Circus training has exploded around the country in the last decade, with circus schools popping up in every state. But it’s not just for the young and nimble. Circus arts, sometimes known as aerial arts, are for everyone. This can include trapeze, silks, Lyra, Spanish web and pole dancing. For those of us more comfortable closer to the ground, there’s aerial yoga.
Though the classes are mainly taught by ex-circus performers and younger athletic teachers, there is one woman who is bucking the trend. Fran Sperling, 62, believes she’s one of the oldest aerial teachers in the country, but that hasn’t stopped her from flying.
We caught up with Fran, an aerial movement coach, and performer at the STREB center in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sperling boasts over 30 years of experience in the performing arts. She walked us through her inner struggle to reveal her age to her students and the liberation she found by doing so. She also broke down some of the misconceptions about age and flexibility, and explained how an aerial practice is good for the mind and the body.
Her age hasn’t slowed her down — in fact, she’s pushing herself even harder by introducing contortion lessons into her practice. Proving you are never too old to run away and join the circus.