People discover the aerial arts in a variety of ways. Maybe you fell deep into an instagram hole of strong people doing cool things. Perhaps you saw that crazy spinning hoop thing at Electric Daisy Carnival or discovered Cirque Du Soleil. Likely you have that one friend who really won’t shut up about it (oh my god you HAVE to try it!). However you gained an interest, you have decided to dive in. You found a class, signed up and aren’t sure what is going to happen.
What do I bring?
A full water bottle. Hydrate or diedrate! Well, probably not diedrate but still, Aerial is physically demanding, just because class is only an hour doesn’t mean you shouldn’t replace all that liquid you lost through your pores (anyone else sweat like a sinner in church? no?)
A dedicated notebook. Having a written record of skills you have learned is extremely helpful as the years slip along. Studios often do not allow for recordings so you can’t lean too heavily on that sweet cell footage. Writing also helps reinforce newly acquired information. Who doesn’t love that?
Your paperwork. Having your waiver ready helps cut down on any extra stress you may feel.
A good mindset So many people tell me that they are scared to come to class because they claim that they “aren’t flexible”, “don’t have upper body strength”, “too big”, “too small” the list goes on. Know that all of the above is straight up nonsense. NONSENSE. The fact is, wherever you are is a good place to start. Go in with an open mind knowing that you and everyone else in the room will have little wins and some snags. Enjoy the triumphs, laugh through the tough spots and have fun!
What do I wear?
Think form fitting. Yoga pants/leggings paired with a form fitting top that covers your stomach is a safe bet. Leotards and unitards are fun because they make you feel slinky and won’t betray you by moving to inconvenient places. For those with “male” bits, it is very tempting to wear basketball shorts. Not a great idea. It may feel awkward to wear something form fitting on your lower half but know that your knees are worth it. I have seen men wear joggers, dance pants, yoga pants or add a longer, tighter layer underneath their shorts. Dance belts are also a thing!
Protect your pits and back. Fabric and grip tape love you so much they might try to take a little skin as a souvenir. Areas to protect include your kneepits, your armpits and back.
REMOVE your shiny things. I can go full hippie and tell you that your inner light is all the bling you need but I will spare you. But really, jewelry, zippers, snaps and buttons are a hazard to both you and the equipment. Jewelry that is “permanent” or small ear studs are generally fine.
What is a class like?
Each studio is a little different so giving minute detail isn’t terribly practical. Just know that every studio has it’s rhythm. If you get a little confused, take a peek at your fellow students and know that you will quickly become just as comfortable as they are. Arriving early to say hello to your instructor, fill out paperwork and meet fellow students is always a good idea. It also allows you time to observe the energy of the room and see what some of the norms are.
Universally, in your class you will begin learning basic skills that can include supported inverts (going upside down), climbs (going up or getting onto your apparatus) and techniques along the lines of how to grip your apparatus. I bet you like being uninjured. To remain so, be very wary of any studio that does not or cannot cue technique.
This is an adventure! No one tumbles out of the womb performing inverts and transitions. Perhaps you have a background that will make the first stretch of your journey move a little quicker, but skill is something we all must earn. Enjoy the little triumphs and laugh at the small struggles. Have a wonderful class!