Ashland Aerial Arts (formerly Le Cirque Centre) is committed to challenging youth of all ages to build confidence in their physical capacity and creative impulses in space where people of all races, gender expressions, abilities, religions and national origins can engage in learning aerial arts and self-expression safely.
Ashland Aerial Arts educates young people to become empowered, creative and skillful performers through a curriculum of aerial arts, modern dance, improvisation and somatic awareness. Creating unique performances encourages youth to claim their voice in collaboration, in the studio and beyond.
In September 2021 Le Cirque Centre rebranded. The name Ashland Aerial Arts reflects owner Sonya Smith’s commitment to cultivating artistry in youth and adult aerial students in a space where people of all races, gender expressions, abilities, religions and national origins can engage in learning aerial arts and self-expression safely.
WHAT WE OFFER
Aerial Classes for youth and adults utilizing Silks, Dance and Static Trapeze, Lyra, Bungee, Rope and harness, Sling, and more.
Company classes for serious youth performers interested in deepening skill and artistry.
An end of the year school performance at the studio.
Special events, birthday parties and works in progress showings.
Sonya Smith is a former monkey bar junkie, competitive hurdler, backpacker, aerial dancer and body geek. Starting to dance at the ripe age of 17, Sonya avoided many of the body image pitfalls of dance training, able instead to celebrate dance's balance of athleticism and artistry. Since 1999 she has taught movement to children and adults; from creative movement to bungee dancing, mixed aerial apparatus to ballet, contact improvisation to vertical “wall” dancing. Teaching young people to embrace the powerful capacity of their bodies and making space for complexity of their evolving identities, feels profoundly important in this tumultuous time. The joyful, challenging, exhilarating world of aerial training lends itself perfectly to this empowering work.
One of my favorite things to do is to facilitate creation for both youth and adults. In 2017 I developed the Aerial Tea as a thoughtfully facilitated works-in-progress showing and feedback event for performers of all genre (based on Fieldwork). It is an extension of the way I encourage my youth students to find and share their voices in a safe environment before putting themselves out in public. Performing is such a rich opportunity to be seen, be yourself (or someone else!), and be celebrated for the risk.
In order to satisfy my own desire for physical dancing, theatricality, storytelling and authentic representation I have been privileged to work with many companies and artists across the country including BANDALOOP, Zaccho Dance Theatre, Flyaway Productions, Michelle Ellsworth, Gesel Mason, Lizz Roman and Dancers, Dance Brigade, Sara Shelton Mann, and Eat Cake Productions. I am forever grateful for the many opportunities I have had working with powerful women, creating interesting, challenging and diverse work. I am so excited to share my breadth of knowledge gleaned from two decades performing professionally, a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance with an emphasis in Aerial Dance, Pilates and GYROKINESIS certificates, and unending curiosity about what is possible.
Maia Livingston has had a passion for art, movement, music and performance for as long as she can remember. She has been performing for over 16 years, beginning with gymnastics at the age of five and then finding the enchanting world of circus at thirteen. The moment she discovered circus arts she knew she had found home, and it has been ever since. She is also a certified Hot Pilates instructor and believes in movement and creativity as the core of a happy, healthy life. Now a mama, Maia finds joy working with humans of all ages and is excited to spread her love of circus!