History of Aerial Fitness
The origins of Aerial Hoop are unclear, but it has been mentioned in mainstream circus performance since the mid-2000s, having been performed in Cirque du Soleil's Varekai show, which has toured internationally since 2002. It is a suspended steel hoop, much like a hula hoop, but rigged by one or two points and may have evolved from the high wire and trapeze swinging acts, which in turn came from gymnastics and acrobatics.
The aerial hoop (also known as the lyra, aerial ring or cerceau/cerceaux) is a circular steel apparatus (resembling a hula hoop) suspended from the ceiling, on which circus artists may perform aerial acrobatics. It can be used static, spinning, or swinging.
Aerial hooping is a beautiful art form. Due to it’s popularity, many gyms and fitness clubs now offer courses incorporating a hanging metal hoop. One of the oldest and most respected forms in the aerial tradition, aerial hoops help graceful performers create stunning displays of skill high above the stage.
However difficult it may sound, aerial hoop is just as accessible to those without any prior dance or circus backgrounds, as with any sport or fitness regime, tuition can be tailored towards an absolute beginner. Instructors have often trained with establishments such as NICA or with another aerial arts company or circus school and have other dance and fitness backgrounds.
Aerial silk (also known as aerial contortion, aerial ribbons, aerial silks, aerial tissues, fabric, ribbon, or tissu, depending on personal preference)[wikipedia] is a type of performance in which one or more artists perform aerial acrobatics while hanging from a special fabric. Performers climb the suspended fabric without the use of safety lines, and rely only on their training and skill to ensure safety. They use the fabric to wrap, suspend, fall, swing, and spiral their bodies into and out of various positions. Aerial silks may be used to fly through the air, striking poses and figures while flying. Some performers use dried or spray rosin on their hands and feet to increase the friction and grip on the fabric.
The three main categories of tricks are climbs, wraps and drops. Climbs employed by aerialists range from purely practical and efficient, such as the Russian climb, to athletic and elegant tricks of their own, such as the straddle climb. Wraps are static poses where aerialists wrap the silks around one or more parts of their body. In general, the more complicated the wrap, the stronger the force of friction and the less effort required to hold ones-self up. Some wraps, such as the straddle-back-balance, actually allow performers to completely release their hands. Foot locks are a sub-category of wraps where the silks are wrapped around one or both feet, for instance an ankle hang. In a drop, performers wrap themselves up high on the silks before falling to a lower position. Drops can combine aspects of free fall, rolling or otherwise rotating oneself before landing in a new pose. Preparation for a drop can make for a pretty wrap, but the ultimate goal is the fall rather than the pose. Of the three trick types, drops require the most strength, and are also the most potentially dangerous. Rosin (dry or mixed with rubbing alcohol) is employed to help performers maintain their grip. Aerial silks are a demanding art and require a high degree of strength, power, flexibility, courage, stamina and grace to practice.
A trapeze is a short horizontal bar hung by ropes or metal straps from a support. It is an aerial apparatus commonly found in circus performances. Trapeze acts may be static, spinning (rigged from a single point), swinging or flying, and may be performed solo, double, triple or as a group act. It is officially the last performance of the circus.