I’ve been told in circus that you are either a vertical or horizontal aerialist. I am absolutely a horizontal one. I like hoop and trapeze, and struggle with silks and rope. Over the past six weeks I have taken part in the silks and rope class we run at AirCraft, taught by the wonderful Hayley Ingle (@hayleyrosanne on instagram), and I’ve learnt a lot…

Going into the classes I had a couple of goals:

  • to achieve a clean straddle invert, this is a something I have always struggled with; I find that it is a mixture of lack of strength and technique that prohibits me.
  • to become more comfortable working on silks and rope, as I find these the scariest of all circus apparatus.

Taking part in the class each week has been a wonderful experience, and I intend to carry on taking them next term (which begins on the 20th February)! Hayley is an incredible instructor, and works with each student individually to ensure they are learning at the right pace for them, and feel safe and secure in the air whilst doing so. During class we focus on a mixture of moves, some specifically for rope or silks, and others that can be done on both; which gives you the opportunity to get a feel for the similarities and differences between the two.

Over the course of the classes I have learnt a lot, a key lesson I have taken away from the class is that perseverance means progress - which makes sense, but is something we (certainly I) often refuse to believe! Aerial strength takes a long time to build, and it can often be disheartening if we feel like we are not making progress; but even in simple floor based exercises I was able to see improvement week by week, which reassures me that if I keep going I will continue to see improvements!

So how did my goals go? I did not achieve a clean straddle invert, but am certainly on my way to it. I  have been able to advance in conditioning exercises for this skill, and am seeing a positive difference in my strength in the air. I have definitely become more confident working on silks and rope - I have learnt to trust my ability as well as the equipment. The class are hugely supportive of each other, which has been a huge factor in my gaining confidence on the equipment!

If you’re thinking about trying out an aerial class silks and rope is a great option, with moves and exercises accessible to all levels of abilities, and a supportive group class environment; it’s the perfect place to start!