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Tag Archives: Training

Suck It Up, Buttercup! Circus Is Hard

The number one question I’m asked by new students? “What can I do to get better? I feel like it’s taking so long!” It’s a fair question, I mean, who doesn’t want to excel at what they’re pouring their hearts and pocketbooks into? But, for many, what they’re really asking is, “Why haven’t I picked this up in ten classes?” Um… because it’s difficult, Buttercup! Ask yourself: would you waltz into a ballet class, having no dance training, and expect to be turning triple pirouettes three weeks from Sunday? Of course not. Then why would you assume that you can do that in an aerial class?

Wise Saying From Laura #1 – You have to be willing to suck at first. A lot.

Perhaps it’s our culture’s growing appetite for Instant Results , or maybe spill-over from the Club Med “make a catch your first day” mentality (not knocking Club Med, it’s just a different animal altogether). Whatever it is, let me be very candid: if you want to get really good at something, whether it’s aerials or accounting, you have to work your ass off for a good long time. That girl with the beautiful lines? She’s been dancing since she was 4. That guy with the bone-crushing grip? He’s been rock climbing for the past 5 years. They’ve all put in the time, just not in my class.

Wise Saying From Laura #2 – Just show up.

I have yet to meet a student who was a truly hopeless case – just about anyone in reasonable health can become proficient in an aerial discipline. I’ve watched some students throw themselves into classes, train on their own, and fight for every victory they got on the silks. That kind of hard work inevitably pays off. I have one student who couldn’t even hold on her first class, and cried in fear the first time she did an ankle hang; she’s now performing beautiful pieces in showcases and making me proud. She showed up. She put in the time (several years, to be exact). She’s reaping what she’s sown. You will too, Grasshopper.

Wise Saying from Laura #3: It’s an awesome adventure, babe. Quit focusing so much on the destination.

Here, in a nutshell, is how to get better, and enjoy the journey.

  • quit taking yourself so damned seriously, it ain’t the Peace Corps. A light heart and the ability to laugh at yourself will make training more enjoyable (for both of us). Frustration is a roadblock, laughter is a detour.
  • be a student. Check your ego at the door, and be willing to be really, really bad at something. Think of it this way – you can only get better!
  • just show up – to class, to workouts, to your training time. I strongly recommend at least one class and one practice session on your own each week. Regular workouts can be tailored to support your air time – Pilates, deep stretching, weight training (PULL-UPS), and more can make your class time more productive.
  • don’t compare yourself with others (thank you, Miss Stephanie!!!)
  • CELEBRATE EVERY VICTORY!!! Don’t sweep it under the rug, you worked hard for it!

It’s not Insta-Aerial, ya’ll! It took me over a year of training almost every day to get to a reasonably professional level on fabrics. You can do it. Here’s what I can promise you: show up, do the work, and you’ll see results. Now, suck it up and get to class! There’s work to be done and fun to be had! And no whining. 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 posting things these days!

Tuf or Buff: How Spray Rosin Can Sabotage Your Training

I have such a love/hate relationship with spray rosin (aka Tuf Skin or Firm Grip). On the one hand, I love the awesome flypaper effect it creates when I’m performing doubles and my partner is being so inconsiderate as to actually sweat. On the other hand, I hate watching my students douse themselves in it in hopes of Velcro-ing their hands to the fabric. So, when is spray rosin a blessing, and when is it like the friend who brings over a pie when you’re dieting? Let’s discuss.


Spray rosin, mostly powdered rosin (pine tree sap) and alcohol, can be a God-send when:

  • You’re working with a partner and need a little extra grippy oomph
  • Smoke, fog, or haze will be used during your performance (this can sometimes leave a slick coating on your apparatus)
  • You’re pushing your limits of endurance in your piece, are working at altitude, or are performing multiple acts in a show and want to be conservative with your grip strength
  • It’s seriously hot or humid and you’re sweatin’ like a whore in church, causing you to slip and slide in alarming ways


When is it not a good bet? During your daily or weekly training. Two of the most beautiful aerialists I know don’t use ANY sticky stuff – not rosin, not Tuff Skin (shout out, F & J!). How is this possible, you gasp? They’ve trained their grip, pure and simple. If you coat your hands in aerial super glue, don’t be surprised when your grip is noodly. I have banned spray rosin in my class for this reason (but I KNOW some of you still use it…). The stronger your grip, the more confident you’ll be in the air, and confidence is beautiful!

So kids, the moral of the story is this: use as little Sticky Awesomeness as possible during your training – this will encourage a stronger grip. Use what you need to be safe, but actively train those fingers to hold tight. You’ll thank me one day when you can hang on to a trapeze with one finger. While sneezing uncontrollably. Over a shark tank. Booyah! 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.