The aerialist arts date back thousands of years, but on Sunday, January 31, 2010, musical artist P!nk took America’s breath away with a dazzling Grammy’s performance in which she was swept high into the air with silks as she gracefully spun around, thus launching an interest in aerial arts that’s well outside the circus performers’ circle. Though P!nk’s performance was seven years ago, aerial arts continue to gain followers, and Atlanta has a crop of studios offering classes in this unique workout option.
First, a quick primer for the uninitiated. Aerial arts consist of different practices, each requiring the “performer” to act out different movements while hanging from an apparatus. Silks, with their billowing, colorful fabric, have grown increasingly popular, but hoop, trapeze and rope also fall under the aerial umbrella.
Kimberly Sende, owner of Inspire Aerial Arts, opened her studio in 2013 based on her time in New York City as a grad student. She took aerial classes while attending NYU and was instantly smitten with the workout. “There’s always something new to learn and always another challenge — I was never bored,” Kimberly explains. When she moved back to Atlanta she knew she had to open her own studio.
Kimberly also cleared up a couple of aerial misconceptions for us. First, you’re not just playing with pretty silks. There are health benefits to this active workout! “It’s great for your core. People think it’s a lot of arms, but it’s also your core and a total body workout,” she says. You also don’t have to be in perfect shape to live that cirque life. “Size isn’t an issue. I’ve seen aerialists in all shapes, sizes and abilities — there are no limitations.”
Interested in a next-level workout? Here’s where to get your aerial fix around Atlanta.
549-5 Amsterdam Ave., Atlanta, GA 30306 • (404) 465-4139
Now in its third home, Inspire is tucked away in Virginia Highland off Amsterdam Walk. The one-room studio is lofty, with rigging that can hold up to 10,000 pounds — that’s super reassuring as you dangle from the silks. Intro and advanced classes in silks and hoop are available throughout the week, but private lessons and group classes are also offered.
6780 Roswell Road, Studio D100, Sandy Springs, GA 30328 • (404) 309-9696
In an unassuming Sandy Springs shopping center, Sky Gym surprises with a refreshing pop of color from their rainbow silks. The blue-hued studio has a robust slate of classes with offerings such as Sky Yoga and Sky Dance. The yoga class allows you to feel “practically weightless” while you elongate your spine and stretch deeply. If cardio is more your speed, try the Sky Fit class, incorporating ground workouts and aerial silks.
The studio with the most industrial vibes of the bunch (think warehouse dance studio), The Space goes beyond silk aerial arts by also offering trapeze and pole dancing (yes, also an aerial art!). If climbing up silks — or the pole — isn’t enough for you, they have classes on the ground too. Belly dancing and breakdancing sound fun, but we’re especially intrigued by “Butt Magic,” the class that teaches you how to incorporate your glutes and quads in dancing – even if your dancing is limited to your bathroom mirror.
1833 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 • (404) 351-8663
Define is a little different from the other studios in that aerial arts aren’t the primary focus. Instead, they have a menagerie of classes including spin, trampoline and yoga. Their “mind” class is the only one that uses an aerial apparatus, but it may be the only one you need. The 75-minute class uses hammocks and is soothing in an effort to put your brain at ease, while stretching out your limbs and decompressing your back.
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