Aerial Instruction Level 1

BEGINNING BASICS AERIAL FABRIC ACROBATICS® CURRICULUM LEVEL 1

SAFETY FIRST AND ALWAYS

  • Check your rigging
  • Remove all jewelry (including rings, watches, and earrings) before working on the fabric
  • Never practice alone – have a spotter handy
  • If you are tired: Stop
  • If you feel something is painful: Stop
  • Correct shoulder positions and core conditioning essential
  • Practice all wraps low to the ground, before doing them high up
  • Talk through all parts of a trick out loud
  • Breathe out more than in
  • Make sure you have enough distance between yourself and the floor

STRENGTH AND AWARENESS KEEP YOU SAFE!

All poses can be done in ceiling heights of 13’ or higher
Linking your movements in a small routine is the goal.
All positions can be used in combination to make a routine.

Disclaimer

Not all exercises are suitable for everyone and this or any exercise program may result in injury. To reduce the risk of injury, never force or strain. Because of individual differences in physical conditioning, consult your doctor before attempting these routines or any other fitness program. If you experience any pain or discomfort during these routines or any other fitness program, you should stop and consult a physician.

Use product only as intended and demonstrated herein.

The creators, producers, participants, and distributors of this program disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the exercises demonstrated or the instruction and advice expressed herein.

CONDITIONING ON THE FLOOR

Goal: To warm up the spine, shoulders, and work on foot, ankle, and leg articulation.

Spine Roll Ups

Goal: To warm up the spine and core.
Laying on the floor with feet standing hip width apart, push feet against the floor, rolling up one vertebra at a time. Breathe at the top, then roll down, one vertebra at a time. The more slowly this is done, the better. Next, roll up and tip one hip to the side then the other. Finally, roll up and lift one leg off the floor, pointing the toe as if it is being pulled from across the room. Try not to let the hips shift when lifting the leg. Hold briefly and then roll down and do the other leg.

Toe Dips and Arm Arc

Toe Dips

Goal: To warm up the core muscles not to have the toe reach the floor.
Laying on the back lift both legs up at 90 degrees, dip one toe down then the other, and your pelvis should remain stationary.

Arm Arc

Goal: To warm up the spine.
Laying on your side, knees at 90 degrees. Stacked on each other move the arms forward, then over your head, tracing the fingers on the floor, keeping the knees together. The goal is to have all parts of your spine participate as you twist to the side. Try to keep your hand on the floor. If you are extremely flexible, you can lay on a raised surface and do the same movement, tracing your hand on the floor and keeping your knees stacked on each other.

The Plank

Goal: To engage the core.
With body in a push-up position,resting on the elbows not hands, keep body straight like a plank, holding for a count of 10 and then drop the knees to rest. The hips should be in line with the shoulders, not higher or lower. Do five repetitions if possible. Then in the plank position, isolate the shoulder movement, holding the rest of the body as still as possible, bring the shoulder blades together and then move them apart. Drop the knees to rest, then go into the plank position and tip the hips back and forth.

Mermaids

Goal: To engage the core.
In a seated position, leaning back on the elbows, with core engaged, draw feet up towards the ceiling. Make sure the pelvis does not tip, forward or back as the legs are raised. Point the toes. Body should be in a “V” position. Lower legs to the floor, just as far as the pelvis does not tip. Then reverse the movement and start with the legs up to the ceiling and lower them down towards the floor, go just as far as the pelvis does not tip. Do at least three repetitions in each direction.
This movement helps the body understand how to keep the core engaged in an unstable environment like the fabric.

Shoulder Rolls

Goal: To warm up the shoulders, neck, arms, and hands.
Roll shoulders back and forward together and one at a time. Then swing arms backwards as if swimming in the crawl stroke, then forwards adding both arms together and then swim both backwards. Roll head around to relax neck stretch hands pressing each hand back and then bend towards chest twisting the hand.

Breathing

Goal: To re-oxygenate the blood.
Breathing out more than in is important. Keep the jaw relaxed. Breathe in and hold the breath for a count of five, five times.

Seesaw Breathing

Breathe into the upper part of the chest then into the belly. While holding the breath, move the air between the upper chest and the belly, as if it is an elevator for as many times as possible. Then let the air out. This will allow the body to fully rest.

Rosin Application

Goal: To help hands grip more firmly.
If hands are smooth and dry then rosin is helpful, in humid climates or if skin is moist, then rosin is not as necessary. Mix rosin and rubbing alcohol or use as a powder. Apply a small amount on hands and on feet on the instep and the top of the foot making them sticky.

CONDITIONING ON THE FABRIC

Make sure lat muscles and core are engaged for all conditioning.

Taffy Stretch

Goal: To stretch the sides, stomach and back.
Holding the fabric in front of the face, reach around from the outside as if hugging it and then bring hands through the center. Hands are above the head. Wrap hands one more time around for a secure grip. With the shoulders down, lean forward rotate around to stretch stomach side and back pivoting around in a circle, feet remain in the same place.
Taffy Stretch Second Part
Reach through the center and around the outside. With hands down, hold the fabric. Shoulders down and back with arms straight and wrists straight. Lift feet off the floor and hold in position.

Pull Ups

Goal: To hold to a count of 10.
Raise hands above head, wrap the same as the Taffy Stretch, around the outside and into the middle of the fabrics, then wrap hands one more time. With shoulders down, lat muscles engaged, core engaged, pull up and hold counting out loud to make sure to be breathing. It is important to learn how many counts can be held before working up high on the fabric.
If you cannot do the pull up, take weight off legs and hold position.

Hangs

Goal: To determine dominant side.
Fabric is on the side of the body. Reach above head, grab the fabric, it does not matter which hand is on top bring feet off floor and hold weight briefly, shoulders down, core engaged. Do both sides. One side will be stronger than the other; this will be the dominant side.

Separating the Fabric and Climbing

Goal: To keep fabric separated to prevent fumbling to find the center.
Grasp fabric with hands in the “OK” hand sign so that the index finger is in between the fabric. Climb once with index finger between the fabrics. Do a single foot lock. Keep index finger between fabrics when wrapping the foot lock so the fabric can be opened easily for the poses.

Basic Climb

Fabric in the center of the body, wrap the fabric around one foot once, flex the foot. Step with the other foot on top of the fabric and the flexed foot. Pull first then wrap, then step.
Reach up again and pull winding foot up along fabric, then step on flexed foot. Shoulders away from ears, with the core engaged. Breathe out with every climb up.
To Come Down: Cross legs, squeeze thighs, come down hand over hand, one ankle over the other, in a controlled descent.

Inchworm Climb

Utilizes Leg muscles more than arm muscles. Hold fabric in front of face in a strong grasp. Draw one foot up to body as close as possible, wrap fabric around foot and flex the foot. With other foot, step on top in a crouched position. This is a rest position. if the feet are held tightly together. Then stand up. Reach above head, grab fabric, draw leg that is wrapped in the fabric up towards the body, Step on it with the other foot and stand. Keep the foot flexed, squeezing feet together.
To Come Down: Hand-over-hand, thighs squeezed, one ankle over the other. No dropping down. No sliding down, which can burn hands or feet.

SINGLE FOOT LOCK

Preparation on the Floor:
When on ground, do leg circles, with knee bent at 90°.
Circle foot towards the standing leg, point the foot through the bottom of the circle and flex through the top.
Articulate the ankle.
On the Fabric:
Fabric is on the inside of the body, and on the inside of the thigh, the leg circles once as in the climb, then circles one more time. Reach above head, lean back with straight arms, take free foot and push the fabric under the heel to the instep or arch of the foot. Pull to upright or standing position.
To Come Out: If low to the ground, step back, raising leg to 90°, point foot so fabric comes off the heel and the front of the foot or the toes. Let the fabric fall from the foot Shaking the foot or stepping back not forward can result in getting stuck in the foot lock. If stuck, rest, breathe do not flail or kick Take weight off foot by climbing, Then repeat the lift of the knee to 90°, Point the toe, so the fabric can fall forward from the foot.
Make sure you are breathing out more than in.

SINGLE FOOT LOCK POSES

Dragonfly

Grasp fabric above head, shoulders in between the fabrics, Thumbs down, Shoulders in front of the fabrics Lean forward and raise the free foot with toe to knee in a “stag” position Arch back for pose.
To Come Out: Put hips in middle of the fabric then bring shoulders behind so fabric is in front of the arms.

Running Pose

Arms and shoulders in front of fabric, hips and free leg behind the fabric. Shift weight back so there is space between thighs and fabric. Grasp fabric in front, by the thighs, lean back into the armpits with arms in a “T” position and shoulders down and away from ears. Push front leg forward and sink back into armpits with free leg in arabesque position.
To Come Out: Be sure to hold onto fabric with at least one hand as weight shifts back to center. Reach above head, one hand at a time and shift hips to the middle, fabric is on each side of the hips, shoulders are behind fabric so it is in front of the armpits.

Teeter-totter Splits

Bring body so both strands of fabric are on the outside of both hips. Sit down, crossing the free leg over the leg that is in the foot lock, sit with fabric closer to knees than hips. If it is closer to the hips you can lose the foot lock. Remember to keep the foot in the lock flexed or the lock will come undone. Holding fabric at the level of the ears or hair line, straighten the locked leg so it is parallel with the ground, push hips up, arch back, head back, and place free leg with toe to knee in the stag position. If the hands are too low, it is possible to flip over. Keep the locked leg straight on this position.
Precaution: This trick needs to be spotted. The spotter needs to lift the hips from below.
To Come Out: Return back to sitting position, or keep locked leg straight and come to a standing position.

Twirly

The fabric needs to be running up the midline and up the spine. This is a resting pose before starting the Twirly. Hold the fabric that is in front of the face with both hands at the level of the nose. Lean out towards the free leg with straight arms, take the free foot up and over the fabric being held with the hands, push the fabric down the locked leg from calf to ankle. Don’t push the fabric off the ankle or the foot lock can be lost. Continuing in same direction, pull the body up onto the strand of fabric being held. Do this motion a second time. Keep the locked foot flexed and the leg straight. Pose with the hands free from the fabric and the fabric running up the midline of the body. Let go of the fabric only after a balance point has been reached. The free foot can be in a stag position, or straight back.
To Come Out: Hold the fabric in front of the face at the nose level. Swing the free leg up and around once and then twice.
Precaution: In all foot lock poses: Keep the locked foot flexed
If you lose your lock just come down and start over.

Side Stag

Hold both fabrics together in front of the face. The free leg will come up and in front of the pole of the fabric, cross at the knee so the foot is pressed against the thigh of the leg with the locked foot. Reach above the head with the opposite arm from the locked leg, straighten arm. For a more horizontal pose, lower the handhold. This is a resting pose.
To Come Out: Allow weight to shift back to the center and come back to a standing position.

Tornado — Done on the Ground

Standing in between the fabric, hold at the front edge of the back fabric and the outside edge of the front fabric. Spin to create a tornado effect with the fabric.

Angel Swing — Done on the Ground

Working from the floor, stand in between the fabrics, put them in front of the shoulders, cross the fabric behind the back for the first wrap. The second wrap is across the ribs, then cross behind the back for the third wrap. Pull the fabric tight, holding both tails, take the weight off the feet to spin and swing.

SLIP KNOT POSES

From the slip knot all the single foot lock poses can be done, remembering that the foot is not locked.

Tying A Slip Knot

Wrap hand around fabric making a loop, reach through the loop and grab the tail of the fabric. Pull tail through the loop. The knot can be adjusted to be high or low.
To untie: Pull the each of the tails apart.

Metamorphosis

Stand with one foot turned out slightly, standing right on the knot. Hold onto the edges of the front fabric, have a good grip, lean forward with body pressed against the fabric for a half cocoon. Rotate body to one side of the fabric still holding onto the edges, lean out for the pose, then pull the body back into the center of the fabric.

Slip Knot Straddle and Stag

From sitting, move so the knot is at the middle of the back, lean back into a straddle position.
To Come Out: Slide fabric to thighs to come back to seated position.

Stag Position

From straddle arch the back, bend one leg. The straight leg is in an arabesque position. Hips are facing the ceiling. Do both legs.

Half-in-Half Out

From the straddle position, thread one leg through so the lower leg is in front of the fabric in a bent position, one arm stays on the front of the fabric the other behind, allow weight to settle into the pose weight is held in the armpit, across the back and in the knee of the bent leg. With fabric on the side of the neck, cross straight leg over bent leg for the basket pose.
To Come Out: Free leg uncrosses, unthread other leg, lean back, then come back to a seated position.

In the Moon Also Called Man in the Moon or Woman in the Moon

From the seated position, turn to face one of the fabrics, the fabric will be running up the center of your spine. Cross one leg over the other for the pose. Do both sides.

The Coffin

From a seated position, have one hand on the back fabric, the other hand on the front fabric, take the top leg and put the foot against the fabric press out, lift the hips, let the head come to one side of the fabric, push the shoulder into the fabric and the foot into the fabric, raise hips for the pose.

Angel Poses

From a straddle, thread one leg through, holding the fabric above the head, arch body out.

Cocoon

Take the outside edge of the front or back fabric, spread the fabric apart, put your shoulder into the fabric that is spread apart, bring your body so it is resting inside of the fabric, this can be done standing or sitting have the fabric around your back first, then work with the front fabric, move different parts of the body out of the cocoon.

The Iron Cross and Stomach Balance

Iron Cross

From seated position, slide down to shoulders so arms are in a “T”. Slide out to the ground to end a routine or lean back to straddle back into the slip knot.

Stomach Balance

From straddle, hold with both hands to one side and pivot hips around so the stomach is on the knot. Lift chest up, grabbing fabric high and arch for the pose, keep legs together.

Finish this level of the curriculum by building a small routine.

Goals for your routine:

– Graceful transitions
– Build in rest poses
– Continue to explore new transitions, and practice with a partner!
– Make all movements seem effortless and fun!

By repeating your basic routine, each time you practice, your stamina, grace, and style will increase!

Remember: Progress Builds from Practice, Experimentation, and Working Together.

Advance to Aerial Fabric Acrobatics Level 2 Instructional Information.

CONDITIONING NOT FEATURED IN THE LEVEL 1 BEGINNING BASICS DVD
SOME MOVEMENTS ARE IN THE
AERIAL FABRIC ACROBATICS CONDITIONING COMPANION DVDS

SPINE WARM UP
Pelvic Clock
Laying on back on floor or mat:
Roll pelvis up with lower back pushed against floor
Then arch back tilting pelvis back
Tilt back and forth several times and then allow back to come to neutral position, neither arched nor flat.
This is “Neutral Spine”
Roll pelvis around an imaginary clock face.

Rock Up
Holding knees
Rock back and forth with lower back against the floor
Rock up to balance with arms out to the side, legs straight, at a 45-degree angle or more

Tail Wag
Pelvic Tilt on Hands and Knees
Arch the back, dropping the stomach towards the floor
Round back up to ceiling
Wag hips like a Dog wagging its tail
Roll Hips in full circle really arching and rounding the back
Do a few repetitions

Child’s Pose
Stretching arms out in front on the floor
Curl into a ball and stretch lower back

Cobra stretch
Stomach on floor, gluts relaxed, arch up, look up
From Cobra Stretch
Shoulder Blade Isolation
Goal to feel shoulder blades gliding over rib cage
Raise head so you are looking straight ahead and
Lift head to ceiling as if someone is pulling head up with a string.
This is a small motion to find awareness in the upper most neck vertebrae
Repetition of five

CORE CONDITIONING

Bicycle Crunch
Lat muscles down, feet in opposition, head and shoulders off the mat, belly button pulled to spine
Arm Pit to Opposite Knee.
Do 10 slowly

BACK STRENGTHENING

Airplane
Lay on stomach
Arms stretched out to your side like airplane wings
Hands face forward
Head is down on the mat or floor
Lift shoulders and arms a few inches off floor
Engage your mid back and lat muscles

STANDING LAT IDENTIFICATION

In all standing positions:
Keep belly button pulled in to the spine
Rib cage funneled
Shoulders down and back
Pelvis in neutral position
Knees not locked, Head relaxed

Goal: To pull the shoulders down by using the back muscles.
Shrug shoulders up to ears, then drop down, and back, as far as possible. Notice the difference between having shoulders up near ears and pulled down away from ears
Roll the shoulders forwards and back, then swing the arms as if doing a forward and back “crawl” swimming stroke.

Beach Ball/Orange Squeeze/Waiter
Goal: Use the back muscles to move the arms.
Arms outstretched in ballet second position pretend to be holding a beach ball with the little fingers
Rotate arms; pretend to be squeezing oranges in armpits and carrying a tray like a waiter

STRETCHES

Lunge

Toes under, hips square, hand on knee, straighten front leg for ham string stretch with foot pointed and flexed
Hold for a count of 3 to 5 then switch legs

Splits

Hips square, hands holding weight off of floor
Do not force, do both sides

Straddle

Feet flexed or pointed, belly button to floor not shoulders or nose
Do not force

LEGS CIRCLES (Rond de Jambre en l’Aire)

Hold onto a support
Raise outer leg to front at 90 degrees and turn out in a passé position
Extend leg and circle towards body with a pointed toe
Pointing through the bottom of the circle and flexing at the top
Circle the foot while also rotating the lower leg
Do both feet. Articulate the ankle.
This action is used when doing footlocks and climbing.

Foot Warm Up

While sitting with one leg over the other trace alphabet with foot, slowly. Both feet are as important as your hands and need to have awareness. Also, practice Plie and Relevé from ballet to warm up ankles and feet.