Beginning Aerial: Not Just for Kids

Written by Kelsey Aicher

Many adults are hesitant to sign up for aerial classes because they think they’re “too old.”  To you, I offer up examples of people who prove otherwise, such as Joan, a wonderful student I taught while living in Portland.


I first met Joan a month before her 86th birthday in a partner acrobatics class. A year later, I was teaching her round-offs and handstand-forward-rolls during weekly private lessons. I found out then that she had no background in gymnastics or dance and that she just started taking trapeze classes on a whim at the age of 65. Twenty-three years later, she was still taking circus classes.


One example not enough?

Okay, then how about KC Aerial Arts’ very own coach Georgeanna Layton? Georgeanna didn’t start taking aerial classes until she was fifty. Now, she is a member of our professional performance company and has performed with various companies across the country.


No one is too old for aerial. And, as it turns out, it is so much fun to do as an adult.


Here are a few reasons why:


You receive a great workout without realizing it. Aerial is surprisingly manageable. We start our students off slowly and increase the difficulty of moves as strength increases. Students build muscle, gain flexibility, and even improve endurance.


It is an exercise hidden behind cool tricks and pretty shapes.


You can bring your friends. Trying a new activity is often more fun with a friend or partner. So many adult students attend class with their spouse as a weekly date night activity or with their best friend for a “girls’ night out.” It is a great excuse to take an hour out of your usual routine and bond with a friend while navigating foot lock tangles together.

You will have a new community. As an adult, it can be difficult to make new friends outside of work. Fortunately, the circus community is very welcoming.


Students often become instant friends on their first day. All of the veteran students and coaches go out of their way to make new members feel at home. And the relaxed, non-competitive nature of aerial arts is incredibly supportive.


You feel like a badass. Conquering unimaginable feats, overcoming doubts, exceeding limitations…they all happen in aerial class.


Self-confidence bulks up alongside those shoulder muscles. It’s hard not to feel indestructible when inverted in a straddle ten feet above the ground.

You can fly! Okay, aerial arts does not actually defy gravity, but it sure puts up a good fight.


Floating through the air while doing beats on trapeze and spinning so fast on a lyra that the whole world is a blur are what dreams are made of.

Still think you’re too old? Drop in for a class and see for yourself. The only thing I enjoy more than teaching beginning adults is proving them wrong. 😉