Now don’t get me wrong; safety, even in low aerial practise is paramount. Getting a good grounding in aerial arts goes without exception and I dread to think of anyone learning alone from scratch.
But after 6 years of aerial classes, post injuries that are permanant, health conditions that have changed my strength I find myself going from website to website of classes I am defunct to from the criteria.
I long for a school that says hey your bodies crap but I’ve seen the things you can do, why dont we just lower the equipment and focus on your creativity and expression in dance over trying to find a 6 pack and toe hangs.
I have a slipped vertebrea (not a disk ) in my back, I have weak legs from a year of injured tibias, sightloss and terrified of heights. I can no long flip my feet over my head to mount aerial equipment at a reasonable height.
But I can walk in pointe shoes, do the splits and hang by my spine.
I watched a blind woman doing trapeze, I watched a woman with cerebal paulsy doing aerial straps on my tv. But everywhere I go claims that students must;
Be required to do a pull up from a dead hang.
Be under 85kgs
Not have back problems, vertigo injuries, muscle weakness.
Are not allowed if if they are on drink, drugs, havent slept or are unhappy (do you vet them on entrance? Told to me as though I was, quite insulting when I don’t even drink)
Monthly cycles will affect your strength
Students must only used equipment at the height we set. This increases at each level (so again i can do intermediate tricks but can not get actually on the equipment)
Students are not allowed to do any moves not taught by us or beyond the level of the class they are (again see brackets on last point. I would only ever be at absolut beginner level because Cant mount correctly anything higher than my head without something to lean my back against for support.
So I got adaptive and clever and learnt to rig my own contraption of silks that combined a loop hammock to support my spine yet still be able to do silks moves, not very heigh but still above ground. It made me very happy.
But that falls me into the realms of needing to rig my own equipment which quite frankly I have more chance of being Prime Minister than being allowed to do
The words at one miserable circus induction are chalked in the back of mind forever as I couldn’t see black rigging in a dark corner.
‘You need to be able to come in alone and train alone or theres no point me letting you be here.’
I was incredibly lucky to do a residency a few after at a great venue with a brilliant technician who rigged for me without telling me off and the other performers helped page back my equipment saying simply ‘it must be hard for you seeing the black ropes against the black wall, din’t worry I’ll do it’ as though I wasn’t a burden.
After all, my theatre degrees core was working together and devising together what can be done with what we’ve got whether that was trash to make a puppet or a trapeze 1m off the floor.
I’ve no interest in strength or ‘feats’ I juste want to dance off the ground in any way I still can.