Photo by Kayla Michaud |CIGAR| Alumna Renee Kent started her own class of aerial art last year after picking up the sport only three years ago.

Alumna teaches aerial arts classes

A 1998 graduate of the University of Rhode Island is teaching aerial art classes at Arielle Arts Entertainment in East Greenwich.

Renee Kent didn’t get into the arts until about three years ago when she started taking class es at the East Greenwich location, which is owned by Amanda Cortellesso, a professional in the aerial arts and former elite gymnast with a dance background. “I have been assistant coaching since last spring, and started [teaching] my own classes in November of last year.” Kent said. Kent described the art as something that motivated her to workout, all while enjoying the experience.

“I’ve never in my life been a physically active person. I’d gone through phases of exercise, going to the gym, doing the treadmill, weight machines etc., but it was not something I ever really stuck with because it was just exercise for the sake of exercise, which I don’t find very motivating,” Kent said. “When I found Arielle Arts, I found something I wanted to do and in order to do it, I have to be strong and flexible. It gave me a reason to train. I originally loved it for the interesting workout it provided. Now I love it as an outlet for artistic expression. It’s very satisfying to love what I do this much.”

Kent described her progress with learning the art as something that was taken in steps. Having learned to perform on silks, aerial cube and hammock, as well as partner acrobatics, Kent shared that the difficulties in learning were in her excitement to improve.

“In the beginning, it was building specific strength to do the basic skills. At the intermediate level it was remembering the execution of skills, at the advanced level the challenge is building stamina to stay in the air for entire routines. At the performance level, we really delve into accessing and expressing emotions and characters,” Kent said. “Every level is a personal and physical growth opportunity and celebrating every success is important.”

Many different classes are offered at Arielle Arts, including aerial silks and lyra, an aerial hoop.

Beginners classes are offered at $26 per class, which is discounted if you are training more than once a week. Or, if interested in private lessons, they can be booked at

“Cirque is for everybody. Exercises and skills can be scaled up or down to meet people at a variety of fitness levels, and then worked on from there,” Kent said. “It’s a really fun, rewarding way to become stronger and more flexible in the body and in mind. I love introducing beginners to Arielle!”

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