Aerial Conditioning: Level 1

This class is taught by:

Elena Panova

Born in Murom, Russia, Elena Panova is a graduate of Moscow's Circus and Variety College, where she specialized as an aerialist. Under the guidance of the famous training tandem of Tereza Durova and Viktor Fomin, she created a groundbreaking swinging trapeze act that redefined swinging trapeze as it is performed today all over the world. Elena won a gold medal and the Ministry of Culture award at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris in 1987, and the gold medal at the 1988 All-Union Circus Artists Competition of the USSR. For over twenty years, she has performed in major circuses and variety and theater shows on four continents, including the Moscow Circus, Circus Knie, the Cirque d'Hiver-Bouglione in Paris, Circus Carré in Amsterdam, the Victorian Arts Center in Melbourne, and the Big Apple Circus. She has also been a judge several times at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris. Elena moved to the United States in 1991. She started teaching at Circus Center in 2004.

Kiebpoli Calnek

Kiebpoli Calnek is an actress, aerialist, and founder/artistic director of Black*Acrobat- a social enterprise that empowers fringe communities through the vertical world of aerial acrobatics and with devised theatrical performances. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and of Actors’ Equity Association. Her works received generous funding and support from Elizabeth Streb, Astrea Foundation, Asian Arts Initiative, and The New York Foundation for the Arts.


She trained at the Circus Space in London and with Kevin O'Connor in NYC. Kiebpoli taught and held aerial theatre performances at Aerial Arts NYC, Big Sky Works, The Muse Brooklyn, Dixon Place, The Kitchen, LAVA, The Skybox, STREB, The Zipper, P.S. 122, The Red Lotus Room, Irondale Center, 3-Legged Dog, La MaMa E.T.C.


Kiebpoli is thrilled to be teaching classes at SF Circus Center, coaching students utilizing constructive feedback, motivation, and patience while focusing on technique, form, and dramatic flourishes.



Heidi Button

Heidi began studying aerial at the Pickle Family Circus School in San Francisco in the late 1980s. A few years later she ran away to France, where she studied at the Fratellini National Circus school in Paris and the National Circus School of Rosny-sous-Bois, France. Heidi studied swinging trapeze for 3 years under the tutelage of Zoe Maistre. Her professional career took off in 1996 with Transe Express, where she performed static trapeze on a human mobile from a crane 90 feet in the air. In 1999 she performed with them for The King of Sweden in front of the Stockholm Opera House. She toured 4 years with the French Street Theater company Jo Bithume, playing shows all over Western and Eastern Europe, and even down into South America. She has performed static trapeze, aerial silk, rope, hoop, aerial diamond, hung from a harness at 30ft, and embodied a myraid of ground characters throughout. She once played a Death Wraith writhing up her rope and into infinity. In 2001 and 2002, Heidi toured on Caravan Stage Barge’s floating theater boat in the Eastern US, playing numerous aerial characters and grappling aloft in the rigging of the barge’s 90-foot masts. Heidi has played with bands and was once Santa’s Helper. She played a Harpie intent on stealing a man’s soul, a slut intent on stealing his body, and even an errant schoolboy. Many of these characters were in the air, though many were ground characters that interacted with the audience. Since 2000, Heidi has been steadily teaching in the US at Trapeze School NY, Streb Lab for Action Machanics and the Skybox (both in Brooklyn), and at various summer programs around the Northeast. The last few years have seen her create an original aerial apparatus, and help her students create their own artistic routines.

Caroline Wright

Caroline Wright took to the air before she could walk on the ground, climbing curtains, furniture and anything else she could crawl to.She spent her early teens performing with Flying Gravity Circus, a touring youth troupe dedicated to helping communities start their own circus programs.

A graduate of the Professional Track Program at New England Center for Circus Arts, she coached there for many years. Her teaching experience also includes SHOW Circus Studio, Circus Smirkus Camp and AYCO. She continued her training at the San Francisco Circus Center and L'ecole Leotard in Montreal, CA.

Specializing in Static Trapeze, Hoop and Tissu, Caroline performed with many different companies across the country and internationally, including The Big Aerial Show, Aerial Experience, AcroArts and Nimble Arts.

Caroline's passion for movement lead her to become a Certified Hanna Somatic Educator. In both her private practice and as a circus instructor, she uses her knowledge of the neuromuscular system to help others embody themselves more fully and achieve what they are capable of.

Amy Olson

Amy Olson is a performance artist, circus arts instructor and licensed massage therapist based in San Fransisco, CA. Amy strives to make a connection to her audience through her love of movement and artistic expression. She is a graduate of New England Center for Circus Art's professional performance program with a major in Tissu and minor in Single Point Trapeze. She has performed and taught Circus Arts since 2010 to adults and children. Amy's explorations in performance and healing arts provide her with a deeply felt sense that assists her students to unlock physical abilities that are wanting to be expressed. It is a continuing mission for Amy to create a legacy of excellence and inspiration through her craft.

Intended for new students, Aerial Conditioning: Level 1 is an endurance and strength-building class that targets core, arm, and leg strength, while developing cardiovascular and muscular endurance. This 90-minute class mixes ground conditioning with stretching and apparatus training to work the entire body, build up a sweat, and tone muscles for maximum strength and control. Students will work singly and in partnership on apparatus such as Static Trapeze, Rope, and Wall Rack to develop confidence in their own strength and coordination. Aerial Conditioning: Level 1 is a drop-in class, which can be started at any time by people of any age and fitness level.


No Prerequisites.



Upcoming classes:

  • Tue Feb 21 11:30 am - 1:00 pm with Elena Panova
  • Tue Feb 21 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm with Kiebpoli Calnek
  • Thu Feb 23 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm with Elena Panova
  • Sat Feb 25 11:30 am - 1:00 pm with Heidi Button
  • Sun Feb 26 11:30 am - 1:00 pm with Caroline Wright
  • Tue Feb 28 11:30 am - 1:00 pm with Elena Panova
  • Tue Feb 28 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm with Kiebpoli Calnek
  • Thu Mar 02 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm with Elena Panova
  • Sat Mar 04 11:30 am - 1:00 pm with Heidi Button
  • Sun Mar 05 11:30 am - 1:00 pm with Caroline Wright
  • Tue Mar 07 11:30 am - 1:00 pm with Elena Panova
  • Tue Mar 07 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm with Kiebpoli Calnek
  • Thu Mar 09 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm with Elena Panova
  • Sat Mar 11 11:30 am - 1:00 pm with Heidi Button
  • Sun Mar 12 11:30 am - 1:00 pm with Amy Olson
  • Tue Mar 14 11:30 am - 1:00 pm with Elena Panova
  • Tue Mar 14 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm with Kiebpoli Calnek
  • Thu Mar 16 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm with Elena Panova
  • Sat Mar 18 11:30 am - 1:00 pm with Heidi Button
  • Sun Mar 19 11:30 am - 1:00 pm with Caroline Wright