How do you find a great aerial teacher? Nowadays, anyone can take a few classes, hang out their shingle, and call themselves an instructor; so how do you tell the difference between an awesome aerial coach and a sucky one? Well, Dear Danglers, that’s the question we’re diving into today.
What to Look For
Some things are non-negotiable, and some are purely matters of preference. In the non-negotiable camp:
- A professional aerial career. If no one has ever been willing to pay your instructor to perform (sorry, gotta be candid here), chances are they’re not that good. Your instructor should have “been around the block” in the biz, and have several years of paid professional work under their belt. Would you trust a dentist who no one had ever hired? Nuff said. (*** there are rare exceptions to the rule – they’re easy to spot!)
- A good reputation as an instructor. Ask around! Most aerial coaches are more than happy to give you the names of several teachers they think are excellent, and tell you why.
- A low rate of incidents. “Incidents” refer to students falling, injuries, accidents, etc. Trust me when I say that you do not want an instructor whose students routinely drop out of the sky. While the occasional injury is an unavoidable part of any physical undertaking, if your class is “raining students,” find another teacher pronto.
- Rigging expertise. Look for an instructor who regularly takes the time to educate you about rigging. You need to understand what’s holding you in the air and why – your life depends on it.
- Emphasis on safety. Practice safe silks! You do NOT want an STD (Silk Trauma/Disaster). Your teacher should carefully explain how to wrap things. OK, I’ll stop now.
- Insurance. Your teacher should be insured by a source recognized in the industry (example: ISERA). This shows a level of professional commitment, forethought, and common sense.
Now, in the “non-essential” category, here are a few things to consider:
- Pricing in line with industry standards. There’s a place for bargain hunting, but your aerial class is not it. Quit being so danged cheap! If you have most instructors charging around $35 for a single class in NYC, and one is charging $20, this should send up a big red flag. Price makes a big statement about who you are and what your instruction is worth.
- A large movement vocabulary. You want a teacher with lots to teach you. Or, train with several good coaches – this is a great way to expand your repetoire of moves and get different feedback.
- Chemistry. While technically not essential, you should have reasonably good chemistry with your instructor. Some may favor a driven task-master, some need a rah-rah coach, some like a super-technical teacher. Find someone who’s style fits with your personality.
What to Avoid Like the Plague
Well, pretty much the opposite of what I detailed above! Avoid inexperience – that teacher who’s only been studying for a year or two is NOT qualified to teach you. A poor reputation, cheap classes, students dropping like flies, all things to avoid like the plague.
Hope this helps! As always, if you liked this content, share it and add a comment below! Sign up here to get articles on aerial training delivered straight to your inbox each week.