By Jeff Pederson
for The Beacon
Bringing together the worlds of dance, fitness and aerial arts, Warped Studios in Sheboygan Falls provides a training experience that is unmatched in Sheboygan County.
Warped Studios, which is the home of Warped Dance Company, has carved out a dance-based aerial training regiment that has generated enough interest to fill class rosters to the brim in recent years.
Under the direction of Warped Dance Company and Warped Studios Owner and Artistic Director Maria Hackbarth has grown from its modest beginnings into one of the most in-demand aerial dance studios in the state of Wisconsin.
“I founded Warped Dance Company in 2007 as a contemporary, modern dance company that performed internationally and domestically for eight years,” Hackbarth said. “In 2014 we performed at the Charlotte Dance Festival in North Carolina where I first encountered aerial dance and instantly fell in love with the art.
“In 2015, I opened Warped Studios in a small space above the Daydream Café in downtown Sheboygan Falls,” she said. “It was well received instantly and later that year I needed to move to a larger space with higher ceilings. It was then I discovered Plankview Green and customized my current studio.”
Since moving into an expansive space at 1104 Plankview Green Blvd. at the Plankview Green Retail Center on the northwest side of the city of Sheboygan Falls in February 2017, Hackbarth has seen interest in Warped Studios literally take off with a strong emphasis on the many intricacies of the art and physicality of aerial dance.
“Warped Studios first and foremost is an aerial studio,” Hackbarth said. “We teach all ages all forms of aerial dance, including silks, lyra, hammock, bungee and trapeze.
“As a foundation, dancers also take traditional dance classes, such as ballet, contemporary and acrobatic,” she said. “We also offer tumbling and hoop dance classes. Students have the opportunity to train to become a member of Warped Dance Company.”
Under Hackbarth’s watchful eye, Warped Dance Company has developed into one of the premiere aerial dance units in the region, performing to rave reviews throughout the country.
“Warped Dance Company performs around the United States as well as locally for private events and festivals,” Hackbarth said. “We also have produced and performed an aerial version of ‘The Nutcracker’ for the last three years in Sheboygan.”
While Warped Studios serves as the home of Warped Dance Company, the bread and butter of Hackbarth’s growing business is its aerial dance and fitness classes offered on a continuous basis.
“For fitness classes, we offer an aerial stretch class that uses aerial hammocks for a unique way to stretch,” Hackbarth said. “We also just earned certification in bungee fitness classes where students work out attached to a bungee. We are the only studio in the area with that certification.”
The Plankview Green location has allowed Warped Studios to grow beyond Hackbarth’s wildest dreams.
“The response to Warped Studios has been fantastic,” Hackbarth said. “Since opening at Plankview Green, we have expanded twice to accommodate the increase in the number of students.
“We currently have a waiting list for our young fliers program and the adult classes are always near or at capacity,” she said. “We have also started partnering with MKE Reign in New Berlin and are offering classes in the Milwaukee area.
As a one-of-a-kind dance and fitness facility in Sheboygan County, Hackbarth says Warped Studios has a leg up on its competition.
“Warped Studios is the only aerial studio in the area, which separates us from other dance and fitness studios,” Hackbarth said. “We are also the only bungee fitness certified studio. We also have among our instructors four University of Wisconsin dance bachelor’s degrees, one bungee fitness certification and currently have two instructors being certified in acrobatic dance. We recently sent three dancers to the Aerialympics, which is a national aerial competition, in St. Louis, Missouri and they came home with three first place and one third place medal.”
“We offer classes seven days a week,” Hackbarth said. “I encourage people to check out warped-studios.com to view a full schedule of classes. Students are also welcome to register in person at the studio.”