“Aerial,” also referred to as “aerial acrobatics,” is a performance art requiring the use of overhead rigging. The first aerial act was the trapeze, dating back to the mid-1800s. Other aerial acts include aerial silks (also referred to as aerial tissue or fabric), lyra, corde lisse and hammock, among others.
Aerial has traditionally been a circus art, with rigging between the center poles of the big top. Beginning around the 1970s aerial grew into the dance ("aerial dance"), theater ("aerial theater"), and even yoga ("aerial yoga") worlds.
Aerial—and the circus and dance traditions that influence it—is rich with history. Here are a few places where you can learn more:
I’m a beginner aerial student and would like to try out performing. Where can I perform?
Talk to your teacher(s) about opportunities. Several of the aerial schools hold student shows and performance workshops.
Where do I buy aerial equipment of my own?
You can find a list of basics on the equipment page. Rigging without proper knowledge can be very dangerous—even life threatening. Please talk to an experienced aerialist and professional rigger before getting your own equipment.
Is there a place where I can practice aerial on my own between classes?
A few of the aerial schools offer open workout time. This is semi-supervised open training time. There will be a supervisor in the space at the time, but they will usually not be actively teaching or answering questions. Many open workouts are only for professionals and require pre-approval, but there are also open workouts suited for students and beginners.
Several schools will also allow you to rent a point on your own. This is unsupervised time and often requires that the renter can rig on his/her own. Contact your school or instructor to learn more about renting a point.
I’d like to be an aerial teacher. Is there a school that offers an aerial teacher certification?
There is not currently a school that offers teacher certification courses in NYC. The New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vermont offers a training program.