5 Facts you Didn’t Know: Aerial Acrobatics

Phare Circus live show "Chills" - aerial silk performer in ghost costume and makeup suspended above the stage

By Sunita Mager – There is something about the feeling of flying or being up high up in the air using your own strength and overseeing what’s happening down below that makes Aerial Acrobatics so exciting to many people. Seen more as a new recreational activity in many western countries, this traditional circus discipline is taking flight fast, pun intended, and people are loving it.

But there are some things about this fun, easy looking activity that many don’t know about. We list 5 things that you may NOT know about Aerial Acrobatics:

1. Aerial is a broad term for all kinds of different activities

In circus, the term “Aerial” refers to apparatus that is hung from a ceiling. Disciplines that most beginners are taught are rope, cube, hoop or lyra, trapeze, aerial silks or static, which is lower to the ground. Many schools are different. There are some that let you try a certain discipline or train you on one at a time.

Phare, The Cambodian Circus - Same Same but Different

2. No Discipline, No Fun

Aerial acrobatics is nothing for quitters. Taking on a new discipline requires just that – discipline. But if you feel that you might be lacking a bit of strength during your first few classes and want to throw the towel, don’t.  Some circus and aerial schools offer “conditioning” classes that train you for the strength needed for an aerial class.

IG reshae

IG: Waverly Danielle@_w_a_v_e_r_l_y_

3. Aerial Acrobatics Is For Every Body

You have the perfect body type to be an aerialist. Instead of wishing you had a different body or were more skinny, focus on all the things that you can do with the body that you have: what part of you is strong, where are you flexible and what are your weaknesses? Appreciating what is uniquely beautiful about your body and knowing what you love about it will allow you to train your strengths, work on your weak spots and focus on cultivating your own beautiful style. There is no prerequisites when beginning the art of aerial acrobatics. You don’t need a certain shape, do 30 pull-ups on day one or know how to do the splits. However, aerial training demands constant effort and practice. So do the work and find out what amazing things you are capable of.


Vivid Vertical Fitness & Dance@vividverticalfitness

4. Men do Aerial Too

Though you may see a majority of women in your class, don’t be fooled. Men tend to pick up this art quite easily and become good at it too! Besides, in the world of circus and in the aerial community, all gender identities are welcome.

IG: Aerial_@catlisthenics

Create Your Own Strength@catlisthenics

5. Aerial Comes with a Risk

As with all exercise, all aerial comes with risks. It’s extremely important to work with an aerial instructor who puts safety first. Before you sign up for any class, follow these tips:

  1. Ask the instructor where they trained and how long they’ve been teaching. You want to go with someone who has experience teaching aerial arts. Keep in mind that performing and instructing are two different skill sets.
  2. Do some research and ask some students. How long have they been coming to the studio? Looking for an instructor who has built a community and practices safe teaching methods is a testament of professionalism and care. You may also want to ask to first observe a class to see an instructor’s teaching style before signing on the dotted line, which brings us to the last tip.
  3. If your instructor is not asking you to sign a waver before the first class this is a bad sign. They are most likely disorganized, and may be unaware of the risks involved. Ask if (s)he is insured. Think about it – when you ride in someone’s car, wouldn’t you want the driver to be insured just in case of an accident? If your instructor is insured by a source that is recognized in the industry, it shows, responsibility, professionalism and common sense.
Aerial_IG: @astrodoveselise

Elise Angell of Astro Doves@astrodoveselise

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