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Category Archives: Supplies

DIY Ice Packs for the Sassiest of Aerialists!

What you’ll need!

… and, you know, anyone else who needs ice packs. SO. A dear friend had a slight shoulder dislocation this past week, and, being the Florence Nightengale that I am, I went to buy them an ice pack. Know how much they were? A reusable shoulder ice pack with a holder was – brace yourself (get it?? BRACE?! HA!) – $20. I’m sorry, are you KIDDING ME? Those of you who have ever seen me tear through CVS with my coupons and ECB’s know that I’m something of a frugal gal. So, what’s a cheapskate like me to do? Make my own durned ice pack!

I stocked up on dish detergent (on sale, of course), and set to work. You’ll need:

  •  1-2 bottles of cheap dishwashing liquid (Dawn, Palmolive, whatever’s on sale); OR, substitute a mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part rubbing alcohol
  • two one-gallon plastic freezer bags
  • an old T shirt
  • fabric glue or a sewing machine
  • (optional) scrap fabric or rhinestones to bedazzle your creation
  • (optional) elastic to allow it to stay without holding it


Almost done!

  1. Fold your bags in half, place them on your T shirt, and measure one additional inch on all sides. Mark your measurements with a sharpie, cut two (or cut 1 on the fold and eliminate step 2).
  2.  Glue or sew one long side together – this is your center seam.
  3. Bedazzle or sew/glue on your decorative fabric (be mindful not to glue rhinestones on your seam allowance!)
  4. If using elastic, pin it to the top panel, matching one of the edges with the seam allowance. Baste or glue. (if this makes zero sense, just sew or glue it on when the ice pack is finished).
  5. Fold at the center seam, and sew up one short edge and the remaining long edge.
  6. Hem the remaining raw edge if you wish.
  7. Fill one plastic bag with the desired amout of goo. Squeeze out the air and seal it shut.
  8. Double the bag.
  9. Insert into the sleeve – VOILA! Stick it in your freezer. The detergent or alcohol mixture will get cold, but not freeze solid.

ENJOY! Love and pull-ups, Laura






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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


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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!


Low, Medium, or Super-Stretch Aerial Fabric – What’s the Difference?

Hey peeps! Thought I’d share this – it’s a great demonstration of the variety of stretch available in aerial fabrics. Most of us work on low or medium stretch (super stretch feels kind of like a bungee cord, which is great if that’s what you’re after). If you’re a drop-a-holic, consider working on medium stretch; it absorbs some of the shock from the drops that would otherwise be absorbed by your body, making some drops (ankle dives or “dead man’s drop” for instance) more comfortable and a little safer. At the end of the day, it comes down to needs and preferences, so there’s no “right stretch” for everyone,  just the right stretch for the job. Happy climbing, twirling, foofing, and droppin’, ya’ll! Love and pull-ups, Laura



How to Choose a Silk Color (That Won’t Make Your Audience’s Eyes Bleed)

So many of you are about to embark on the adventure of Buying Your Very Own Fabric – congratulations! It’s very exciting! Your first choice is the color, and it’s an important one. Why, you ask? Isn’t it just a matter of picking your favorite color from a pretty swatch book and sending in the check? Well…. no.

The first thing to consider is where you expect to use it. If it’s just for your rehearsals, then go nuts and pick whatever you want. BUT, if you’re planning on using this for performance, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:

  • White and red are the most commonly requested colors. When it comes to white fabrics, it’s best to have another color for rehearsal, and to trot out the virginal yardage for performance only (unless you want to spend hours doing laundry). Keep in mind that bleaching is NOT recommended as it weakens the fibers in the fabric.
  • OY, black fabric! Emo is SO three years ago, and besides, quite a few theaters have black backdrops or curtains – you’ll be the Mysterious Floating Head from Brooklyn. In over a decade of performance, we have rarely been asked to perform on a black fabric. Get one if you really want it, but order a colored one as well to give you some options.
  • Many of your performances will involve bright theatrical lighting. That light blue fabric you paid $50 to have custom dyed? It just turned white when the spotlight hit it. Go for a richly saturated hue to reflect the light and make you POP on stage – muted colors often wash out to nothing. Unless your client is going for a very specific effect, save the pastels for rehearsal. Or Easter.
  • Great bets for performance silks: white, red, royal blue, purple, teal, yellow, green, orange, saturated pink, you get the idea.

And that’s it, folks! It surely ain’t rocket science, but you don’t want to waste your money. Choose wisely and be preeeeeeetty! Stay tuned for future posts about where to buy your fabrics, how to care for them, and whether there’s any way of avoiding that awesome “wet dog” smell during the summer. Rock on, mah peeps!