional Clinic has administered more than 84,000 flu vaccinations to date in 2019.
DATA: Austin Regional Clinic gave thousands of flu tests after Thanksgiving; second spike possible during holidays

Austin Regional Clinic gave more than 4,500 flu tests leading up to Thanksgiving.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler (center), flanked by Assistant City Manager Christopher Shorter and City Attorney Ann Morgan, listen to public testimony on the land development code rewrite Dec. 7. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Property owners objecting to Austin’s land development code rewrite sue city for rejecting their protest rights

The lawsuit could hold up the city's approval of its land development code overhaul.

The city of Austin will begin charging a $0.15 per trip regulatory fee on shared mobility vehicles in early 2020. Community Impact Staff
City of Austin will implement a $0.15 regulatory fee on shared mobility rides

The city of Austin will begin charging a $0.15 per trip regulatory fee on shared mobility vehicles, which include electric bikes and scooters, Austin Transportation Director Robert Spillar wrote in a Dec. 10 memo to City Council.

The proposed bridge design is in a wishbone shape and includes a plaza space at the center. (Rendering courtesy city of Austin)
City of Austin reveals wishbone design for new bridge over Longhorn Dam

The city of Austin debuted a design proposal for a new bridge over the Longhorn Dam connecting the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail at a Dec. 10 open house.

Travis County commissioners voted to allow staff to begin contract negotiations for a new women's jail facility at a Dec. 10 meeting. (Courtesy Travis County Sheriff's Office)
Travis County begins contract negotiations for women’s jail facility as overall jail population continues to decline

The county has planned to build a new, separate women’s facility for years, despite some pushback from local activists.

The Microtel Inn and Suites is located in Southeast Austin, only a 4.5-mile drive from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Courtesy Google Maps)
Zoning concern prevents Austin from moving forward with second conversion of hotel to homeless shelter

Officials have already indicated they are eyeing other hotels and motels for purchase and conversion into homeless shelters.

Block 21 will change ownership. The mixed-use development includes ACL Live at the Moody Theater and the W Austin hotel.
W Austin and ACL Live development will sell for $275 million

The transaction is expected to close in 2020.

When Austin voters approved a $250 million affordable housing bond in 2018, they signed off on using part of that funding to expand a home repair program for low-income residents. Many beneficiaries are seniors.
Affordable housing bond funding helps seniors 'age in place' through home repair program

When Austin voters approved a historic $250 million affordable housing bond in 2018, they signed off on a $28 million investment in home repairs for low-income residents.

Common winter allergies in Texas are caused by pollen from the Ashe juniper—also known as a mountain cedar. The tree is native to the area. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
As pollen counts rise in Central Texas, learn about cedar fever and allergy prevention

As temperatures cool heading into the winter season in Central Texas, pollen counts from Ashe juniper trees begin to climb, causing seasonal allergies referred to locally by residents as “cedar fever.”

Back to top