For this gymnast, life is flippin’ fantastic

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Addyson Earl, 11, with her many trophies from dance, acrobatics and soccer. Submitted photo.

When Addyson Earl, 11, tells you she’s going to flip, she probably means it literally. The Granby Memorial Middle School student has been dancing since she was 3 and doing acrobatics almost as long as she can remember. She learned her first tumbling skills from her mother before signing up for classes.

“She picked it up very quickly,” Kristy Earl said about the aerials and back handsprings her daughter was soon doing at home. “It just came natural to her.”

Addyson started competing in dance at age 6 and she added in her first acrobatic solo the following year as a member of The Dance Slipper, a studio in Southwick. “I just like flipping,” Addyson said. She was good at it, too.

At 7, she placed third overall in Boston at the American Dance Awards National Championships. She made it back to Nationals for the next three years, placing in the Top 10 at all three; however, dance classes were filling up most of her afternoons and Addyson had other interests she wanted to pursue, including soccer.

“I play in two soccer leagues. I play CFC (Connecticut Football Club) Premier and also for the Granby Rovers,” she said.

Because of her growing passion for soccer, Addyson made the decision to give up dance classes and focus only on acrobatics. She joined an acro team at a studio that could accommodate her new schedule, Dance Kraze Dance Studio in East Windsor. The change meant that she wouldn’t be going to Nationals again this year, but she doesn’t regret it. “I loved acro, but I didn’t love dance,” Addyson said. “I didn’t want to lose all my other sports to keep dancing.”

In addition to acrobatics and soccer, Addyson also plays basketball and runs cross-country. A love of sports is something she and her siblings share with their mom and dad, Kristy and Stephen. Kristy said that she used to do acrobatics and cheerleading, as well as running track and playing soccer. Her husband Stephen, a former naval lieutenant, ran track, also. According to Addyson, he’s also a big soccer fan who played during his time at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Her sisters, Mila, 13, and Cassie, 8, are both involved in sports as well. Mila competes as a gymnast and Cassie plays soccer, basketball and softball. Their brother Everett is only 2, but Addyson says he’s “really good at tagging along to everything.”

While she may compete in a lot of sports, it didn’t take long for Addyson to choose soccer as her favorite, or to say that she’d like to play soccer in college one day.

“My friends and I talk about going to UConn,” she says, although for Addyson, Clemson University in South Carolina is another possibility the family has talked about. Her mom points out that she has grandparents that live near Clemson and grandparents and family here in Connecticut, meaning plenty of family support for her whichever school she chooses. As far as what she’ll study, Addyson says she doesn’t know yet, “I haven’t really thought that far.”

Of course, it’s still early for those kinds of decisions. For now, she likes math and has done well academically, not just in sports. With the sixth grade almost over, Addyson has earned high honors every quarter so far, even with her busy sports schedule. She was also recognized for being chosen from over 1,000 entries as a finalist in the PBS Celebration of Music talent search for her acrobatic skills.

Despite enjoying many different sports, Addy took naturally to acrobatics. But her main love is soccer. Submitted photo.

It’s like her mother tells her, “You gotta take what God gives you and use it to your best advantage.” With a bright personality, can-do attitude, hard work and dedication, Addyson is doing just that.