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Aerial dance studio set to open in Merrifield this fall

Aerial Candy owner Candy Cantu practices on a lyra at the new Merrifield studio (courtesy Aerial Candy)

An aerial dance studio based in Maryland will swoop across state lines this fall with an expansion into Merrifield.

Aerial Candy is transforming an industrial space at 2801 Merrilee Drive that was being used for storage into a studio where dancers can train with aerial silks, hoops and other specialized equipment.

On track to open in November, the new studio will become the “main” location for Aerial Candy, which currently operates inside Takoma Park’s Dance Exchange, owner Candy Cantu says.

“This is a wonderful location because it’s right off of the highway and I actually live in Virginia,” Cantu told FFXnow. “…I wanted something kind of more central, a little bit more of like a hub where it’s easier to have access to because it’s off 495, it’s off 66, it’s next to the Metro, it’s close to D.C. So, it just is right at that perfect spot.”

Established in 2019, Aerial Candy offers classes for both adults and children 6 and up in what Cantu calls “circus arts,” including aerial hoops and silks — the kinds of acrobatics you might see at Cirque du Soleil.

In fact, Cantu was scheduled to show the new, roughly 2,800-square-foot space to some Cirque du Soleil performers last week in the hopes they may use it for future photoshoots or rehearsals. The circus has been in Tysons since early September with the debut of its new show “ECHO.”

“Because it’s so close to their show, it kind of works as a nice place for them to either do photos or get some extra rehearsal times in,” Cantu said.

In addition to introductory, intermediate and advanced classes on silks and aerial hoops, also known as lyras, the Merrifield studio will likely offer contortion and flexibility training and possibly a static trapeze class, Cantu says. There will also be open gym sessions.

Cantu anticipates that having a second location will expand Aerial Candy to a new client base, but with the kids’ sessions at Takoma Park consistently filled to capacity, some patrons may shift over to Merrifield. Those who purchase a class pass or membership will be able to use them at either location.

As the studio build-out nears completion, including the installation of a mural by artist Christopher Lynch, Cantu says she’s excited to have a location closer to home and provide a creative space in an area where local artists are starting to find a foothold.

“There are some other studios that are slightly similar to what I’m trying to do, but I just think mine is going to be a little bit unique and different, and they’re so far and few in between,” Cantu said. “I’m just really excited about meeting all the people in the area. I’m really excited about building a community. That’s my favorite part.”

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