Reader Questions: How to rock an aerial silks performance

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Courtney said,

Hi Sarah! I love love love your site! I have been doing aerial silks for about a month and a half. We are having a student showcase and I have decided to take the plunge and perform a routine in the silks instead of the knot. I learned my routine a few days ago and I still have yet to get through it. I have like 2 weeks to perfect this. I am super nervous but I know this is something I want to do. Any advice on how to push through the fear and frustration and rock this thing?

Thanks for your question Courtney! Every couple months we do a showcase at our studio and I make it my mission to con one of our newer students into performing.  (I’ve already located my target for our June showcase :)

They always say they couldn’t possibly do a whole routine, they don’t know how to string moves together, they’d be too scared. And I tell them, you CAN do a routine because I’ve watched how strong you’re getting in the air, I know how to string tricks together and I will help you build a routine, and performing is not as scary as you think.

I’m sure like our studio, yours is just as supportive and everyone is excited to cheer each other on. So I will give you the advice that I give my students to convince them that performing is a good idea :)

First, I would never tell a student who physically wasn’t ready that they should start building a routine. So already, you’ve got the confidence of your instructors behind you.

Second, you don’t need to have 15 movies and a be in the air for 10 minutes and execute everything flawlessly. If you are only able to get through four tricks, then slow them down and lengthen the transitions in between. Take out any tricks that aren’t going well and replace them with ones you’re sure you can execute.

Third, if you are finding that you’re losing stamina or strength in the middle of your routine you can start some extracurricular work at home. Pull-ups, push-ups, ab workouts and cardio (P90x is my fave) are all good to keep you conditioned for aerial. Also consider moving tricks around so you’ve got the ones that take the most energy at the beginning and simpler tricks toward the end.

And lastly, don’t forget – the main point of a student showcase is to show off your skills and have FUN, so don’t take it too seriously! An aerialist who is into what she’s performing even if it isn’t perfect is much more entertaining than a technically perfect performer who looks bored or strained. Do the best that you can and be proud for getting up there in the first place!

Good luck!! I’d love to see some pics or a video of the final product :)

Jenna said,

Hi Sarah! I’m still rather new to aerial and I find myself running into the problem where I can’t focus on a single apparatus. I’m thinking it would be better to focus on one or two max and be able to really pick up some skills rather than hopping around all the time. How long would you recommend focusing on a single apparatus before letting yourself switch to another? Any tips or tricks to keep up the skills for the old apparatus while you’re working on learning a new one? Plus bonus question! Which apparatus is your personal favorite? Thanks!!

Hey Jenna! At our studio we start students on silks and trapeze to get them comfortable in the air and then work on silks, trap, hammock and lyra in level 1, focusing on two apparatus per week. I like switching between apparatuses for beginners because you use different muscle groups and skills for each.

So I suppose it depends on what your goals are - you could hang out and have fun learning all of them, become super skilled on just one, or switch apparatuses every week to become well-rounded.

I always recommend students keep a list of the tricks they’ve learned and allow them to take video and photos during class, that way when they train on their own time they don’t forget all the tricks they learned months before.

Bonus Answer: I’ve always loved the lyra. It’s not as strenuous as climbing silks over and over and I’ve got a mega love for spinning and posing in precarious looking-positions. Though I do love a good unsuspecting drop on silks and getting a yelp out of someone in the crowd :)

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