By Lisa Sigell

NORTH HILLS ( — Students at a local school are learning how to get in shape while using equipment more often seen in shows like Cirque du Soliel.

CBS2’s Lisa Sigell visited The Aerial Classroom, where the workouts can be both terrifying and exhilarating.

Spinning, whirling, flying and falling are all part of the curriculum, school director Jessica Piekos said.

“It’s a lot about challenging yourself and being able to do things you never thought possible,” Piekos said.

“You’re basically learning how to tie yourself up in different knots around your body to lead to different moves and different tricks,” she added.

Students come in all ages, sizes and fitness levels.

Classes offered vary by skill level, such as Aerial Tissu, Spanish Web and Static Trapeze, just to name a few.

Allen Segall is learning to master the Cyr wheel, in which an acrobat spins while moving across the floor.

“It’s all about balance,” Segall said. “You don’t need strength, but you do need balance. And time and effort.

Classes are available to students ages 8 and up. Sigell spoke to 9-year-old Morgan, who is working on The Hammock.

“What you really need to do is hold on really tight,” Morgan said. “It can be a little hard for people who don’t have the upper-arm strength.”

Some exercises take students high off the ground.

“I was afraid of heights, but when you’re up there … you’re in a knot, you just have to trust it,” student Ron Zambor said.

Roxanne Maley has combined stilt dancing and rope work.

“And I just don’t want to stop,” she said. “You just want to keep doing it over and over.”

Piekos said safety comes first.

The key is to “make the student aware of what’s holding them up there,” she said. “They’re always taught to focus on what’s holding me on, what do I need to make sure is in place so I don’t fall.”

Sometimes, however, that’s not easy.

“I’ve fallen before,” said Zambor. “We all make mistakes, but … you just pick yourself up and do it again.”

Classes at The Aerial Classroom cost $20 to 30 each and are offered in group or private lessons. For more information, visit or call 866-529-8085. The Aerial Classroom is also on Facebook at

The studio is at 16753 Schoenborn St. in North Hills.


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