Dancing in the Air

Published 12:27 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Those traveling down Main Street on Friday may have seen a thirteen-year-old girl with a flashing smile dangling in the air by a silk ribbon as part of the Jessamine County Creative Art League’s gallery walk.

Nicholasville aerialist, Avery Johnson performed several stunts to upbeat music from the courtyard at Town Square Bank. 

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Avery’s interest in aerial acrobatics was sparked after seeing a video of a Pink concert her mom and dad went to.

“I was like ‘I want to do that,’” Avery said.

She began her aerialist endeavor three years ago, and she has swapped several activities kids her age are accustomed to such as sleepovers and parties for aerial training and workshops. 

“We didn’t know the determination she had,” Avery’s mother, Jackie Johnson said. “Now she’s even more determined and works even harder.”

Currently, Avery trains in various places including her home gym in Louisville and gyms in Vermont and Tennessee. Her newly found career path has taken her as far as a national circus school in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

In 2016, she became the youngest performer to ever compete on Circus Star USA at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, CA.

Avery said as she gets older, she plans to continue her training and enter in more competitions.

For now, she spends around 25 to 30 hours a week training. To make time to hone in on her skills, Avery left the public school system in the sixth grade and began homeschooling with her parent’s full support.

“We had to change some things to keep up with the level of training,” Jackie said.

She said her daughter was born with that level of perseverance. The day she came into the world with her twin brother, Carter, the doctor said that she would be lucky to make it through her first weekend due to medical issues. They said that if she did survive, she would struggle with day-to-day activities. Now, as she uses her strength to hang from silk ribbons and take yoga, acting, choreography and ballet classes, she defies the doctor’s prognosis every day.

Avery has wowed audiences in over 60 different performances.

She is currently contracted with Bethel Harvest Church for several shows including Christmas, Easter and the Community Fest this past spring.

Avery said she hopes to one day join a professional circus.

“I like to make people happy with all of my performances,” she said.