Rec and roll: You can learn circus-style aerial fitness in a Millyard studio!

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I always thought of my neighbor, Emme, as the academic type. She wears eyeglasses, collects degrees, and plans to become a professor. Then I saw some amazing photos on Facebook: Emme suspended in bands of silk, like the acrobats I first saw in Cirque de Soleil. As the months went by, Emme, who has a fear of heights, worked hard at her new hobby. In May, I watched her practice in a private class, and was astonished to see my academic friend transformed into a confident, strong, graceful aerialist who could show many ways of knotting the silks, going up and down, and hanging upside down!

This magical transformation occurred at the Kama Fitness studio, 33 Commercial St., Manchester, a converted mill building with the high ceilings needed for hanging silks. Owner and trainer Karlene Linxweiler was a high school history teacher at Pinkerton Academy in Derry when she began teaching aerial yoga (using suspended loops for support), and then aerial fitness (using two suspended strips of silk).


Linxweiler gained certification through the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vt., and eventually opened her spacious, sunny Millyard studio, where there are also classes in barre, ballet, and Pilates. It was her goal to have a studio by age 30, and she met her goal. Over a thousand students have learned with Linxweiler.

Linxweiler said, “The switch from history teacher to fitness instructor was awesome. The people who come here are excited about what they’re learning. They evolve and become stronger and more graceful. Older women love aerial yoga because it relieves the back and shoulders. And I’m still a teacher!”

The cost for the first class is $20, and after that regular classes are $30 each. Discount packages are available. For more information, see the Kama Fitness website.