Workshops with Shannon McKenna – The Artist Athlete

Explorations from Russian Climb

Saturday August 17, 10:30am-12:30pm, $65

Not just for easily getting up the fabric anymore! This workshop plays with transitions that originate in Russian climb, from fresh choreography to exciting drops to sneaky knee hangs, you’ll get a good dose of fabric theory as well as flashy moves.

Prerequisites: Must be comfortable doing russian climb.



Inversion Clinic

Saturday August 17, 1:00-3:00pm, $65

The “straddle up” is one of the most fundamental movements on aerial silks. It is the first step for many exciting wraps and drops, and when done correctly is a thing of beauty in and of itself. Yet, for many aerialists, it is an elusive devil that can bring the most determined to tears. This workshop is dedicated to the “straddle up” and other aerial inversions (the action of going upside down in the air). There are a million different ways straddle up, and, as a result, a million different approaches, and a million mistakes to be made. In this hour and a half will be packed with drills on and off the silks that will enable you to master the inversion. 

Prerequisites: A desire to work on your inversion, or a desire to do one for the first time. Please be able to climb the silks to the top and tie a foot lock in the air. 

Leg Flexibility

Saturday August 17, 3:30-4:30pm, $35 *

Come for a hip opening, hamstring lengthening, toe cramping good time. This workshop is great for people looking to improve their leg lines in the air or on the ground.

Prerequisites: the ability to breathe in, then out again multiple times. Also, must have legs.


Back Flexibility

Saturday August 17, 4:30-5:30pm, $35 *

Come for a chin lifting, rib cage widening, pelvis tilting good time. This workshop is great for those who want to strengthen and stretch their backs safely, and learn proper techniques to safely gain flexibility. 

Prerequisites: the same as for “Leg Flexibility.” Additionally, you must also have a spine.

* Take both Flexibility workshops and save!  $60 for a 2-pack!


Atlanta Boudoir Photography |


Shannon McKenna, aerialist and founder of was never a dancer, never a gymnast, but one hell of a tree climber.

She earned her B.F.A. from NYU with a concentration in physical theater and decided the summer after college, without much idea of what it meant, to become a circus artist. She packed up her life in a suitcase and traveled the globe in search of the best coaches to teach her, teaching aerial arts to whoever wanted to learn, and put her work on any stage she could.

She trained straps with Jonathan Fortin in Montreal and Juan Luis Gonzalez in Guadalajara, and rope and flexibility through the professional training program at The New England Center for Circus Arts. She teaches workshops and classes to all ages and abilities in over 20 states from Circus Smirkus in Vermont all the way to the legendary San Francisco Circus Center in California.

Her performance work has spanned from traditional shows in large arenas to intimate contemporary pieces in small black box theaters. She performs as a solo artist, a part of artistic duos, and ensembles. Career highlights being a magician’s assistant in Portugal, a post-food poisoning silks act in the German show WET, and hanging underneath a motorcycle on a tight wire with the Flying Espanas.

In 2018, Shannon launched The Artist Athlete, an online resource that produces educational material for aerialists, as well as a weekly podcast which contains interviews with professionals in the circus industry. It is available on Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and iTunes.


Instagram: @the_artist_athlete