About Us

Buffalo Aerial Dance has been performing locally since 2013 and offering high quality aerial instruction since 2014. 

Our Approach

We cultivate an understanding of the body in relation to the aerial apparatus, a willingness to engage in artistic collaboration, and a positive friendly environment.  Our teaching integrates apparatus-based skills with overall physical training needed to succeed in the air.  We build a strong foundation, and prepare students for informal to professional performance, depending on their interests.

Our curriculum is designed to allow you to progress at your own pace.  Aerial curriculum has notoriously silly and non-standard terminology which can make it difficult to keep track of what you know, so we provide skills sheets to help you keep track of the journey.

We currently offer classes in four apparatuses: silks, trapeze, lyra, and corde lisse, as well as classes for kids and teens, aerial yoga and aerial fitness.


Photo by Rise Collaborative


B.A.D. was officially founded in 2014 by Erica Cope with much support from Buffalo’s growing dance community. We especially are grateful to Amy Taravella for creating and directing the beautiful Alt Theatre where we currently train.

Erica and Amy met in 2012 when Erica returned home from the West Coast.  Amy, a professional ballet and modern dancer of many years, and Erica, a budding aerialist eager for a place to continue training in Buffalo, collaborated on a few small shows integrating aerial work and dance, and these first experiments proved to more aupicious than either imagined. It was clear that Buffalonians were ready for aerial dance!

In 2013, Erica enrolled in NECCA’s teacher training program, and worked to create Buffalo Aerial Dance studio throughout the remainder of the year.


Erica Cope: Silks, Corde Lisse, Lyra, Trapeze

Photo by Sarah Westphal

Erica trained in silks, corde lisse, aerial sling, and trapeze at Versatile Arts in Seattle, WA from (2008-2011).  She has completed NECCA’s Introduction to Teaching Aerials (2013), Foundation to Aerial Silks (2015), and Foundation to Trapeze (2016), and completed an aerial rigging workshop with Jonathan Duels (2014).  She is certified in First Aid, CPR and AED through the Red Cross, and 200 hour certified in Vinyasa yoga through East Meets West Yoga (2017).

Additionally, Erica has attended the ADF in Boulder, CO in 2011, and intensive trainings in aerial theory and choreography.  Erica continues to travel regularly, expanding her knowledge of aerial work, including training at Circus Warehouse, Body & Pole, Sky Candy,  NECCA, The Aloft Loft, Aerial Artique, Hercinia Arts, The Collective Space (Toronto), and returning to her “aerial home base,” Versatile Arts, whenever possible. She has taken workshops with Fred Deb, Jamie Hodgson, Una Bennett, Lisa Elliott, Liza Rose, Liz Cooper, the Espana family, Duo Madrona, as well as members of Cirque de Soliel, and many other nationally and internationally known aerial instructors.

Erica’s aerial teaching style is influenced by ballet, modern dance, and Vinyasa yoga, all of which she has studied for many years, and actively trains in order to develop her fluidity and expression on the aerial apparatus. She loves the fact that aerial arts serves as a gateway for people to understand their own bodies and movements.  Besides training to fulfill her aerial dreams, Erica holds an M.A in Comparative Literature from University at Buffalo, a paralegal certification from University of Washington, and a B.A. in Psychology from Carleton College.  She formerly taught English and Humanities as an adjunct professor, and currently satisfies her inner nerd and love of teaching by tutoring high school students.


 Other Resources

We also want to create educated aerialists and strongly encourage you to check out the following resources for some great information on safety and training methods in the aerial industry.

Circus Now – an organization connecting circus communities all over the U.S.  http://circusnow.org

Laura Witwer’s Blog – chock full of tips on improving your aerial training http://www.laurawitwer.com/

American Circus Educators – an organization which sets safety and training standards for aerial schools and instructors http://www.americancircuseducators.org/

New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) – One of the most established and comprehensive aerial schools in country (and the world) http://necenterforcircusarts.org/

Cirque Physio – a blog written by a Physical Therapist who specializes in correcting and preventing circus-related injuries http://www.cirquephysio.com/

Simply Circus Community – lots of F.A.Q. about apparatuses and rigging http://community.simplycircus.com

Rebekah Leach’s aerial dancing site – Ms. Leach is a top notch trainer and author of several widely used aerial manuals http://www.aerialdancing.com/