Defying Gravity

The Art of Aerial Dance

Aerial artists have captivated audiences with their gravity-defying performances for nearly fifty years. The physical and mental strength of these dancers has inspired a current movement that is sweeping across the fitness world.

Aerial dance incorporates an apparatus such as silks, ropes, nets and hoops, elevating a total body workout into a display of art. Utilizing strength, balance, agility and flexibility- aerial dance promotes upper body strength and is one of the best core-strengthening workouts available. Aerial silk classes encompass many forms of traditional dance, yoga and gymnastics and are designed to teach specific poses and acrobatic combinations while suspended in the air. The structure of the fabric or “silks” is actually nylon and designed to support the weight of a small car. Maneuvering around the lyra, a suspended metal hoop, is a fun and empowering workout that improves flexibility, over-all strength and balance. Aerial fitness requires a certain level of focus, bringing heightened awareness to the body and its movement. This introspective mind-body connection is a soothing therapeutic release of tension and stress.

Aerial dance isn’t just for professionals. It’s important to note, every aerialist that has taken our breath away with their majestic and seemingly impossible performance was once a beginner and strengthened their skills incrementally. The support provided by the silks allow all body types and fitness levels the freedom to take part. Aerial art has a place for every creative and ambitious soul. Even if one isn’t looking to impress audiences, aerial dance is a fitness routine easy to fall in love with.

The physical benefits are astounding. Including, but not limited to, total body fitness and toning, spinal decompression, improved flexibility, lymphatic movement, strengthened core, powerful grip, joint mobility and even increased circulation to the pituitary gland. But one of the most fascinating benefits is found in the link between aerial fitness and P.T.S.D. The level of stress hormones amongst a person with P.T.S.D. remain elevated due to a hyperactive nervous system. Practicing suspended inversions on the silks or lyra can offer significant relief to sufferers as it beneficially impacts the nervous system. Progress is typically made quickly, and the confidence gained as one’s skills develop is invaluable. In addition, practicing aerial dance sharpens mental acuity and offers the dancer a feeling of overall well-being.

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Aerial Athlete is located at 76 Dockside Drive #103 and is Saint Augustine’s own aerial arts classroom. The school continues in the legacy and honor of Laura Cardella (photographed) who founded Aerial Athlete alongside her husband Phil, almost a decade ago. Laura, a beautiful and talented Aerialist demonstrated sumptuous performances at many venues including fashion shows, festivals, The Flagler Auditorium, Ritz Music, private events and more. The experienced coaches at Aerial Athlete that carry her torch are rooted in proper foundation and technique and offer beginner-friendly classes for both children and adults. To book a class or for more information visit

"Aerial art has a place for every creative and ambitious soul."

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