Aerial training is expensive. There’s no getting around that. Responsible studios have to upkeep their equipment, pay for specialty insurance, pay for teachers… And all that means that classes add up too.
But there are a lot of ways that you can get the most for your money and maximize your training!
Condition at Home
This is probably the single most important thing you can do to improve quickly. Not learning a million tricks, but being strong enough to do whatever is thrown at you in class. If you ignore everything else in this post, don’t ignore this one. You will see results.
To make this easier, come up with a conditioning routine. Make a list of the body parts you want to work on (think obliques, lower abs, arms, butt…), pick one or two exercises for each, and do them at least three times a week outside of class. Work on deep stretching on the days in between.
Go to Open Gym
If your studio offers an open gym time, take advantage of it! Open gym is time offered during the week to practice what you’ve learned in class. While it still costs money, it is usually a lot cheaper than regular classes and you get the chance to practice on your actual apparatus. How to Make the Most of Your Gym Time
Take and Review Your Notes
Take notes during class! If that would distract you while you’re learning, get a notebook ready and as soon as class ends write down everything you learned, step by step. I do this after my silks class every week, and reviewing what I wrote down while it was still fresh in my head is so helpful later. I regret it when I don’t, and forget important parts of the skills. Soooooo frustrating.
Ask your instructor if this is okay, and record them demonstrating the skills. Resist the urge to ONLY get video of yourself doing things you do well (I mean, get some of those. Instagram material!). Some of my classmates will set up a phone or tablet or GoPro and record the entire class. Our silks teacher speaks and moves quickly, and it helps all of us to watch the videos several times.
Focus on One Apparatus at a Time
This one can be so hard! Some people immediately know they only want to do silks, or that lyra is the only thing calling their name. There’s nothing else in this world for them.
For most of us though (me included!), we want to learn it all. I saw the trapeze hanging while I was taking my first silks classes. I dabbled in some lyra workshops. I finally realized I needed to focus, at least at first. I didn’t have unlimited funds. The reason I don’t do lyra now? In those first few months, there were more silks and trapeze classes. I fell in love with both of those.
But even then, I tried to focus mainly on one at a time until I got comfortable. I’ve added more later, and gone back and forth throughout my almost six years in aerial. I started on silks, did trapeze almost exclusively for a couple of years, went back to silks, tried a custom spiral apparatus, then found corde lisse and fell in love all over. And I’ve finally started training silks again.
Everything relates to everything else. Just pick one for now. Train hard and get to know it well instead of spreading yourself and your wallet too thin.
If conditioning is the single fastest way to improve, I’m putting this one as the second. Take care of your body! Aerial dance is physically demanding, but so, so rewarding. Support your body so that it can support you. Drink lots of water, eat protein so that your muscles can build themselves up, don’t load yourself up on crap. If you eat terrible food, your body will not perform well. You are working hard and paying good money for class. Don’t sabotage yourself!
Besides, treating yourself well feels amazing. You deserve that.
I know that classes get expensive. I get how frustrating it is to want to be in the air every day but not to be able to shell out hundreds every month to make that happen. But if you work smart throughout the week, you will still seem amazing results in the air. I promise!