2nd Annual US Aerial Championships to be Held in NYC, 5/13-15

The not-for-profit organization U.S. Aerial, Inc. brings back to New York City, the 2nd Annual U.S. Aerial Championships, the only competition in the United States that incorporates all forms of aerial dance into one event. The competition will begin on Friday, May 13 through Sunday, May 15, 2016 in New York City at Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Ave.

The event will host 42 of the best aerial dancers from around the globe who will fly in to NYC to compete for the top prize in one of four categories: Aerial silks, Lyra, Pole, or New & Innovative Apparatus. Judges from Cirque du Soleil, LeRêve The Dream, Circus Now, Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, and the Aerial Classroom will judge in Difficulty, Execution, Movement Artistry, Performance Artistry and Enjoyment-factor. The aerialists perform acrobatics body-wrapped in fabrics, perform strength and flexibility moves on metal hoops suspended from ceilings, perform gymnastic feats on an artistic dance pole, and showcase never-before-seen, newly invented, apparatus. The top aerialists are awarded a cash grant to further their aerial training, educational grants to become certified aerial instructors, a private audition for LeRêve The Dream at the Wynn Las Vegas, they are seen by the artistic directors of Circus Flora and Cirque Éloize, and receive entry to compete in the PPSAPT (Pole Paradise Studio Aerial Performance Tournament) in Hong Kong.

Thanks to their win last year, some of the 2015 U.S. Aerial Champions have gone on to tour with world renowned productions. Men's Silks winner, Nico Maffey is now touring with the hit Broadway musical PIPPIN, Female Lyra winner, Rebekah Burke starred in Queen of the Night in NYC, and Anna Thomas Henry, the Female Silks winner became the principal head coach at SANCA (School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts) in Seattle.

"Our goal is to increase public awareness of the accessibility, artistry and athleticism involved in the aerial arts," U.S. Aerial Board Chairperson and founder, Tami Joy Schlichter said. "Another of our goals is to encourage participation in all aspects of aerial arts."

In 2016, the Championships will take place during three shows:

Friday, May 13 - Women's Lyra, Men's Silks, New Apparatus - 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Saturday, May 14 - Women's and Men's Pole - 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Sunday, May 15 - Women's Silks and Men's Lyra, New Apparatus - 3 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Tickets range from $49-60 for each day and can be purchased online here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/860924

In addition to the competition, each two-hour show features showcase performances by dance troupes, circus acts, and last year's champions.

U.S. Aerial Board members, in addition to Schlichter, are Jen James Martin, Elaina Royter, Rebecca Starr, and Ben Schiffer. Jen James teaches aerial silks and hammock at New York's Body & Pole studio and is a dance creator and performer. Elaina Royter is a professional aerialist who has performed throughout the U.S. and internationally and has competed and coached for more than a decade. Rebecca Starr is a seasoned circus performer, touring the world performing with circuses, theatrical productions and for special events as a soloist for 15 years. Ben Schiffer is an acrobatic and circus rigger with 12 years of experience in Big Tops, theatres, and open-air performances. Ben is currently touring South and Central America with Cirque Du Soleil's CORTEO.

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