About Us

Our Approach

Buffalo Aerial Dance provides a safe and respectful environment for gaining a foundation in aerial arts. Our teaching integrates apparatus-based skills with overall physical skills needed to succeed in the air.  We build a strong foundation that leads into creative explorations on the aerial equipment, and prepare students for informal to professional performance, depending on their interests.  We seek to cultivate an understanding of body mechanics, a stronger sense of self-confidence, and a willingness to engage in artistic collaboration.

Our curriculum is designed to allow you to progress at your own pace.  Students are provided with individual skill sheets to keep track of their journey through aerial arts.

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, Trapeze

Photo by Sarah Westphal

Erica trained in silks, corde lisse, aerial sling, and trapeze at Versatile Arts in Seattle, WA from 2008 to 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.

Additionally, Erica has attended the ADF in Boulder, CO in 2011, and in 2014 returned to Versatile Arts for Workshop Weekend focusing on 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, The Collective Space (Toronto), and returning to her “aerial home base,” Versatile Arts, whenever possible.

Erica’s aerial teaching style is influenced by ballet, modern dance, and Vinyasa yoga, all of which she has studied for many years. She loves the fact that aerial arts serves as a gateway for people to understand their own bodies and movements.


 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/