Women You Should Know: Yvette Reyes, Owner, FM Aerial & Movement Arts

Written by: Brady Drake

By Arielle Windham

A first-generation American growing up in rural Minnesota, a female welder working the night shift, a Fargo transplant, a young entrepreneur trying to establish a new business during the COVID-19 pandemic—for Yvette Reyes, owner of FM Aerial & Movement Arts, feeling like an outsider was always a part of her identity. It wasn’t a part she necessarily liked, though.

“It’s this feeling of being disconnected from those around you,” Reyes said. “For me, something as simple as voting was difficult. I worked from 4:15 p.m. to 2:55 a.m., which meant I had to choose between sleeping and voting. I felt like I couldn’t be a part of any changes being made to my community. I didn’t get out and I wasn’t able to participate in things.”

So, focusing on the determination and strong work ethic that had propelled her this far, she set about creating a space for herself and others like her—bringing the outside in.

Building blocks

“Social capital isn’t something I came in with,” Reyes said. “For a small business—without a big marketing budget—the people who know you are your first supporters.”

Success for FM Aerial & Movement Arts required putting herself out there, which was quite the challenge for a self-proclaimed introvert. The studio started with a small core membership—a holdover from the previous ownership—but if she wanted to encourage growth both as a business and a community, Reyes recognized the need to invest in herself as an artist and a business owner.

In addition to working with organizations like the North Dakota Small Business Association to develop her business skills, she started making friends and building social capital with other entrepreneurs through networking events. She focused on her personal fitness journey, adding skills, and diving into safer ways to move and encourage the body as well as how to be a more effective instructor.

The original studio had been strictly pole-based fitness. Despite having no aerial background, Reyes saw silk and lyra classes as a chance to differentiate her space and create more room for exploration and community. She included aerial in the studio’s new name and never looked back.

“Being who I am, I couldn’t just be another pole studio,” Reyes said. “I wanted to be different by establishing a goal that was true to me and bring a new art form to the Fargo-Moorhead area, and respect it by taking time to learn the ins and outs so that I can keep people safe and teach skills properly.”

If you build it, they will come

Today, FM Aerial & Movement Arts has become an important part of the Fargo-Moorhead aerial community. The studio retains its place as a safe, inclusive space for adults interested in pole fitness, but has added adult and youth aerial programming as well as an aerialist for hire for special events.

Reyes continues to expand the opportunities for inclusion at FM Aerial & Movement Arts. In addition to youth classes, the studio is offering summer camp programs for young aerialists.

She has also added a childcare option during certain classes, giving parents a chance to take some time for themselves safely and confidently. She is also looking outward to fostering stronger connections between POC members of our community.

“I have had a number of friends move away from the area recently because they felt isolated,” Reyes said. “They felt there was not enough of a community here that they identify with.”

To help break this cycle of coming and going, Reyes works with organizations like CASA, which supports our local Latino community. She also champions the efforts of individuals like Frederick Edwards, founder of Fred’s Dissonance, and Rachel Stone of P’s & Q’s Etiquette to help open doors for others like herself looking for a welcoming space to foster growth and connections.

Learn more about Reyes as well as current classes, workshops, and camps.

FM Aerial & Movement Arts

Facebook | /fmaerial
Instagram | @fmaerial

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.