Located right off I-40 in Burlington, NC (halfway between the Triangle and the Triad), Upside Aerial Arts & Fitness offers group classes, private lessons, parties and performances in aerial silks, lyra (aerial hoop), and pole. 

How We Began

"Up in the Air" is a short documentary created by Elon University students about Upside's owner, Michelle Spurlock, and how aerial arts changed her career and life.

Our Mission

Children are constantly encouraged to climb, dance, play and explore.  But have you ever noticed how this stops when we grow up? Our main option as adults is the gym. Dance classes, playgrounds, and creative body movement classes for adults are difficult to find. At Upside, our mission is to change that. We think adults should be able to climb, dance, play...and fly! And what better place to get our of your comfort zone than one with a strong sense of community: where adults of any age, size, color, fitness background, sexual orientation or gender identity are welcomed and supported.

Michelle 2019 Carousel Festival Monicas
Michelle Spurlock

Owner, Aerial Silks & Yoga Instructor

For much of her life, Michelle suffered from debilitating asthma, preventing almost all physical activity. She became a yoga instructor in 2004, finally having found something that allowed her to breathe and move. When she tried aerial silks in 2010, she felt truly powerful for the first time in her life. But it also opened up a whole new world of creative exploration. When she moved to Alamance County in 2015, there were no aerial schools. She couldn't imagine her life without it! So she completed her Aerial Silks Teacher Training with AerialCLT. She found she loved teaching aerial so much, she gave up her career as a pharmacy professor to follow her passion and opened Upside in 2018. She has studied with Amy Tynan Chirico, Mandy Elledge, Cheetah Platt, Waverly Jones, Molly Graves, Rebekah Leach and Rain Anya.

Ashanti Jennings-Gray

Aerial Silks, Pole & Lyra Instructor

Ashanti began her aerial journey as an Upside student in 2017. A lover of health, movement, and teaching others, Ashanti has been a personal trainer and pole dance instructor since 2015. She has also trained in belly dance, hoop, ballet, and burlesque. After discovering the beauty and challenge of aerial silks, she completed her Aerial Silks Teacher Training with Upside in 2019. She was introduced to lyra during an Upside workshop with Gena DuBose, and she discovered she loved that too! So she completed her Lyra Teacher Training with Gena in 2020. She is so excited to be part of the phenomenal Upside Aerial instructor family! Ashanti teaches aerial silks group classes & private lessons, online pole group classes & private lessons, and in-person pole private lessons. Look out for lyra classes soon!

Gena Lyra pink background
Gena DuBose

Lyra Instructor

Aerial arts, specifically Lyra (aerial hoop), have been Gena's passion since 2009. Though she was never a trained dancer, Gena uses her natural athleticism to bring her own style of movement and grace to her artistry. Through trainings in STOTT Pilates, Power yoga, Ashtanga yoga, and ACE, she applied everything she has learned to her aerial practice, gaining certifications in each along the way. Gena is the founding artistic director of SOAR Aerial Dance, a Triangle-based performance company that bridges the gap between aerial dance and performance art in her community. She specializes in Lyra Sequencing and hosts SOAR's online Aerial Instructor Enhancement Program. 

Christine 2019 Spring Showcase
Christine McCoy

Yoga, Strength & Cardio, and Aerial Silks Instructor

Christine discovered aerial arts in 2011, right before she turned 43. She immediately fell in love with how it made her stronger and more flexible, but didn’t feel like working out because it was so much fun! Christine completed her Aerial Teacher Training at the New England Center for Circus Arts in 2014 and her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training through Life Power Yoga in 2016. She has been training on aerial silks with Upside since they day they opened! When the studio had to close due to COVID-19, she began teaching online classes for Upside in Yoga and Strength & Cardio. Even though the studio has re-opened, these classes developed a regular following, so Christine continues to teach them! She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Exercise Science.

Our Instructors


Circus for Change

As part of our mission to cultivate a space where everyone feels welcome and supported, we created a resource page dedicated to challenging social injustice. Check it out:

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Contact Us



2241 Hanford Rd #103

Burlington, NC 27215

(inside Envision Wellness)