The Sisters

Growing up, Maggie and Audrey Zielinski of South Bend tried all the traditional sports, but they found their passion in performance.

They had done ballet at Southold Dance Theatre and gymnastics at Elite Sports Academy (ESA) in South Bend, but about five years ago, Audrey, now 14, quit ballet and was looking for something different. That’s when she found aerial arts.

“I thought I wanted to do more gymnastics, but my mom showed me a video of somebody doing something on the silk,” Audrey said. She got one of the last spots in the class. Her sister Maggie, now 16, got on the waiting list, and a spot opened up about a month later.

While the sisters have practiced and leveled up together, most of their performances have been individual. Oaklawn’s Got Talent will be an opportunity to perform together, while still showcasing their unique strengths – Audrey on the silk, and Maggie on the hoop.

The girls are working on choreographing their performance, which will highlight sisterhood and strength – and a little Taylor Swift. They are both big fans, and lucky enough to have seen her in concert twice.

Choreography is Maggie’s favorite part of the act. “I like creating the story and picking out moves and putting them together in a sequence that flows,” she said. “It’s my own creation so when I perform it, it feels like an accomplishment.”

Drops are Audrey’s favorite. It’s when the artist does a series of wraps, then falls – allowing the wraps to unwind then catch them as they fall.

“People think it’s scary,” Audrey said. “You see people falling on the silk and catching themselves and you’d think that’s terrifying, but at least for me, I’m fully in control and I know all the wraps I’m doing. I’m strong enough to do it and there’s a lot of things they do to keep us safe.”

While the girls have invested a lot in learning aerial arts, they keep up other interests, too. Maggie loves to read, Audrey enjoys painting, and both girls participate in robotics teams. They both hope to one day attend Purdue; Maggie wants to study something STEM-related, and Audrey engineering.

But something all of their interests have in common is that they require creativity.

They say they’re looking forward to using that creativity in Oaklawn’s Got Talent.

“It’s a way to serve and help our community by using our talents,” Audrey said. “At our school, they stress community service, and I think this is a great way to help our community.”

“This is one of our strengths,” Maggie said, “and a way we can give back.”

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