As aerialists, we have all been in the exact same spot at least once: our first class. Do you remember the fear, excitement, and anticipation you felt that first day?
Looking back, there are a few things I wish someone would have told me when I started my aerial career. Now, whenever I get the question, "Is there anything else I should know before my first class?" this is how I will respond. And to all of you thinking of starting circus in some way, shape, or form -- from silks to straps to lyra and beyond - I want you to know this:
Anyone can do circus, but circus isn’t for everyone. If you work hard enough, are willing to put in effort, you will be able to do things you never thought possible. If you give into your frustrations you will not have fun. Some days will be hard. Some days you’ll try and try and get nowhere. Other days, things will just click. Don’t get frustrated. Don’t give up. Be willing to put in the effort and be willing to repeat skills and motions until you get it. You will get stronger. You will get better.
It’s a common saying, because it’s true: Circus hurts. The first few classes you will feel sore in places you didn’t know had muscles. You’ll get some bruises. Your foot will hurt. Your hands and forearms will hurt. BUT, it will go away. Quicker than you realize. If you can fight through the frustration and pain, circus will become an amazing release. You’ll feel senses of accomplishment that only compare for me to when I’ve summited a mountain. You’ll face and conquer fears. You will come out better in some way, shape, or form. Circus is hard, but it’s absolutely incredible.
If you have seen a circus act or seen aerialists in your community, their grace and seemingly effortless way they perform may have you dreaming of being a performer. Remember, anything worth doing is worth doing right and perfect practice makes perfect. Your first class may have you doubting you will ever be graceful or able to fly. But if you work hard, fight through the pain and frustration, and believe in yourself, you CAN get there.
And beyond anything: Be patient and make sure you find a a qualified, experienced instructor who can push you to do your best, without putting you in danger. We all want to learn the more incredible skills but must remember that safety comes first. Everyone is different and learns at different rates. Take the time to gain a strong foundation as an aerialist, don't be in a rush, and you will be amazed at what you can do.
Enjoy your time in the air, I know I do!!!