Last year Chloe Apps barely knew what an aerialist was.
But just 12 months later, the 15-year-old looks like an expert as she hoists herself high onto long, suspended silks, then twists and wraps her body into knots before gracefully falling towards the ground.
Along with fellow Woonona High School students Brooke Farrow, Amy Bradbury and Emma Maslowski, Chloe has put in hours of gruelling lunchtime practice to master her new skill.
Now this hard work is paying off as the four girls prepare to show-off their new-found acrobatics at the prestigious Schools Spectacular performance at the end of the month.
The Sydney show gathers the best school-aged talent from around NSW and this year the girls will perform the first acrobatics and aerial display in front of thousands of people.
Having previously performed for only classmates and at a school variety night, they are understandably nervous about their big debut.
"We don't even really know what we'll be doing yet but we'll find out in our first rehearsal this week," Brooke said.
"It a pretty big deal and pretty nerve-racking," Chloe said.
Circus skills were introduced at Woonona High thanks to physical education teacher Guy McDermott, who grew up in a circus.
He installed silks in the school hall after a year 8 circus skills elective proved hugely popular and said his students' talent soon surpassed his own.
"We've got a class of about 30 students who come at lunchtime to practise and these girls are some of the standouts," Mr McDermott said.
"I taught them everything I knew in the first week and they have just accelerated from there."
He said students enjoyed the fun and fitness aspects of his class, but had also gained friendships and confidence
"The social side of it is great and the kids learn from each other to develop these skills they never thought they'd have and it gives them confidence in other areas of school," he said.
Schools Spectacular is on at Sydney Entertainment Centre on November 23 and 24.