Author Archives: Lewitwer

Why Competing on Price Will Kill Your Teaching Business

This is kind of a serious blog. Womp womp. So. You’ve decided to start teaching – FABULOUS!!! It’s awesome. You’ve got your equipment, your insurance, your mad skilz (naturally), and now, you just have to figure out how much to charge. But, how do you DO that? If you’re like many, it goes something like this:

“Swingin’ Sisters aerial studio charges $35 per hour for classes. Mergatroyd Metz charges $30 per class. So, to pretty much guarantee I’ve got full classes, I’ll charge $20!”

 

Hold up, partner. You’re making one of the biggest mistakes small business owners make: you are competing on price. You are positioning yourself to be the Bargain Basement of the aerial teaching world. Slow clap. So, what’s the problem? And what should you be competing on?

The Problem With Competing on Price

If you’re starting out smart (and I know you are!!!), you’ve made a list of the costs to run your business. In the aerial teaching world, we generally fall (fly?) into two categories: 1) teaching for a studio or 2) teaching for ourselves.

  1. Teaching for a studio! Big benefits: the studio carries most of the hard costs – you generally just show up, teach classes, and collect your paycheck. The studio usually takes care of studio/venue rental, website and promotional expenses, insurance, equipment, taxes, and sign ups. Big drawback: loss of control. The studio usually sets costs and pay rate, and is in charge of who you teach, when, how, etc. Your paycheck is smaller than if you taught on your own, but you also aren’t carrying the expenses of running a business.
  2. Teaching for ourselves! Big benefits: you teach what you want, when you want, for however much you want. Big drawback: you’re footing the bill for everything (and I do mean everything).

For me, there’s no question: I love autonomy, and I love running my own business. But it does mean that I have to treat it like a business, not like a hobby, or the bill collectors will start camping in my hallway. Step one in determining how much to charge? Add up your hard expenses for a month, determine what you personally would like to make as a salary/need to live, and divide it by the number of students/classes you teach. This will give you an excellent idea of whether or not you’re working in a sustainable way. Numbers coming out a bit wonky? Consider:

  • what the market will bear. There is generally a range of pricing that will bring in students. Here in NYC, for example, it’s around $25-$35 per student for a one hour aerial class; but if you live in an area where everything costs $1, your range will be smaller. You may need to keep your day job until you have a committed student base.
  • if you’re not able to teach enough to make your numbers come out to an I-won’t-have-to-eat-ramen-for-a-year wage, consider ways to decrease your costs (sharing space rentals with another instructor, for example), or look at teaching for a studio.

Aside from simply covering your costs and making a living, competing on price will have you visiting the Bitter Business Bureau in no time. People have deep-rooted attitudes about money and value, aerial classes included. Consider:

  • People generally do not value what they don’t pay for. Be honest – you care a LOT less about sitting on that crap pair of sunglasses you got for $3 at Target then you do about your Kate Spades (or whatever you crazy kids are wearing these days). We esteem what we invest in.
  • You will attract “price hoppers”. These students are always hopping from studio to studio, or activity to activity – whatever they can get a Groupon for. If you’re looking to build a long-term community of committed students, good luck with that.
  • You’re missing the big picture (see below). Price is only PART of the reason people choose a class. In fact, if someone feels like it’s worth it, they will find that money come hell or high water.

 

But Miss Laura! If I Don’t Compete on Price, What SHOULD I Compete On?

Compete on reputation. Compete on skill and training. Compete on your offerings, with your marketing, or within your niche market. Methodology. Community. People consider ALL SORTS of things when deciding to take a class, not just the cost. And here’s the Deep Dark Truth about working cheap (oh yes – I’m gonna say it): your clients will believe that you are worth what you charge.

So, the question is really: what is a fair price for my offering? What will support both my career and this industry? If you want to work for $1, all I can do is shrug, and wish you luck. But I think you’re being foolish and short-sighted, and a house built on sand spontaneously combusts in a strong wind. Or something like that. Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

 

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Be Progressive! Why Progressions are Essential in Aerial and Circus Training

Marcee Corner PocketWith political campaigns heating up (if I was clever, I would figure out how to put a GIANT EYE ROLL HERE; you’ll just have to imagine it), I figured now is as good a time as any to bring up one of my very favorite topics: progressions! Turns out, you can be progressive AND conservative in your aerial work, which just might make you a superhero.

What is a Progression in CircusLand?

Simply put, a movement progression is building off of foundational skills to achieve or pursue an advanced state. For example, Lulu comes to my aerial silks group class here in New York City. She has never taken a silks class in her life. I do not allow or encourage her to start with a triple star (duh) – we work on simply standing on the fabric.

This seems pretty common sense, right? Well, I started with an easy one for you. How many of you are trying to execute a hip key in the air before mastering in-air inversions? Oooooh – I see a lot of hands. Dear Danglers, inversions in the air come before hip keys in the air – I’ll bet you’re in bad habit city right now. Good luck with that.

Every single move in circus is built on foundations of proper body positioning, strength, and mental readiness (it’s a thing). Every. single. one. Ultimately, a progression map looks a lot like a tree: there’s a solid trunk (inversion in the air), then branches start forming (hip key in the air), and so on, all the way to the fancy leaves at the end (drops from a hip key). Trying to bypass those progressions is NOT PRETTY, people!

  • An uphill battle. Without the supportive skills, moves higher up the progression tree are f*$king hard.
  • Higher risk of injuries. Not only are you more likely to fall on your head, you’re practically guaranteed repetitive stress injuries (tendinitis, bursitis, etc.), popped hammies, or soft tissue injuries like a torn labrum.
  • No understanding of the theory behind it. Yes – circus theory is a thing! You should know the why behind what you’re doing. WHY do we cross two times behind the back for this move? Why do we take our heel out of the knot? Why do we “clench for Jesus” as we slide in front of the fabric? The *why* is important.
  • Ya’ll – it’s ugly. Seriously. Know what’s lovely? A beautiful progression that doesn’t result in just heaving yourself into a position, hauling your body over, and flopping around like a deranged mackerel.
  • BONUS: extra panic! And fear! A good progression also prepares you mentally for the experience of advanced moves. Some motions MUST be executed with confidence, some require some mental reconciling with fear, and some just hurt like hell. There’s no skipping the preparation for that (unless you really like falling, injury, extra pain, debilitating fear, peeing in panic, you get the picture).

 

How do I Work With Progressions?

Hopefully, your teacher has given a great deal of thought to their methodology and pedagogy. (Psssst! If you suspect that this is not the case, it may be time to seek out a new coach.) This looks like a consistent and careful progression that is similar for every student. Everyone will progress at wildly different paces, but the stepping stones should remain the same, with small variations for special needs. It does NOT look like allowing students to jump in wherever they’d like.

So, let’s all be progressive AND conservative! It’s the best of all the aerial worlds! Love and pull-ups, Laura

 
 

 

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The SassyPants List of Favorite Gifties is HERE!!!

SassyPants gift certificates!

SassyPants gift certificates!

So, you forgot to get your favorite aerialist a gift. WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU???!!!! Never fear, Dear Danglers (and their friends & family)! It’s time for….. The SassyPants List of Awesome Gifties!!!!!!

     

  1. Gift Certificates! Just say NO to clutter – give the gift of aerial fabulousness instead! May I humbly suggest a SassyPants Gift Certificate for your bestie? If I’m not nearby, check out circus centers near them. It’s a gift that they’ll love, and it will make you seem super cool (BONUS).
  2.  

  3. Fly Pretty Designs! The fabulous Meghan Bourke has launched a T Shirt line featuring her artwork of aerialists, and they’re gorgeous! I’m partial to the “Badass” hoodies, myself. (hint hint) http://flyprettydesigns.net/
  4.  

  5. CIRCUStyle! Fun circus-y tanks and tees! https://squareup.com/market/circustyle 
  6.  

  7. SassyPants Booty Shorts! (pictured below) Get your order in by 12/20 – they’re going fast! Email me at sassypantsaerial@gmail.com with inquires. $25, one size fits all!
     

  8. Vinyl Trapeze Wall Sticky Things! I am over the moon for these, especially for paint-shy New Yorkers! Easy on, easy off. Click here!  And here! 
  9.  

  10. Handmade Pole Christmas Cards! I had a good laugh when I saw these. Some seem to defy physics, but hey – a little magic and levitation is just the thing for the holidays! Click here! 
  11.  

  12. Trapeze Tote Bag! Toe hangs, anyone? Cute as a rig bag or to schlep costumes! Click here! 
  13.  

  14. Silver Trapeze Necklace! This is a personal favorite – love it! Click here! 
  15.  

  16. Aerial Silks Keychain! For all your key chain needs. Click here! 
  17.  

  18. Aerial Silks Cami Top! Shows a progression into a hip key – sassy! Click here! 

 

SassyPants Booty Shorts

SassyPants Booty Shorts

 
 
Well, that about does it for this year, Dear Danglers! I hope you all are having a Fantabulous Holiday Season, and I’ll see you in the New Year! Love and pull-ups, Laura

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 
 
 

Man Bits Part 2! Mr Bobby Hedglin on Keeping the Tiger Caged

Bobby PromoWARNING! This blog post contains slang references to male anatomy. If you’re under 18, or squeamish, you’ve been warned.

Hello Dear Danglers! Everyone’s favorite Bobby Hedglin talks about his favorite danglers, in his typical irreverent way. I would like to mention that he included a lexicon of over 200 euphemisms for man bits which, for (ahem) matters of spacing, I had to omit. Enjoy!

“I’d like to chat with all the men in the room.   It’s that thing we all love to talk about… our business, our Johnson, Biggy Smalls, Baby arm, python, dragon, lizard, and finally… my favorite subject in the world my penis.  His name is Wilber (I named him after the Pig in Charlotte’s Web).   I’ve come face to face with some penis trouble, and choose to share my experience head on and give you some suggestions on how to approach your own turkey baster when training acrobatics.

As male acrobats we all come up to that uncomfortable moment when our little friend gets caught, snagged, kicked, bumped, pulled or smashed.   It’s never the  happy meeting of body parts this prince is ultimately meant for, so let’s put our heads together and have a meeting of the minds.  Since some women think our brains are down there, let’s use our “brains” and come up with some solutions to not running over our poor trouser trout and turning him into Muppet roadkill,  that mangled ball of fur and flesh after a crash and burn crashing head on with a circus apparatus.

First and foremost, keep him caged!!  Nothing is more dangerous to the John Thomas than letting him out to run freely off the leash by going commando when training!   This is where the dance belt comes in.   Ah yes, that medieval torture device that takes your mister and his set of throw pillows and thrusts it up into your pelvis while taking an elastic strap made of steel wool and placing it in your butt crack…. yes, that old thing.  Giving new light to the term “Asses of fire”.   Created to stop ruptures and hernias from blooming the dance belt has been a life saver for my wooley jonhson.  The necessary evil we need to protect the little fellow.   Couple of notes.  There ARE dance belts that don’t have the butt crack strap and are fully seated for extra comfort.   You can also sew a patch of fabric over the elastic butt floss and it will be more comfortable.

Boxers or briefs?   I’ve always been a briefs or tighty whitey kinda guy so I was used to the “lift and separate” but it’s been drilled into our collective unconscious that if you want to have the honor of bringing children into the world you need to create world class swimmers and you do that by wearing boxers.   A common misconception in the cultivation of a crop of minnows destined to find an egg.   I’ve known several men who have fathered children who have shared that they only wear briefs.  It is better for you to wear boxers, but it’s not impossible if you prefer a more streamline hipster penis look.   Now, there are you guys who are free spirits who want to let the little Llama run free in boxers, that’s totally acceptable and always a personal preference, but I digress, let’s get back to the “business” at hand (All puns intended).   Boxers are deadly to the little Frank if you’re training.  Not only do they create unsightly wrinkles in your skinny jeans, they also create “frog butt”, the bunching of fabric in the back of your pants… not cute fellas, not cute.   Chicks dig guys with nice butts, (and some guys like them too) don’t mess it up with boxers…you could try boxer briefs too, they are quite comfy and no undie lines under jeans or pants 🙂

Now, on to tricks, moves, training in the air.   Once you’ve caged the monster, you have to remember in the air PLACEMENT IS KEY!   When you wrap fabric, rope, trapeze bars, make sure you lift the thighs high when inverting, and when climbing above wraps, climb higher above any wraps and sinking down, make sure the fabric or rope rolls up your inner thigh and not through center, splitting your tower lamp and back up generators in two.  This can be very painful.   Finding placement on the apparatus with your apparatus is key.  Work your tricks “slow and low” especially work the wrap for drops several times before going for it.  Any drop, wrap or move that needs to go through the center of your crotch, make sure the material of the apparatus goes to one side or the other.  No need to test your high notes in singing class by placing it front and center.   You will eventually find a move that does cause some kind of snatch and grab and you will have worked through the most part of the trick and it won’t be as bad.   On a personal note, I had created a very cool slack drop on Hammock about 15 years ago… I went for it and caught my tropical mushroom in the fabric at the bottom.  I was in excruciating pain, and the resulting bruise on the barrel of my rifle was about the size of a quarter.  I sent a photo to my partner at the time because he didn’t believe me, and he laughed and nicknamed my delicate flower “Barney the Purple dinosaur”.    Luckily this wasn’t an accident that needed medical treatment but it could have been really bad.   BE CAREFUL with your wacky inflatable arm flailing tube man !

With all acrobatics, aerial, duo work, partner acro, trapeze, gymnastics always remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry.   You only get one member in this life and you should protect him, love him and hug him and call him George!(or whatever name you might give him).    With all jokes aside, I’ve found a dance belt to be key to safety for the man bits.   Stretching, warm up, as well as proper attire is always the first line of defense in protecting your one eyed trouser trout.   Working through every transition “slow and low” and trying new things, testing the waters in a controlled, safe environment with a trained coach.   Always keeping in mind that our little one eyed trouser trout on a bed of pubic hair pasta is resilient, and will bounce back into shape quickly after any injury, but let’s not test fate by being reckless.

If I missed any slang terms for Penis, you can add to this list by commenting below.”

Bobby Hedglin Taylor
Why walk when you can fly!
www.BobbyHedglinTaylor.com

 

 

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Ballsy Moves! Trevor Kafka Talks Man-Bits with SassyPants New York

Trevor 1It’s a touchy subject and far under-discussed one at that, but it’s definitely one of staggering importance in any aerial community. That’s right, everyone, we’re talking about man bits and how we can make sure that the way that those of us with external genitalia can perform aerial movements allows us to stay safe, uninjured, and “pain-free” in our most sensitive region.

Just a quick note before I go any further: When I say “man bits,” I’m referring to any sort of external genitalia. Aerial instructors should be aware extended applicability of this advice to people who we may not immediately identify as “men.” For example, a transgendered or intersex aerial student may bear full or partial male genitalia and therefore may find aerial work challenging, but the fact that this is why they are finding aerial work challenging may not be so evident. So, while I will call them “man bits,” don’t confuse all of this advice as strictly “advice for aerialists who are men.”

Almost every aerialist with man bits has had at least one highly unpleasurable experience where an aerial apparatus squeezed or pinched in a bad way or where a bar or rope caused painful bodily shifting. The most commonly prescribed solution from aerial instructors as to how to prevent these sorts of mishaps is to wear a dance belt. For those who are unfamiliar, a dance belt is a form of supportive underwear similar in function to a jockstrap that is equipped with a thong back in order avoid edge visibility underneath form-fitting clothing.

The dance belt advice is very common, but there is one extremely important problem: DANCE BELTS DO NOT PREVENT INJURY. Man bits can still get hurt quite a bit as a result of poor aerial technique, even for the most diligent of dance belt wearers.

Well, if they don’t prevent injury, what do dance belts do, you may ask? The answer is that they keep your man bits in place, which means that they will be where you expect them and you can can position them in a predictable manner. The only way beyond supportive underwear to ensure ideal comfort and safety is to employ strong aerial technique, and the proper technique to perform aerial moves comfortably on an apparatus may be more involved than you have been instructed in the past. Here are my words of advice, broken down into three fundamental concepts.

ANTI-MAN-BITS-PAIN TIP 1: know WHICH DIRECTIONS OF PRESSURE cause pain

Use these rules to predict if an aerial skill may cause intense pain.

  • Inwards pressure on the man bits (pressing into the body) = TERRIBLY PAINFUL
  • Upwards pressure on the man bits (sliding towards the chest) = TERRIBLY PAINFUL
  • Downwards pressure on the man bits (sliding towards the feet) = not great, but generally tolerable

Example: the canonical “kick in the balls” is both an upwards and inwards hit, which, as you can see by my categorization here, can be quite terribly painful indeed.

Here are some examples to demonstrate how you might employ these rules to recognize situations where extreme pain might result without care.

  • Directions of Pressure Example 1: Consider horse position on trapeze or hoop (basically, sitting on the bar sideways with one leg on either side of the bar). If you sit backwards a bit, there’s no pressure at all on the man bits, which is great, but if you lean forward–WOAH NELLY–that upward pressure is HORRIBLE.
  • Directions of Pressure Example 2: Consider hip circles on trapeze or hoop. If you rotate in the forward direction, this puts downwards pressure on the man bits. This is no big deal, and generally does not cause pain. However, reverse hip circles are VERY SKETCHY INDEED. If the man bits slide along the bar during a reverse hip circle, this can apply EXTREME upwards and inwards pressure. Thus, great care must be taken when performing reverse mill circles to ensure that the man bits press into the bar VERY LIGHTLY if at all when the skill is performed.
  • Directions of Pressure Example 3: Think about a hip key on silks. If this is done POORLY, the silks may lie directly on the man bits, pushing them directly inwards towards the body (you do have your full weight in the fabric, after all). This can be extremely painful.

ANTI-MAN-BITS-PAIN TIP 2: know which nearby areas DO NOT cause pain

Pressure on the man bits hurts; pressure directly to the left, right, above, or below does not (at least, does not in the same, horrible, horrible way). As we will see, this allows us to use the “Pick A Side!” technique with our apparatus in order to comfortably support weight.

How do you know which side to pick? The answer depends on the skill! “Pick a Side!” is most relevant for aerial silks, so I will provide a general rule some examples to illustrate.

THE BIG “PICK A SIDE!” GENERAL RULE: the left/right placement of the fabric on the front of the body immediately after it passes between the legs directly corresponds to whether the fabric should pass through on the left or on the right of the man bits.

Why is this the case? Since the man bits are located on the FRONT part of the pelvis (instead of directly underneath the pelvis), whatever the fabric does in the front of the hips must be matched with what the fabric does immediately below the hips in order to prevent the fabric from wrapping diagonally across the man bits, and thus causing uncomfortable inward and upward pressure!

Here are some examples to illustrate:

 

  • “Pick a Side!” Example 1: in a hip key, the fabric section running between the legs should be ABOVE the man bits when keyed in (that is, on the ceiling side of things when the body is piked over), because the portion of the fabric running through the legs that goes to the front of the hips runs towards the top leg (that is, bottom to top, we have: silk, leg, man bits, silk, leg, silk–quite the sandwich indeed). Positioning in this manner will allow for maximum hip key comfort (…or should I say “maximum hip keymfort”? Maybe I shouldn’t…).
  • Trevor 2 Photo (c) Cristian Buitron

  • “Pick a Side!” Example 2: get into an opposite-side hook (outside leg hook), let the silk go behind the back, wrap the free leg, and climb over the hooked leg into a opposite side dive (salto) position. This position is typically very painful when not done carefully. Since the opposite side leg was hooked, the side that is climbed over is opposite to the side that the portion of the fabric running through the legs ends up on at the front of the hips. Since the weight will be supported on the side of the man bits which corresponds to the leg that was climbed over, the fabric will force lots of uncomfortable pressure because by doing so we are forced to violate “Pick a Side!” rule that I mentioned above. A flourish of the hips can allow one to “switch sides” when climbing over, avoiding this painful result (described in Anti-Man-Bits-Pain Tip 3, Pain Prevention Solution 1 below).
  • “Pick a Side!” Example 3: get into a same-side hook (inside leg hook), wrap the free leg, and climb over the hooked leg. As far as aerial skills go, this position does not hurt much at all, since the natural placement of the weight-bearing portion of the silk is on the side of the leg that you climbed over, which is the same side as the fabric wrap in front of the hips, so our “Pick a Side!” rule is satisfied! Hooray for no terrible, terrible pain!

ANTI-MAN-BITS-PAIN TIP 3: know how to PREVENT painful pressure during movement

In general, aerial skills can be very painful if a wrap involves switching sides while the silk is bearing weight. There are two workarounds.

 

  • Pain Prevention Solution 1, “JUMP THE HIGHWAY”: If you find that you have chosen the wrong side, or that the wrap that you are using simply violates the “Pick a Side!” rule (as is common for many opposite side hook wraps, as illustrated by the “Pick a Side!” Example 2 above), proceed with “Jump the Highway” by lifting up the body with the arms on the silks, switching the fabric from one side of the man bits to the other, and then sitting yourself in. This is a fairly reliable technique that works for most situations on any apparatus, but it does require a little bit of foresight to prevent pain in the first place as well as arm strength to actually perform the maneuver.
  • Pain Prevention Solution 2, “BE CREATIVE!”: Try choosing a different wrap! Ask your instructor if there are any variations on the skill that you are working with that does not involve switching sides while weight-bearing. If none are evident or known, try figuring out something for yourself under the supervision of an instructor. Very frequently there are multiple ways to enter the same skill or many ways to produce the same shape, and very often these variations are accompanied with various degrees of pain. You just may come up with a brand new piece of aerial vocabulary!

 
 

 

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Learning is ACTIVE! The SassyPants NYC Method

Benton splitsLearning is a two-way street, my lovelies. Gone are the “open head, insert knowledge” days of education (praise be!). The students who learn the most are the ones who engage most fully with the material, whether it’s nekkid mud wrestling or aerial silks. Are you meeting your teacher half way, or expecting them to do all the work?

Circus Is Active

Circus is active (WHAT??!!). Whether you’re a visual, aural, or kinesthetic learner, at the end of the day, the magic of circus actually happens when you get up and flip/flop/balance/splat/twirl/spin/perch/swing/clench/slide/pee a little/heave/fly/fling yourself on your chosen apparatus or a mat. We all process information in wildly different ways, and each of us has a preferred method of encountering new material. Even more fun? We may not even know what that preferred method is! But, one thing is certain: you ain’t gonna learn it without actually doing it.

My “New York Method” of Aerial Learning

New York is fast-paced and decisive – you either do your thing, or get out ‘da way. In SassyPants Aerial group classes, if you just stare at me waiting for Divine Inspiration, you lose your turn!

My students here in NYC are a varied group for sure, and not lacking in the personality department (yeah, I’m looking at you, Tuesday 6:45). Some like to talk through everything before they approach the silks, some have to see it, and some just have to get up there and slog through it.

When encountering something new, try this:

  • Watch demos carefully, and try to identify which base skill the move is built on.
  • Listen to verbal cues, and do exactly and only what your coach asks you to do.
  • Do what you know, and ask for clarification. Ask for a spot if you feel unsafe doing a move on your own.
  • Completely mystified? Ask what the first tiny step is. Then do that step until you’re comfortable.

 
Please don’t:

  • Be on your phone, daydreaming, or chatting while your coach is demoing or speaking. Pay attention.
  • Just stand there and stare. I cannot do it for you, so you’re going to have to meet me at least half way. If you’re super confused, ask what the first step is, ask for a demo if you need it, and begin. You don’t need to analyze “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” before you attempt a climb on silks. You DO need to touch the fabrics.
  • Insist that the teacher focus solely on you. If you feel paralyzed unless the coach is right next to you, it might be time to book a private, or switch to a lower level class.
  • Sulk and get an attitude (this will make your teacher stabby).

 

New stuff can be scary, confusing, and intimidating as an adult. The more active you are in the process of your learning (literally ACTIVE), the easier it gets. Have fun and stay safe! Love and pull-ups, Laura
 

 

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Aerial Expo THIS WEEKEND!!!

Hello, Dear Danglers! Guess what’s happening this weekend in Iowa? The AERIAL EXPO! I’m super sad that I can’t be there in person this year, but here’s hoping you can! Love and pull-ups, Laura

On August 21-23, Aerial Expo will bring world-class aerial performances, competitions, and workshops to Des Moines for the second consecutive year. Held jointly at the Science Center of Iowa and the Des Moines Social Club, this high-flying event showcases both locally-based and nationally-renowned aerial artists performing on trapeze, silks, lyra, and more.

www.AerialExpo.com

 

 

 

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Aerial Straps – The Myth and the Magic

If you’re really, really into pain, have I got an apparatus for you! AERIAL STRAPS! I’m joking, of course (no I’m not). Straps are hardcore, badass, and not for the feint of heart. Have a look!
 

 

The Myth, The Magic

The biggest myth is that straps are for boys. Sister, please! They take a lot of training and strength, but I’ve seen plenty of women rock some serious straps! The other myth is that they’re excruciating. Now, I cannot tell a lie – they are very “sensational” (thank you, Luv!). But, hey – circus hurts! If you want to learn straps, trust me – you will get used to the pain.

 

 

Here’s a great conversation with Patti Miller from Aerial Animals (via Delbert Hall), who fabricates straps. Check it out!
 
 

 

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Help! The Fabrics Ate My Shirt!

Goodbye, shirt! Thank goodness this was a one-time thing, and that Yechiel is a super-safe student.

Goodbye, shirt! Thank goodness this was a one-time thing, and that Yechiel is a super-safe student.

One of the most frustrating moments in a class is when, after executing a lovely Plummeting Whore or Crap-tastic rolldown, the fabric eats your shirt.

“Wretched fabric!” you shriek. “Why why WHY???!!!!”

Well, because you fed it.

Please Don’t Feed the Fabric

It’s a toughie, right? You want to put on a T-shirt with sleeves for armpit-catching drops, but you don’t want to wind up dangling by a knot on your back. What to do, what to do? Fear not, friend – you’ve got options.

  • Choose a sleeved unitard or leotard with leggings. This is the best way to avoid getting caught, but not necessarily the most fashionable. That said, you won’t be performing in a t-shirt – get used to it!
  • Go up, not down. Instead of trying to slide below the knot, straddle back to an invert, arch through to a straight-legged bird’s nest, or do a nice pull-up and draw your knees to your chest. Any of these should get the fabric to release.
  • Lean out. If your forearms are toast, try this: wrap your feet securely, grab one pole, and bring your opposite arm forward between the silks. Now, reeeeeeach forward (no “forward” = caught in the knot, so don’t be half-assed here).
  • Tie up your boobies. If you’re doing crap-tastic rolldowns (aka “windmills” or “cartwheels”), and you insist on wearing a shirt, pull it up and tie it under your charms.

 

Getting Caught is Up to You

While I have oodles of sympathy for the unexpected ruined shirt, I have to tell you – a bad “binding” can be super stressful for teachers. Depending on the rigging situation in your studio, getting you down can be an ordeal if you can’t get yourself free, putting you in a crummy (read: potentially dangerous) situation and eating up class time. If you find yourself trussed up like a turkey on a regular basis, you are giving your poor teacher premature gray hairs. Quit it. Put on your sassiest leggings, grab a snazzy leotard, and get going! Love and pull-ups, Laura
 
 

 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

Home Aerial Rigs of Your Very Own!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m being lazy today and letting someone else essentially write my post for me. BUT, many (many many) of you have written and asked for info on this topic, so everyone wins!

The following is a PDF excerpt from the book “Rigging: Essentials for Aerialists” by Steven Santos, which I think is an excellent resource and I highly recommend for all aerialists and aerial students – get it here. In the meantime, dig in! Love and pull-ups, Laura

Download the PDF here!
 

 

 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.