Nova Wilson finds peace in performing


Nova Wilson

Nova participates in a variety of unique sports, but they all involve a performance aspect.

Freshman Nova Wilson found themself hanging by one ankle from a long silk cloth. However, despite the precarious situation, Nova was laughing. While this experience in aerial arts may seem terrifying to most, Nova is familiar with learning new skills and performing tricks with the silks.

For those who are unfamiliar, aerial arts involve performing tricks on suspended silk hung from the ceiling—notorious aerial arts performances include Cirque de Soleil. Nova discovered this unique art form through gymnastics; after about seven years of this sport, they were ready for a change.

“The performing aspects [drew me in],” Nova said. “I love performing—I always have. Even how I talk, speak, and write is very expressive.”

Although aerial arts may be the most uncommon activity that Nova takes part in, their passion for performing carries into other sports as well. Nova also takes part in color guard, both competitively as a part of the school team and outside of it.

I love performing—I always have. Even how I talk, speak, and write is very expressive.

— Nova Wilson

Since both of these events are watched by an audience and judges, it is no surprise that Nova can become nervous at times. However, performing in any manner is more of a relief than a stressful experience for them.

“It’s an escape,” Nova said. “It’s a way to explain not only the good but also the bad. I’ve definitely been nervous—it’s nerve-wracking for sure—but the best thing has always been my teammates and having people there solely to support me.”

Nova’s teammates are the most important aspect of any team for them. Not only do they support their performance, but any teammates also serve as a group of friends.

Nova uses their school color guard team as a way to bond with their peers at the high school, but outside of the school walls, they have made friends with people from all over the state through aerial arts and competitive color guard.

“[My relationship with my teammates] is really good,” Nova said. “It’s not perfect, because nothing is, but through color guard, I’ve made some absolutely incredible friends. I do it competitively in Caledonia, and it lets you build a lot of connections that you wouldn’t otherwise. Same with aerial arts.”

Along with teammates, Nova has had many aerials arts coaches—four in the last two years. Although they have switched around many times, their current coach is someone to look up to for Nova both within and outside of the gym. Because he has a job in political science, which is what Nova hopes to have as a career later on, Nova and their coach have formed connections in other ways as well.

Despite the fact that Nova is influenced by their peers to an extent, they find that the greatest motivation to work hard comes from within.

“I don’t necessarily find inspiration from others,” Nova said, “but rather myself in the case of ‘If I put my head to it, I can do just about anything I wish.’ If you put in the effort, the outcome will eventually be there.”

It is fortunate that Nova has such a mindset due to the fact that aerial arts can seem intimidating to most. The complexity and performance aspect of the sport may drive some away, but Nova takes it on with a smile.

There is no doubt that aerial arts is a unique activity, but it is also different than many other sports in the way that in addition to honing familiar skills, Nova must also learn and take on new skills. However, they don’t let the difficulties get to them.

“No matter where you’re starting, they can match it,” Nova said. “Two years ago, I could barely climb a silk. Now, I can do things that I would have said ‘absolutely not’ to even a year and a half ago. It definitely tests the limit of mental blocks—it can take a bit, but just do it. You’ve just got to take the leap. No matter how scary it is, you can say you did it.”