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Learn silks, trapeze & aerial hoop: Adult circus arts at Circus Maine

Learn silks, trapeze & aerial hoop: Adult circus arts at Circus Maine

You don’t see a whole lot of cartwheeling, juggling or aerial trapeze happening at the average gym. And that’s probably for the best. No one wants to get kicked by an errant cartwheeler while enjoying some personal time on the treadmill.

But if you want to BE that errant cartwheeler (or juggler or acrobat or trapeze artist) then sign yourself up for a class at Circus Maine.

Brenda Cyr (background) and Kate Miles practice mounting the lyra during an aerial foundations class at Circus Maine. Shannon Bryan photo

Circus Maine is located at Thompson’s Point in Portland, the same location where you might have caught one of those mesmerizing Circus on the Point performances and been wowed by the aerialists, the clowning, and the acrobatics.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I’d like to try that,” you CAN, thanks to Circus Maine’s adult circus arts classes.

Unicycling AND juggling at Circus Maine during a circus fitness class in 2015. Shannon Bryan photo

Circus Maine offers several classes for grownups: adult fitness, aerial foundations, intro aerial fabric, tumbling, hand balancing, Chinese pole, mime, clowning, and wall trampoline. See them all. (There are also youth classes.)

Each class is geared toward beginners and will not only teach you new skills, but you’ll also work on overall strength and flexibility, which means you’ll get one heck of a workout while learning something new and cool.

This was the first night I experienced Extreme Handstand Jealousy. Shannon Bryan photo
This is wall trampoline. There’s a wall and a trampoline, and while instructor Michael Kelley makes it look easy, it’s quiet challenging. And bouncing is fun! Shannon Bryan photo

Classes are taught in multi-week sessions (the fall session begins Sept 5 and runs through Dec 14), and you can drop in to most classes (some classes have a one-time-only drop-in option).

I had the pleasure of taking the adult aerial foundations class this spring with instructors Sierra Nicholls and Sam McGovern. The class covers four different aerial apparatus: silks, straps, lyra (aerial hoop), and trapeze. And each was wonderfully challenging and wildly fun (and a few left bruises in the knee pits and hip creases, which I wore like badges of honor, even though no one else could really see them).

Sarah Breul looks graceful on the silks for her first time. Shannon Bryan photo

Each class focused on a few specific skills, be that climbing the silks or learning to squeeze our heels to our butts on the lyra or trapeze. And each week, I think we all surprised ourselves with what we could do (and yes, it was also surprising to watch Sierra or Sam demonstrate a move that looked fairly easy, only to discover it isn’t all that easy). There’s quite a bit of aerials humility. But each week I left feeling stronger and steadier, and proud of the progress.

Instructor Sam McGovern demonstrating a modified pull-up using the silks. Every class included strength exercises that were directly related to the apparatus work we were doing. Shannon Bryan photo
Brenda Cyr gets comfy upside down while learning silks in the aerial foundations class at Circus Maine. Shannon Bryan photo
Kate Miles works on her tuck as she mounts the lyra. Shannon Bryan photo
Experimenting with splits in the straps. Shannon Bryan photo
Kate Miles works the straps – this move is no joke! Shannon Bryan photos

Video: Learning drops!

Circus Maine Adult Classes

Circus Maine, Thompson’s Point, Portland
See all the Circus Maine classes at circusmaine.org

Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan

I don’t like “exercise” any more than you do. But you know what I do like? Paddleboarding with a friend all afternoon (and then sitting in the grass to drink chardonnay). Bike rides and nachos, hikes, yoga classes held in breweries, group paddles to Fort Gorges, you get the idea. Because Maine is my gym.

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