Young girls stretch, spin, and twirl in the air, suspended three feet above the floor, their legs entwined in “silks” attached with carabiners (metal hinged rings) and super-strength airplane cables to the ceiling of Twin Lakes Recreation Center.

Flight Club Fitness is in session.

Ebeth Feldman, 47, is the founder of Flight Club Fitness, which has transformed the aerial arts—such as flying trapeze—into a new form of exercise. She hails from Bloomington but resides in Los Angeles, where she launched the business in 2010.

An experienced trapeze performer and personal trainer, Feldman “literally ran away with the circus” in the 1990s after she was laid off from her job at a medical device company. She spent about six months touring Puerto Rico with a circus and has performed sporadically all over the world.

Following a stint managing the Los Angeles location of Trapeze School New York, she came up with the idea for an athletic training and conditioning program that uses long ribbons (known as silks) made of a cloth-like material called tricot. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ve likely seen this sturdy but soft fabric in action.

“People know they have to work out, but many don’t like it—they think it’s boring,” says Feldman. Aerial exercise offers something different, and Feldman says it can be addictive. “People make this a priority in their lives. We have a group of women who carpool down here from Indianapolis every week.”

A few of the myriad benefits, explains Feldman, include increased flexibility, upper-body and core strength, spinal decompression, weight loss, and stress relief. She compares the Flight Club exercise to yoga in that it can be meditative; in fact, she’s developing an aerial yoga class that will incorporate traditional yoga moves and poses.

“This sport, when done correctly, is very anti-aging, very muscle-building,” says Feldman.

Flight Club Fitness has six-week sessions for kids ages 6-12 on Mondays, 5:15-6:15 pm ($86); six-week courses for teens and adults on Mondays and Wednesdays, 6:30-7:45 pm ($114); and an introductory class on the first Thursday of every month at 6:30 pm (children $15, teens and adults $20).


Watch the Flight Club Fitness girls stretch, spin, and twirl in the air in a video by Nicholas Demille.