[ | Buffalo Rising]

“I started learning aerial arts 10 years ago now! Hard to believe it’s been that long.”

It was a little over five years ago that I first learned of aerial dancing. I was producing some events around the city, when aerialist Erica Cope began to make some noise in the local event scene. At the time, it was like pulling teeth to get venues to incorporate her act into their parties, festivals, fundraisers, etc. They all thought that I was crazy even suggesting that something like this would ever work, for numerous reasons. They looked at me as if I had a bird on my head when I proposed that Erica perform.

Fast forward half a decade, and we find that Erica’s troupe has made huge headway into the local event scene. She and her accompanying aerial dancers appear at all sorts of events. Just last week, I saw the troupe (Buffalo Aerial Dance) perform at Kleinhans. It was around that time that I decided to talk to Erica about all of the progress that she had made since the days when no one would take her and her act seriously.

When did you start aerial dancing?

I started learning aerial arts 10 years ago now! Hard to believe it’s been that long.

Who taught you?

My first 3.5 years I trained with a variety of instructors at Versatile Arts in Seattle, and I was lucky to be living in a city with such a top notch school. I try to go back and train there once a year. Since moving back to Buffalo, most of my aerial training has involved travelling to other cities when I’m able to. I’ve taken several teacher training courses through New England Center for Circus Arts and I go to Toronto regularly and take private lessons. In Buffalo, I train a lot of yoga and dance; I think it’s really important to cross-train as an aerialist, and also to support and connect with other local studios.