As the sounds of stuck landings echo off gym walls, owner and former University of Kentucky cheerleader John Ireland and Lexington Gymnastics and Cheerleading’s seasoned instructors share show-stopping routines and techniques with aspiring athletes ages 5–14 years old. One-hour daytime or evening classes fill kids with body-moving know-how, from beginning cheer’s introductory rah-rah routines to gymnastics classes’ balance-improving bar and beam work. Beginning tumbling lessons prepare bodies for the turbulent world of floor exercises. The trained staffers at Lexington Gymnastics and Cheerleading can accommodate special-needs children, ensuring a welcoming environment for a diverse crowd.
Day camp sessions focus on gymnastics, cheerleading, all sports, or circus activities. Summer camp instructors supply lunch every Friday, and take kids on field trips every week. During field trips, students may play laser tag, hike through scenic areas, or mount horses and gallop into the sunset and back.
American Turners Circus' agile aerial coaches guide students through midair twirling exercises on five types of equipment in Intro to Mixed Aerial Apparatus workshops. Students bring along a friend to jointly extinguish gravity's hold during one-hour sessions, which begin by schooling students in basic stretching and conditioning to prepare for introductory aerial techniques. Twirl and fly on up to three types of aerial circus gear, including trapeze, hanging silks, coiled Spanish webs, lyras, and ladders without the avian road rage of traditional flight. Students rehearse midair acrobatics and prove their ability to think while hanging upside down under the vaulted steel-beam ceilings of the Turners' massive gymnasium. By studying the art of circus with the American Turners, visitors keep up a legacy that began in 1849 when their predecessors, the Louisville Turners, began their above-earth performances on Market Street in what would become the city's first gym.
As a former Level 10 gymnast and University of Louisville cheerleader, Ashley Stratton has become a spokesperson for the physical and mental benefits of gymnastics. She hopes to pass the sport's character values—confidence, discipline, and a tenacious work ethic—on to children at Competitive Edge Gymnastics. With a coaching staff that includes nationally qualified judges and competitors, she leads classes, team programs, and clinics that challenge youngsters to build bodily awareness.
Ashley has outfitted the air-conditioned, 2,000 and 16,000-square-foot gyms with a wonderland of fun environments for kids, including circus silks suspended above sprung flooring and a foam pit that, unlike ball pits, does not invite bites from Pac-Man. Events such as Parents' Night Out allow guardians to drop their children off for a night of play, and classes for toddlers explore the parent-child bond to enhance motor skills.