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Shannon McKenna is a professional aerialist and she’s been that way for 13 years. She is recognized as an innovative coach with an unconventional approach to breaking down skills to the point where anyone can benefit from her training.


This is because she was never a dancer and never a gymnast (but always one hell of a tree climber), so when she discovered aerial arts, she had quite a bit of catching up to do to get to a place where she was ready to perform. The hard lessons and long suffering of this time stayed with her and became the unique drills, attention to detail, and extreme empathy she gives her students to this day.


Shannon’s performing and coaching careers grew in parallel, until she found herself unable to continue offering her regular classes at The San Francisco Circus Center, choosing instead to take circus contracts and gig work in Europe and throughout the US.


During this time, she noted the disconnect between the wonderful community of international circus performers and the equally dope recreational aerial arts communities. Each group had incredible knowledge to share, and she wanted bridge the gap of communication between the two worlds. Her solution was to go online.


In 2018, she founded The Artist Athlete- an online company dedicated to spreading education and inspiration in circus arts. It included practical foundational resources for aerialists and The Artist Athlete Podcast- a weekly interview series where anyone can hear the most highly regarded professionals in the industry share their wisdom.

Always the innovator, Shannon remains on the forefront of online aerial arts training, creating a library of interactive information. The Artist Athlete Podcast now contains over 130 interviews, with over 250,000 downloads worldwide. 


Shannon McKenna Aerial is the next stage in implementing technology to spread time honored, safe, and effective methods of aerial arts training for the people- especially those who don’t have access to knowledgeable coaches.

Shannon continues to create new artistic works and teaching devices. She splits her time between Montreal, Quebec (she’s originally from The United States, but relocated to Canada in 2019), and the rest of the world. She likes to adventure to places where she doesn’t speak the language, can’t identify what she’s eating, and may or may not have to hitch hike back to civilization on a dirt road.

​Meet Shannon

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