An Interview With Our Traveling Aufgussiers
Gabrielle Cote and Jade Coulombe are two Aufgussierss at Nordik Spa-Nature. They perform the traditional Aufguss ritual in our Finlandia spa. The two have been performing rituals for a couple years but considering the amount of work they have done in that short amount of time, their combined experience is equivalent to someone who has been practicing for over a decade.
As we mentioned in our previous article, they’ve embarked on a tour of Europe where they will train and compete with other Aufgussierss from around the world at the Freestyle Classic Aufguss. Their travels are now underway and we wanted to share an interview we did with them before they left, so that you can learn more about their career path, and their European adventures.
Q. What interested you in becoming an Aufgussier?
Jade: I was figure skating for eighteen years and was also teaching the sport. What I really enjoyed was the artistic elements, the art of the movements. I found out about Aufguss and thought it had a lot of the same principles and elements as figure skating. I started doing the rituals and loved it immediately. When a Aufguss Meister Trainer came to visit Nordik Spa-Nature, I realized there was a lot I didn’t know, it was so much more developed than I thought. The more I learn the more I want to learn. I have really developed a passion for Aufguss rituals.
Gabrielle: I was in the circus since I was 10 years old, where I specialized in a type of performance art very similar to the towel movements done in Aufguss. I immediately fell in love with the ritual, especially because I can use my own music and choreography. My circus background helped me with my routines, it all felt very natural for me. And now it’s a passion, something I want to do all the time. The Aufguss Meister Trainer taught us so much more about the culture and the rituals, it made me want to further my teachings. I want to integrate more of the culture in my own practices.
Q. What makes a good Aufgussier?
Gabrielle: Being open. You’re in your bathing suit in front of people, swinging towels around to bring guests into a relaxed state. You have to make sure there’s the right amount of heat, that you’re using the right essential oils, and that it’s a good experience for all participants. It’s a cultural ritual, not just a spectacle. It’s important that people understand your message through your music and movements and you need to be professional while doing so.
Jade: Opening up your spirit is so important. We need to remember there’s always more to learn. You have to get your message across with how you move, your music, and your essential oils. You’re giving a certain ambiance to guests by being yourself and being unique in your rituals. That’s the only way people will appreciate it.
Q. How are you preparing for your trip?
Jade: We do around three trainings per week and we practice some choreography early in the morning a couple times a week. Tuesday nights we have meetings for a few hours trying to perfect our movements. We also give each other tests. Gabrielle will choose the music for me, to challenge me. We’re trying to be precise and be the best we can be.
Gabrielle: This whole project began 6 months ago, when I asked Jade if she wanted to go to Europe on vacation. We found out that there was a large sauna culture out there and we knew we wanted to attend Aufguss rituals to learn as much as we could. We wanted to include Nordik Spa-Nature on our travels because we knew the trip would improve the rituals we perform at the spa. We did a lot of homework and a lot of research. Nordik Spa-Nature helped us plan our travels, giving us so many incredible opportunities and setting up important meetings for us to talk to others in the Aufguss world. Jade is organizing and I’m performing in the competition. The trip is now ten times bigger than we thought it would be, and we couldn’t be happier.
Q. What are you hoping to achieve from your travel?
Jade: We don’t know all there is to know about Aufguss, we’re ready to learn so much more and we hope to bring new rituals back to our performances at Nordik Spa-Nature. We’re always wanting to get better. I’d also love to learn as much as I can about organizing these events so that I can help bring competitions to this area.
Gabrielle: We want to meet new people. We want to teach people in other spas, but also learn from them and bring our knowledge with us wherever we go.
Q. Can you tell us more about your itinerary?
Gabrielle: We’re staying in Holland where we’ll undergo three weeks of intensive training with an Aufguss Meister Trainer. Then we’re going to Germany for a week and visiting spas within the country. That’s also where we’ll attending the competition, which lasts four days. Jade is organizing and I’m training to compete. Afterwards, Jade and I will be going to Norway for two weeks to learn from the Aufgussierss in that area.
Q. What is your favourite aspect about Aufguss?
Jade: It’s the idea that we can utilize our own inspirations and ideas. It’s liberating, sharing that with people. We always feel good due to the health benefits of the spa experience, but we also feel free, because we’re able to express ourselves.
Gabrielle: My favourite aspect is being able to tell stories with my performances. Aufguss is deeply rooted in meditation, relaxation, and recounting legends. You’re informing guests about the culture of the Aufguss ritual through the art of storytelling.
Jade and Gabrielle make a great team because they’re not just co-workers, they’re best friends who consider each other family. They’re always together, which they say makes it easier for them to learn new things, as two brains are better than one.
Follow the pair on our Aufguss Instagram account.
Editor’s Note: Unfortunately Gabrielle injured her ankle when she arrived in Europe. She’s doing well and can go through with her training, but her role in the competition is uncertain at the moment and will depend on the state of her injury.