by Quynbi Ada August 16, 2020 2 min read

By nature, aerial arts push the bounds of what is possible, inspiring the world in turn. With a strong focus on physicality and self-reliance, along with a serious degree of personal risk, many people may assume that only the “ablest” of bodies and minds could even participate in the aerial world, let alone succeed in it.

Clearly, this idea depends on how you define ability. We all have varied talents and challenges, but in some ways, these are just a matter of perception. Sometimes, we learn that with the right attitude, the impossible becomes possible, regardless of physical and/or mental ability.

Artists such as  Jen Bricker-Bauer and  Lauren Watson are just two examples of aerialists who have reached amazing heights in the aerial world while offering an empowering message to their audiences.

Upside-down split in a black aerial hammock in front of a wheelchair

Photo by @laurenwatsonaerial in a Black Aerial Hammock

But aerial for all abilities doesn’t mean just for the professionals! Everyone has to start somewhere, usually in class. 

Argentine aerial instructor Pitu Blazquez gained attention for his powerful work with inclusive acrobatics classes in Buenos Aires, where students find liberation from wheelchairs and other constraints of gravity high up in the air. In a world largely designed for those who can walk and see, Blazquez gifts a rewarding hope to his students.

Aerial arts may be among the most physically and mentally demanding life trajectories that one can choose. Aside from the sheer strength needed to participate, a focused mind is also required. Yet according to the World Health Organization, a quarter of people in the world experience mental disorders. And while not all of these are debilitating, many are or can be at times.

Luckily, conditions like anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder can be greatly improved through involvement with aerial arts. In order to perform well, one must be present in the moment. Finding this focus in the air and in the community usually extends into daily life and can alleviate mental stress triggers. Check out the indie short film High Flying Jade for a compelling story of an aerialist living with bipolar disorder.

Girl hanging upside down on an Aerial Hoop or Lyra

Photo by @high.flying.jade on an Aerial Hoop

However you look at it, aerial arts are a true inspiration. The fantastic image of a dancer in the air is nothing less than magic. So no matter how your ability differs from the norm, embrace it. Savor it. Be proud and use it as your unique avenue to greatness. Because dreams are achieved by setting clear goals and a personal drive.

Cover image by @jenbricker photographed by @daisy.seilern


Quynbi Ada
Quynbi Ada

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