Know your apparatus
So you have been to a concert or seen a performance on TV and you have decided that you want to try aerial for the first time and see if you like it. But after doing some research you have discovered that there are so many different types of aerial classes and you have no idea what they all mean!
Don’t fear, I’m here to explain a few different types that I have tried and what level of skill you will need, but the best way to find out is to go and try it for yourself!
SILKS OR TISSU
Info: Silks, or otherwise known as ribbon, tissu or fabric depending on what region you are in, is probably the most recognised type of aerial. Celebrities such as Pink, Britney Spears and Madonna have used aerial silks in their live performances which has attributed to its popularity. Silks is one of the more challenging aerial apparatus to learn, however you do not need to be super fit to start and beginners classes are a great way to build your core and upper body strength not to mention look beautiful in the air! The fabrics used as silks is very strong with some give and flexibility. The fabric is 2-way stretch polyester lycra and is usually quite long, as it is doubled for rigging, giving you two strips of fabric to work with. You can separate the fabric for tricks or hold them both together to wrap around your body for various moves.
What to expect: Silks builds up upper body strength and core which you will use a lot the first time you step into a class. You should also come prepared with water, wear gym clothing and make sure you stretch your arms before getting on the fabric.
Skill Level: You do not need to have any special skill level to start learning. I started with only half my body working so you should be fine especially if your whole body works! The key with silks is patience and persistence and you will soon see results. Don’t stress if you don’t climb the first day, everyone learns at a different level and try to focus on your goals not what everyone else is doing.
LYRA OR HOOP
Info: Lyra is a round ‘hula hoop’ apparatus that is rigged with or without a hand loop and suspended from the ceiling high or low to the ground to perform tricks as you move around it. Lyra can be used static or swinging and looks really beautiful especially when your spinning. Hoops are made from metal and range in size depending on your own dimensions and what is comfortable for you to use. It can also be rigged to be close to the ground or higher up in the air so depending on what your skill level is.
What to expect: Lyra is great if you want to try aerial and learn some really beautiful tricks while still keeping your feet close to the ground, but because it is made of metal you can expect some bruises but strangely enough they don’t hurt! Wear long leggings to cushion your skin and be prepared to get a good spin on.
Skill Level: The great thing about hoop is that if you can sit down and stand up you can do it. You will use some upper body strength to pull yourself on the hoop but the good news is you can still do so many things without having really strong arms (although it does help).
Info: Hammock can be made from the same material silks is but is doubled over in a loop in which you can sit, stand or lay down to perform tricks. Hammock can also be referred to as sling and also be used for yoga. (See Anti Gravity Yoga)
What to expect: Hammock does share some of the same tricks that hoop does and also incorporates variations of silks moves too so it is a lot of fun to weave in and out of. It also has a ton of its own and also gives you the freedom to experiment and play around with it. In my experience it is easier that silks because it doesn’t require climbing or free wrapping but still just as fun, if not sometimes more!
Skill Level: If you can stand on one foot you can learn hammock. Its also a good apparatus to try if your afraid of heights or don’t feel up to climbing (or physically can’t!)
You may have noticed that in all of those listed, the skill level is beginner. That’s because you do not need any special skills to try aerial. As long as you are willing to put in the time and hard work you can achieve your goals! Now go out and try it for yourself!