Whether you’re brand new to circus arts or you’re a seasoned student, you might have some questions about proper aerial class etiquette. Is it really a big deal if you’re a few minutes late? Is the dress code strictly enforced, or is it more of a recommendation? We’ve put together a simple guide to help you navigate your way through these and other important questions, so that you can spend your class time focusing on nailing that new skill rather than worrying that you’ve somehow stepped out of line. Look out below for part one of our etiquette guide, and tune in next week for even more tips.
We live in Austin, so we know that traffic is a beast. Your regular commute to the studio sometimes doubles in length for no obvious reason, and now you’re going to be late to your aerial class. What should you do? Call the studio (safely!), and let the front desk know about the situation. While the late arrival policy might differ from studio to studio, the reason behind it is the same: we want you to be safe, and being safe in the air requires a proper warmup. If you miss the warmup, some studios might let you warm up on your own and still join the class, others might give you a short grace period, and some might not be able to accommodate you. Again, they are all looking out for your well-being and focusing on the safety of all students. At Sky Candy, if you arrive within 15 minutes of your class’s start time, you’ll join in when you get there (though you might expect some extra burpees to ensure you’re nice and warm!). If you miss the 15 minute window, you’re welcome to stay and observe the class, so you can see the material, but you won’t be able to participate. If you think an exception is warranted, you can always request one — just don’t be surprised or upset if the studio chooses to stick to their stated policy. After all, they put that policy in place for a reason!
No-Show News is Good News!
One breach of etiquette is sure to ruffle your instructor’s feathers: if you can’t make it to class, please let us know. Call the front desk, cancel through the app, send a carrier pigeon — we don’t care how you do it, just let us know when you won’t be there. This is especially important for private lessons and drop-in classes, where you might be the sole reason your teacher is headed to the studio, but it’s a good policy for series classes too, just so your instructor knows what to expect and can plan accordingly. We get that life happens — you wake up with the flu, an important meeting gets rescheduled, your body or your brain is just screaming for an impromptu rest day — and we can serve you better when you keep us in the loop!
Make Like a Scout
Come to class prepared! Make sure you’re ready for whatever your instructor chooses to challenge you with. That means arriving well-hydrated, with your (non-glass) water bottle, so you can continue to replenish fluids during class. Ideally, you’ve eaten something recently, so you’re not in danger of low blood sugar fuzzing up your brain and body, but you haven’t just downed a rich, four-course meal that will leave you feeling lethargic and possibly nauseated. And of course, there’s no alcohol or other substances in your body that could jeopardize your safety.
Dress to Impress
Another important part of preparation? Your clothes! Most aerial studios provide guidelines on what to wear — if you’re new to the studio or to a particular apparatus, we recommend sticking to the dress code! It’s there primarily for your safety and comfort, and to ensure your success. For example, silk burn on bare legs is no fun, so we recommend pants in silks class. Pole, on the other hand, demands bare skin for stickiness; you’ll have a hard time executing climbs and other skills without shorts. Once you understand the reasons for the dress code and determine your own level of comfort, you might (with studio permission) make some adjustments. For example, even though it’s recommended that backs of knees be covered in trapeze class, some students are more comfortable in shorts and don’t mind (or feel) any extra discomfort. There’s no safety issue here, so it should be fine.
Keep It Classy!
A few things to think about when you’re in class: first of all, this is your time, so use it wisely. Warmup, conditioning, and cool down are important parts of class that prevent injuries and increase strength and flexibility (helping you nail that big important skill you’ve been drooling over). Don’t skimp on them. Pay attention to your instructor, even when the lyra class across the studio is learning some super cool distracting spinny thing. Don’t attempt to teach or correct your fellow students — that’s your instructor’s job. It’s confusing enough when you’re upside down and backwards; only one voice should be telling you what to do next. Stay present, even when it’s not your turn on the apparatus — there’s much to be learned from watching how other students execute a skill, and a big part of class is celebrating each other’s accomplishments. Be there for your classmates when they nail something new, and commiserate with them when none of you is able to do the thing . . . yet. And remember, some days are not your day. It’s totally fine (and expected) that you’ll have an off day, be tired, be cranky, etc. Try not to take it out on yourself (or your instructor), but don’t stress too much if you’re not all sweetness and light 100% of the time. We’ve all been there, and we’ll all be there again — it’s part of the circus journey!
We’ll talk more about how to deal with training highs and lows in future posts. In the meantime, we hope the guidelines above will be helpful to you as you make your way through your first (or fifteenth or fiftieth) circus class. Come prepared, dress for the skill you want, and keep your eyes on the prize. See you in class!