Category Archives: Safety

When to Retire Your Carabiners

Hello Dear Danglers! The following was brought to my attention by one of my all-time favorite riggers (and all around great guy) Mr Bill Auld. Many of us have heard the whole “if you drop a carabiner from higher than waist height you should retire it” bit. That’s super extreme, ya’ll. Give the following a read, and you’ll see that it’s not quite that simple! Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

“This is a controversial topic that comes up every so often and which, due to the often singular importance of carabiners, is worth some further research.

If you want the one word executive summary, it would read; “No” (as in no, you don’t need to immediately discard dropped carabiners). If however you want to know when you should and shouldn’t, and why, then read on…”

 

READ THE REST OF THIS POST HERE!

 

UPDATE: If this was of interest to you, here are some more resources!

http://www.geir.com/mythbuster.html

http://web.mit.edu/sp255/www/reference_vault/Fatigue_Presentation.pdf

http://www.simplycircus.com/sites/default/files/rigging/Graham_Jon_622.pdf

http://www.rescuedynamics.ca/articles/pdfs/CarabinerWearTests.pdf

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.

 

Training While Pregnant – the 3rd Trimester

My glorious belly at 36 weeks!

Pssst! Remember – I am not a medical practitioner. This post is in no way meant as a substitute for medical advice. Check with your OB, midwife, or doctor about training throughout your pregnancy to ensure the safety of you and your baby!

Oh Dear Dangler, now the fun really begins!!! The bad news is that this trimester can be tough – you’re heavy, might feel uncomfortable, and pee whenever you sneeze. BUT – take heart! You’re almost there, and will finally meet the prankster who’s been tap dancing on your spleen for the past few months.

You’re Enormous – Embrace It

  • Your boobies are gigantic. Seriously – they’re huge. You’re sporting about 3-4 lbs of extra breast tissue! Enjoy those gorgeous curves!
  • You feel heeeeeeeeeeavy. Baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, larger breasts and uterus, extra fat stores, and increased blood and fluids equal an extra 25-40 lbs of fabulousness! It doesn’t help when your trapeze partner starts yelling, “Thar she blows!” whenever you walk into a room.
  • More frequent Braxton Hicks contractions. They feel a little funny, but shouldn’t hurt.
  • Backache fun! As those hormones relax the joints in your pelvis, your back gets to pick up the slack. But here’s the great news – your back is so nice and strong from doing aerial work, you may avoid this issue completely! Those abs you thought were ruined (they’re not) are also lifting and holding that baby up, sharing the load with your back. You are a badass!
  • Shortness of breath! Girl, there’s just no more room in there for your lungs to expand like they used to, so while you’re hauling around an extra 30 lbs, you’ll be huffin’ and puffin’ like a choo choo train. This is not an indication that you’re somehow getting “less fit”, it’s just crowded in there!
  • Heartburn! Your sweet behbeh might now be pushing your stomach out of position, resulting in stomach acid creeping up where it shouldn’t.
  • Swelling up like a balloon! Also, spider veins, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids. There are tons of extra fluids you’re body’s dealing with, so your veins are working overtime. Pressure on your intestines may also slow down your digestion, resulting in some (ahem) “straining”. Don’t do that. Make friends with prunes.
  • Peeing every 30 freakin’ minutes. Also? All that pressure on your bladder may cause you to leak urine when you laugh or sneeze. One word: KEGELS! Again, aerial work to the rescue! You very likely have a nice, strong pelvic floor since you’re used to keeping everything (and I do mean everything) tight in the air. Continue to keep those muscles nice and vise-like by doing Kegel exercises – the vaginal workout of champions!

 

Thar she blows!

How It Affects Your Training

    • Heavy – you’ll move and work more slowly and deliberately. This probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: now is the time to stay nice and close to the ground so you can dismount quickly and safely when you need to. Remember – training should feel GOOD and be safe!
    • Bump in the way – it’s kind of hard to avoid now! Work around it as best you can. Wrap things from the floor, and see what kind of variations you can create! You may find something really wonderful!
    • Balance wonky – don’t underestimate how off-kilter you may feel right now. Your body proportions have changed RAPIDLY, and you need to work slowly and consciously. For myself, I actually had phenomenal balance while I was pregnant – I think having more in front helped to balance out what was already in back!
    • Remember to breathe! Timing your breathing to your movement can help here (arm up – inhale, wrap around – exhale, etc).
    • Stay active. Staying physically active during a normal, healthy pregnancy is GREAT! Helps move all those fluids around, keep your weight where it should be, keep muscles toned and gorgeous, may improve chances of an easy delivery, and will make you feel great!

 

Here are three exercise videos I loved during pregnancy – I found most to be so ridiculously easy it was laughable. These (especially the Steben videos) are total butt whoopers! In case you don’t know, you can see the Steben twins in the Saltimbanco Cirque du Soleil video  – they’re the swinging trap duo.

  1. The Perfect Pregnancy Workout Volume 1 (weight training)
  2. The Perfect Pregnancy Workout Volume 2 (yoga based)
  3. 10 Minute Solution: Prenatal Pilates

And now, I leave you with my gloriously pregnant student Charlotte enjoying some stretch time on silks! It’s worth noting that Charlotte has been training with me for years, and has a fantastic sense of her capabilities and limitations while pregnant. Assess your training with your coach, and play it safe!!!! 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.

 

Training While Pregnant – the Second Trimester

Mmmmm….pickles…..

Congratulations – your head is probably out of the toilet and your boobies don’t hurt so much! HOORAY! There are LOTS of major changes in this trimester which will make your training super creative. And flatulent – did I mention the farting? Let’s talk. You sit over there, please.

Note: I am not a medical practitioner. This post is in no way meant to substitute for medical advice. Check with your doctor before attempting or continuing aerial training of any kind while pregnant.

The Golden Trimester

For many women, this is by far the most comfortable trimester of pregnancy. You’re probably not throwing up, the crazy has died down a bit, and you may feel a renewed sense of well-being. But the BEST part? You finally get to tell everybody!!! It’s about to get harder to hide. Here’s why:

  • Larger breasts – VA-VOOM! Shock and Awe are in the house! You’re gonna have yourself a spectacular rack.
  • Baby bump! By month 4 (earlier if this isn’t your first pregnancy), you can kiss your skinny jeans goodbye.
  • Baby movements – This was the best part of pregnancy for me! One day, you feel a little flutter, or a pop like someone is popping popcorn in your tummy. Warning: you will almost die of excitement. 🙂
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions – Your uterus likes to be prepared – it’s training too! These contractions are your uterus toning up for the big day.
  • Nasal congestion – Snot fest. Enjoy.
  • Dizziness – Your blood volume is increasing by 50% (!!!). WOW! Thanks to that, you may find you have some dizziness here and there as your blood pressure tries to normalize.
  • Leg cramps – Yup. They’re a party.
  • Shortness of breath – You’re having to oxygenate A LOT more blood, so don’t be surprised if those stairs leave you more winded than you think you ought to be.
  • Hilarious flatulence – Blame it on the dog, ladies!
  • Loosey-goosey joints – All that Relaxin in your system can give you a rockin’ split, but make joints a little loose.
  • Just a little less crazy – Your hubby or partner can put the sharp knives back in the kitchen! Your emotions (while still topsy-turvy) are a hair more stable now. Enjoy it while it lasts.

How Your Training May Change

  • Time to officially tell your instructor! All of my pregnant students found creative ways to “tell me without telling me” during the first trimester (“I’m not feeling well, I’m going to take it easy for the next few weeks” for example). If your instructor doesn’t “hear” you, remember – you have a big responsibility to keep yourself safe and healthy right now. Listen to your midwife/OB, and especially to your body. Now is the time to be conservative!
  • As the bump grows and you get heavier, certain moves eventually just don’t work (inversions/straddle-backs for example). Your work will naturally get lower and lower, which is as it should be! Let your body determine what moves to focus on, and get creative. Training should feel good – this is NOT the time for strain and pain!
  • If you find yourself getting AT ALL light-headed or dizzy, stop immediately. This happened to me when I would quickly go from upside down to right-side up. When I slowed my movements, it went away. HOWEVER — dizziness has no place in aerial arts. If you find this is a regular maternal symptom and not just a random one time thing, it’s time to take a break from training and pick it back up in a few months after the birth. Don’t worry – aerial arts will still be there in a few months!
  • You’re more winded now, so stamina is not going to be your thing. Ease up, and focus on technique with one or two moves, rather than stringing a bunch together.
  • Fart with exuberant abandon. People forgive pregnant women anything.
  • I have really tight joints, so the loosening didn’t faze me much. BUT, some of you have loose joints to begin with, so you’re like spaghetti when you’re pregnant! Proceed with an eye towards keeping your joints (especially shoulders) WELL within an easy and stable range of motion. Now is actually a great time to start working on building stability in your joints using a thera-band or light weights.
  • “High impact” aerial pursuits such as flying trapeze will need to be tabled, often as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. But hey – didn’t you say you always wanted to try static aerials?

 

It’s also good to ask your coach if they’ve ever taught a pregnant student, and if they have any education or training for doing so (for the record, yes I have, and yes I do! I’ve been an ACE Certified personal trainer for the past eight years, with continuing education credits in pre and post-natal exercise).  It’s absolutely essential that you keep talking to your midwife or OB about your training (it really helps if they’ve had experience with athletes or circus performers in the past). Modify, modify, modify! Your training should be safe, and really feel good. If you’re having a “vanilla”, healthy, low risk pregnancy, physical activity is ‘da bomb (and ups the chances of you squeezing back into your pre-pregnancy leggings). Happy farting dangling! 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.

 

Aerial Skill Share: When the Blind Lead the Blind

Happy Thursday, Dear Danglers! OK – raise your hand if you’ve ever been to a circus skill share or taught an aerial peep a move. Yup – me too! Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever given someone a bad habit it took them six months to unlearn. The 75% of you who just lowered their hands? Not so fast. 

The Downside of Aerial Skill Sharing

Let me be super clear: I am not against skill shares AT ALL. I think it’s a great way to build community, get in some practice time, and learn some new variations or moves! Where it gets sticky (rosin-y?) is when I get a situation like this:

 Nebuchadnezzar, Moonstar, and Jane are my students. They begin training together in their free time.

 Jane: “Hey, Moonstar! How do you do that thing you just did? The one with the leg and the twirl and the booty-scoot?”

 Moonstar: “It’s easy! You just….”

 Next week in my class…

 Miss Laura: “Nebuchadnezzar! Jane! WHAT are you doing with your back knee?”

 Jane: “Oh – we learned this variation from Moonstar!”

 *Facepalm*. Well, those crazy kids also just picked up Moonstar’s bad habit of bending her back leg! Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Bad habits spread like viruses. Make sure you’re not picking up any bugs that we’ll spend the next 6 months exorcising out of you! 
  • Mentally Purell by getting to class often so your coach can dose you with some tough love if you need it.
  • Students are students for a reason. Keep in mind that this person may have exactly NO IDEA what they’re doing, or how to spot you! Play it super safe, or you could wind up with a concussion to go with your fancy new move.

The Win/Win of Aerial Skill Sharing

 Skill shares work best when students have a solid foundation of basic technique, and are working at an intermediate/advanced level. You can pick up some great variations, and collaborate to create sassy new moves! It can also be fantastic to have that extra set of eyes to tell you in real time when you’re softening your knees, sickling your feet, or doing that weird head-jerking thing you picked up from Nebuchadnezzar. 

 If you’re a beginner going to a skill share, don’t get so share-y. Take this opportunity to work on your form (have someone yell “FEET!” every time your toes go soft), or get really inspired by the cool stuff you’re seeing. Desperate for something new? Too bad. You have to walk before you flip! BUT, go ahead and make a note of things you want to learn – you’ll get there sooner than you think! 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.

 

Are You Risking Your Life for a Drop?

And kind of a lame drop, at that? This, Dear Danglers, is a video posted by Ms Rebekah Leach on how a drop called “The Kamikaze” could leave you paralysed, or worse. This is one of several drops I do not teach because I consider it TOO RISKY – it’s just not worth it. Rebekah writes,

 

“The Kamikaze Drop is one of the most dangerous drops there is on fabric. If you do a double crossing and you do the second crossing incorrectly, then it undoes the first one and you will come right out of the drop. This is what has paralyzed one aerialist (from the waist down), and injured several others. The reason I am talking about it today is that it is described in Kayla Dyches’ book “The Aerialist’s Companion,” which was initially published in 2011. In her book, there is no mention of what makes the drop safe/unsafe. She has mentioned that this is a formatting oversight and she is working to correct the issue in the book. But for anyone who purchased her book prior to January 2013, they will not be informed about the danger of this drop.- DO NOT attempt the Kamikaze Drop or do so with the utmost caution knowing exactly how to protect yourself from doing it incorrectly.”

 

Friends, remember – learning aerial skills from a book or a video is a recipe for injury. Please pass this on!!! Many thanks to Rebekah for making and posting this incredibly important video. 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.

 

Be Very Afraid: How Fear Makes You a Better Aerialist

Blog Confession: I have a lot of fears. I have a fear of falling and getting badly hurt, a fear of being run over by my German wheel, a fear of Brussels sprouts (they are EVIL), the list goes on and on. Is there a time when fear in aerial work actually increases your awesomeness potential? Let’s discuss.

 

The “Let Go” Guy

I had a student a few years ago, let’s call him Sam, who had zero fear. I mean zero. Zero fear, zero hesitation, and zero natural normal totally healthy instinct for self-preservation. He would get into the air, maneuver into whatever position we were working on, and then just LET GO, or something equally ridiculous. He was super fun, but I had to wear Depends to every class because he made me pee my pants each time he went up. Eventually, I had to stop teaching him because his lack of fear made him wildly unsafe.

 

Healthy Fear versus Uncontrolable Terror

A little fear in the air keeps you safe. Having a healthy respect for heights, correct rigging, and the aerial acrobatics themselves is a GOOD THING!!!!

There is a recent trend in aerial training, in which a teacher has a student get into the air, then instructs them to let go and fall, all in the name of “getting over your fear of falling”. Allow me to be candid: this is wildly stupid. Hear me now, peeps – I WANT you to have a concern about falling, the same way I want you to have a concern about electrocuting yourself, stabbing yourself repeatedly in the eye, or getting a venereal disease. If your class is raining students, time to find another instructor – yours has probably taken one too many blows to the head as they were “getting over their fears”.

Your fear becomes way less of a good thing when it’s crippling, keeps your from progressing, or is just making you miserable (please believe me – I know from whence I speak). If this is something you’re struggling with, here are a few things to try:

  • Go slooooooooooooooooowly. Almost every move under the sun has a way to progress inch by inch.
  • Identify the scariest part, then assess with your coach whether it’s a reasonable fear or not. For example, I was worried about rolling over my leg during a move in wheel class yesterday, until my instructor pointed out that it was physically impossible unless I lay on the floor and deliberately had someone repeatedly roll the wheel over my leg. Fear gone!
  • Share your fears with your teacher, your classmates, and anyone else you know will be supportive; it’s a little less scary when everyone is chanting, “ROCKSTAR! ROCKSTAR! ROCKSTAR!”

 

In closing, please know this: your fears are fine. Your fears are normal. Your fears are reasonable. You CAN do aerial work with a fear of heights, or a fear of falling, or even a fear of Brussels sprouts. We work with them (the fears, not the Brussels sprouts), and eventually they diminish or change.  So own ‘em, state ‘em, appreciate ‘em, and then whoop their asses (well, just enough so they know who’s boss). Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

If you like this post, share it on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days!

 

Gently Used or Badly Abused? What You Need to Know Before Buying Used Equipment

So. Your best friend’s aunt’s veterinarian’s beautician has a cousin who does some aerial stuff. He’s looking to sell some equipment he no longer wants, do you want to buy it? Um, no, friend, you do not. I don’t care if he’s selling 25 swivels for a dollar. Say it with me: no. NOOOOOO.  Here’s why.

 

You Don’t Know Where That Thing Has Been!

The number one reason not to buy used rigging or equipment is that you don’t know its history. Variables such as weather, light or heavy use, improper maintenance, whether it’s been involved in an accident, and a host of other things affect the strength and integrity of the goods. When I buy new, I know exactly what I’m getting – and I just can’t get enough of that new trapeze smell!

Seriously – someone’s hairy boyfriend could have rubbed his sweaty body up and down that equipment, licked it, frolicked nekkid on it, thrown it off a cliff, and YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW. I’m just sayin’.  It could have happened.

 

I’m Going to Sue You And Laugh All the Way to the Bank

It’s one thing to buy equipment for you; it’s a whole other ball of wax to buy equipment with the intention of teaching (torturing?) other people on it. Aside from the shady ethical issues, the liability is a whopper. If there was ever an incident, and your tush was dragged into court, they would want a solid history of that rigging. If they find out you bought it second hand… well, just don’t drop the soap.

 

The Exception to the Rules

Goodness, I hear you! Deep breath. I know most of us have bought used stuff, and there is always an exception to the rule. Here are mine:

  1. I will purchase gear from professional, certified riggers I know and trust. If, for example, Tracy Nunnally from Hall Associates Flying Effects tells me a piece of equipment is sound, I’m good with that. He knows rigging (and the care and inspection of said rigging) better than I could ever hope to.
  2. For personal use, I’m OK with easily inspected equipment from people I work with closely (steel rescue 8’s for example).

Bottom line? If you don’t know how to inspect it (for realz inspect it, not just look at it, turn it around a few times, stretch it, or thwack it), or there IS no way to properly inspect it, then buy at your own risk. Stay safe, peeps, the world is a better place with you in it and intact. Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

If you like this post, share it on Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days!

 

 

Circo- Masochism – How Much Pain is Too Much?

Me experiencing some Pinchy Pain in a wrist hang at a recent event!

This week’s blog post goes out to Bethany (HOLLA!), who asked a really great question: how much pain is too much? For those of us who fold ourselves in half backwards or hang by one toe for a living, this is definitely a gray area (one of 50 shades of gray, perhaps?). So, how do you tell the difference between “pinchy pain” and “oh-my-gosh-my-ankle-is-being-separated-from-my-body” pain? How much of a masochist do you have to be to succeed in circus?

Pinchy Pain – Circus Hurts

Pinchy Pain is the sensation that accompanies most of the cool stuff in circus – single ankle hangs, toe hangs on trapeze, wrapping your leg around your head four times, etc. It can be intense, but beyond a little bruise or “apparatus hickey”, you shouldn’t be doing significant damage to your body. How do you get past it so you can smile at the audience instead of grimace?

  • as you’re transitioning into the pinchy part, BREATHE. It doesn’t get better if you hold your breath, because now you’re suffocating AND getting a bruise. Let’s not compound our pain.
  • understand that there’s a point at which the pain doesn’t get any worse, when it becomes tolerable. When you hit that level, lean into it.  (**a note for the ladies: your experience of pain intensity will vary week by week during your cycle, so something that feels Too Painful one week may be much more manageable the next)
  • RESPECT YOUR LIMITS AND INSIST THAT YOUR COACH RESPECT THEM AS WELL. I cannot overstate this. It’s your body, and if it breaks, you’re the one who has to live in it. So if your coach is pushing too much, you can say something along the lines of, “Wow – that’s intense! I’m going to work up to that!” Then back off to a level you’re comfortable (well, slightly uncomfortable) with.

Eventually, that toe hang that felt like it was severing an artery doesn’t hurt anymore, and you can move on to the next thing. Your coach will likely warn you if something’s gonna hurt, so check with him or her if something is super ouchie and you’re not sure it should be. Circus hurts, but it doesn’t hurt forever.

 

Damaging Pain – You Didn’t Need That Kidney, Did You?

Damaging Pain is exactly what it sounds like – pain that is warning you of significant damage to your body (sprains, strains, tears, serious bruising, breaks, bad burns, tendonitis, etc).  Pain is your body’s way of setting boundaries; it’s kind of like your body’s “safe word” – there’s a warning, then there’s the no-go zone.  It goes without saying that you want to avoid Damaging Pain whenever possible – you don’t get a gold star for injuring yourself. A little bruise or callous rip is one thing, chronic tendonitis or bruised kidneys is something very different. It can take some time to discover exactly what those boundaries are for you, so until you’ve got a good sense of it, play it safer.

  • you can feel sore in the days after a class (especially early on), but you don’t want to feel broken
  • beware of burning, grinding, sharp, or tearing pain
  • when in doubt, BACK OFF. If you take one thing from this post, let it be that.

 

At the end of the day, you’ve got to find that sweet spot between pushing your boundaries so you can grow, and taking care of the only body you have. You have to KNOW your body, and circus is an amazing place to learn that. Be safe, and I’ll see you in the air! Love and pull-ups, Laura

 Photo: Alejandro Garcia

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!

 

DIY FAIL: How NOT To Learn Circus From YouTube

Baby steps, yo.

This week, fellow (kick-a$$) aerial instructor Adam Woolley rocked the blog-osphere when he posted a thoughtful and well-written entry on the growing number of aerial tutorials available online (if you didn’t see it, click here – it’s a MUST READ). Adam brings up some fabulous points, and, since we’re all talking about it, I figured I would add my two cents. Wondering how to use YouTube and other online resources to further your training? Read on, Dear Dangler!

The Hunger

You’re hungry for training – I get it, I’m there right now with my wheel stuff. I will be the first to tell you that I’m a YouTube junkie – aerial and German wheel videos are like crack to me. Also? Oreos, but that’s another post entirely. I spend at least 20 minutes a day glued to YouTube, combing videos for performances and moves I like and want to steal learn. BUT – there’s a big difference between appreciating performances/variations and using video as a substitute teacher. There’s a period of time as a student where you’re just learning how your apparatus works; it’s not just a series of tricks that you’re filing away, you’re actively figuring out how to drive this thing. A wrong turn could leave you with an unspeakable wedgie, dislocated shoulder, broken neck, or worse. So, how should you use all this readily available info? With caution, friend.

How To Endanger Your Life 101

  1.  Watch videos and online tutorials.
  2. Go into the studio and try to recreate what you saw (or think you saw) on your own. You’ll earn yourself a Darwin Award.

Be Smart – How To Use Online Resources To Further Your Aerial Training

  1. Watch the masters. What is it about their performance that is so captivating? Do you see things you would like to learn? Make a note of them.
  2. Work on the material with your coach. NOTE: Do not bombard your instructor with endless links (we love them, but there are only 24 hours in a day), or bring a list of 50 things you would like to work on in a group class – most of us plan our sessions ahead of time with the group in mind. Feel free to make requests, but save the big list for a private lesson.
  3. Take careful notes in class, observe your fellow students, and video yourself if your instructor allows it. Trust me – you’ll learn more about your performance watching yourself than someone else!
  4. Soak it all up. Read the blogs, expose yourself to tons of sources, and always ask yourself who’s doing the talking. Also? Question everything.

 

So, watch til your eyeballs fall out! Get inspired and all revved up. I love knowing what my students would like to work on, but it’s also worth mentioning that any good coach has a methodology to their teaching. There is a real and important progression to aerial work – a good foundation is essential, and there’s no way of getting around that. So yes – tell your coach you eventually want the triple, but understand that there are a lot of things you’ll need to master before you get there.

Big thanks to Adam Woolley for very frankly and candidly addressing this – don’t forget to read his post. And don’t fall on your head. 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.

When The Moon Is In Aquarius (And Other Signs It’s Time To Buy Your Own Apparatus)

This past Sunday, several NYC aerial teachers (myself included) met to catch up and get hammered have a little dinner. It was the usual stuff – eating tortilla chips, moaning about insurance premiums, and arguing about whether that move is a Jesus Front Handspring or a Dive Between (it’s totally a Jesus Front Handspring – thank you, Bobby H!). BUT – one thing that we all agreed on? There’s a little issue that needs to be addressed across the board: students wanting a Ferrari one day out of drivers ed.

…?…

Patience, Grasshopper, Patience

Here’s the thing. I know you’re hooked on aerials. I KNOW you’ve just found the thing-you-love-more-than-Damon-on-The-Vampire-Diaries (if you don’t know who I’m talking about, see below. You are welcome). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting your own silks/trapeze/lyra/German wheel, but you’ve got to be smart about it. I’m talking to beginners here – advanced students & professionals have been around the block a few times and are seasoned enough to do their own thing. Fledgling aerialists, here are some things to consider:

  • Many teachers and studios will happily rent space and equipment to you, and many even offer open workouts. This is awesome, folks! You get to “play the field” as it were, and practice in a safe environment. WIN!
  • Do you really know what you want yet? If you’re going to invest $400+ in equipment, you may want to test drive a few models first! You will also need to learn how to rig it safely in your rehearsal space. Get an idea of what feels fabulous for you and go from there!

 

It Takes A While To Get Your Learner’s Permit

After the soreness has worn off from your first few classes, you may find yourself itching to practice what you learned. GOOD! Ask your teacher to let you know when he or she thinks you’re ready to train outside of class, and keep the following in mind:

  • For basic beginners, you need to be able to execute a few moves before you train aerials outside of class, even in an open workout: proper mounting and dismounting of your apparatus (if you have to get a running start to get on a trapeze, this is not you), and basic inversions with no spot needed.
  • You also have to know what you don’t know – don’t be The Let-Go Guy! I had a student a few years ago who regularly made me pee my pants with anxiety; he would get into a perfectly safe position, and then let go for absolutely no reason! Nice guy, but he thought he knew WAY more than he did. The lesson here, Grasshopper, is to work moves you understand completely when you’re training out of class – this is not a time to try that twirly thing you did once two weeks ago. Don’t make your poor teacher wear Depends.
  • Never – and I mean NEVER – practice alone. Ever. Professionals don’t even do this. This is one of the (many) reasons I strongly discourage folks from installing rigging in their own homes. If a catastrophic accident were to occur, no one would be there to help you. Do. Not. Do. It. (Lawzy, it’s a post all its own!)

 

There’s no rush! Take some classes, learn some tricks, move on to open workout, and one day, Grasshopper, it will be time to…(… wait – what do grasshoppers do?  Jump at people unexpectedly? Splat on your lawnmower? ….hmmmmm, I’ve written myself into a literary corner….)… it will be time to, er, buy your own apparatus! And because you waited until you were able to make an informed choice, it will be so much more awesome. Now, speaking of awesome, some Vampire Diaries for your viewing pleasure (again, you are welcome). Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

 

 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days!