hanging out

Aerialist Kyle Kier on the secret to dancing on the ceiling naked


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This post is part of a series of Queerty conversations with models, trainers, dancers, and, well, people who inspire us to stay in shape–or just sit on the couch ogling them instead.

Name: Kyle Kier, 30

Occupation: Cirque Acrobat

City: Fort Lauderdale / Barcelona / Paris / Nice

What is your favorite gym for working out?

Right now I am at VIDA gym. I’m always looking for a gym that has a sauna and steam room included, as well as a good “dance studio” with large mirrors to stretch and rehearse in.

Do you have a favorite exercise playlist?

I have two music modes when training or working out. It’s either the “new top pop” random playlist off Apple Music or literally, I’ll choose 1 song and just listen to it on repeat…over and over again. I tend to start creating new cirque acts in the gym while working out. It’s a good distraction and makes the time go faster.

What’s the best food to eat prior to a workout?

Before working out or training I tend to eat pretty light, usually a cold brew iced coffee, and some fruit. When training there is a lot of spinning involved and lots of use of the abdominals, so doing this to full would make it difficult. After the training, it’s all carbs. If I have a show the following day, I usually carb load the evening before (pasta, rice bread, etc.) then keep meals on show day smaller-portioned, with lots of small snacks and natural sugars.


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What’s the best outfit for working out?

My go-to workout outfit is leggings or booty shorts, with a sweat-wick long sleeve or razor back tank. I also wear a compression back support when training circus, to keep the lower back supported and warm.

How do you balance staying in shape and having fun?

I am honestly a work-alcoholic, being an artist our work becomes our life and we choose this life because it is something we love and have fun doing. As physical performers, we invest a lot of ourselves, bodies, and time into training and staying “performance ready.”

What’s a basic, if useful, workout tip you can offer?

Go at your own pace. An issue I come into time and time again with going to an actual gym is getting super motivated, pushing really hard, and then ending up losing all my steam after two days. I found it much better to have a structure and schedule built around my work and performance schedule. Pushing enough to benefit but not to the point of being too sore to continue to train or perform.

What is it about dance that you find so satisfying?

Performing is an investment, physically and mentally. Night after night we give a piece of ourselves to the audience. For me, the most satisfying moment is when I can feel the audience’s energy through the room when they are just as invested in the art as I am. It’s hard to explain, but I can literally feel the audience hanging on every movement. This feeling is electric…the endorphins and adrenaline take over and rush through the body. It’s a synthesis between myself and the audience. When I finally take the last bow and hear the applause, suddenly, all the hours of training, pain and struggle become obsolete, and everything is worth it.


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I know you’re rehearsing a new AirOtic show now. What can an audience expect from this new production?

AirOtic is a “Sexy and sensual burlesque style cirque show.” My partner and I conceptualized the show about 6 years ago, and have toured through the EU, partnered up with various cruise lines, and now have begun a tour through the USA and Mexico. Currently, we are in Washington DC and Puerto Vallarta, and will be opening up Mexico City and San Fransisco shortly. Make sure to follow our Instagram for show updates.

Related: We take an Art Bath with former Menudo star César Abreu

AirOtic is a celebration of sensuality, sexuality, physique, and identity. It’s a safe space we have created to perform as our authentic selves, in a fun, sexy, and campy way. What’s special about this show to me is that it’s all-inclusive, there is something for everyone to enjoy in every community. I think it’s important for audiences to see LGBTQAI+ representation onstage.

Stretching is beneficial for all of us. Do you have a stretch routine that you do regularly?

Stretching is a must. Pushing the body to extremes takes practice lots of training and a good stretching regimen. For my work, I do stretch daily and always warm up with a light stretch before training. Four days a week I do a bit more deep stretching, working all oversplits, deeper contortion skills, and pushing the body a bit harder. I don’t overdo these sessions, and defiantly do not do these daily. I take a break in between for recovery and healing.

Aerial performance is a whole genre of performance unto itself. In terms of your body, what special considerations do you have to make to stay prepared for a show?

For me, the most important is to really warm up properly before a show. It takes me about 45-60 mins to get my body prepared for a show. All this time getting stretched and warmed up is to avoid any injury while on stage.

On show days, I usually do 30 mins of cardio in the morning then a light stretch to get the body moving. I go about my normal day then head to the venue about two hours prior to curtain. After doing my presets, I begin a much more intense and extensive warm-up for the show. I focus on skills I will need for that evening.

Your work also requires you to wear very little at times, often of a genderfluid style. How do you, as a performer, avoid feeling self-conscious about members of the audience judging you?

I feel very comfortable and confident onstage but judgment is all part of the job. With that said I feel like when the audiences come they want to be entertained and they are not there to judge They are there to escape into a fantasy world. Being a performer, especially in a burlesque setting takes a certain amount of confidence and self-acceptance. As long as you’re comfortable, confident, and love what you do, so will the audience.


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You also perform to loud music and screaming crowds, often in dimly-lit spaces. How do you prepare your mind to maintain concentration?

Focus is important, trust in your partner and team is important. And rehearsal! After a few shows, the routines almost become autopilot. When I am in the air, spinning everything else in the room disappears. It’s just me and my acrobatic partner communicating through a series of expressions. I focus on hand placement, speed, and muscle control.

There’s an erotic tone to your work. How do you go about building trust and feeling comfortable with your fellow performers?

With this show, and with every new cast we become close very fast. The costumes are small, (if we have anything on!) and the quick changes are fast. You become desensitized to nudity and embarrassment. Onstage it’s “sexy” but backstage it’s a series of half-dressed acrobats frantically running around trying to get ready for the next number.

How do you keep that from affecting your personal life?

My work is my life. Usually, on tour, the cast eats, sleep, train, perform and parties together. We become a family, and it’s very important to keep an open line of communication and positive energy among each other.

Obviously, your work can take its toll on your body. How do you change or update your routine as you age?

I listen to my body. Every day. Some days it’s much harder to bend. Those days I need to take things a bit slower, focus more and prepare extra before going on stage. We are the only ones who can feel what’s happening internally so we need to listen to the body and muscles. I don’t think there is an “expiration date” or an age where we need to stop; it’s all about the mind and maintenance.

What do you keep on your nightstand?

Looking over right now I have a picture of my husband, chargers for all the Apple products, a mahogany teakwood candle, and a small fan.

Bonus Pics: 


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