Open Studio Tips for New Students

If you’ve never been to Open Studio, it might seem intimidating. No instructor, no one telling you what to do, just you and your apparatus. What should you expect? Where do you even start? Don’t worry; we’ll break down all the details here, so you can walk into your first session feeling like a pro.

What Is Open Studio For?

Open Studio is a chance for current students to spend time working on the skills from their classes. It is also a time for intermediate and advanced aerialists to condition, perfect technique, and create and rehearse choreography. While it is not for absolute beginners (those who have no aerial experience or who have only taken Intro to Aerials), it is highly recommended for students enrolled in Level 1 series classes and above. 

If you are a current series student, supplementing your class time with regular Open Studio attendance can help you better retain what you’re learning in class, as well as aid in gaining strength and confidence. And while Private Lessons are a fantastic way to up your training with one-on-one attention from your instructor, open studios are a more cost effective way to get in air time out of class.

How Should I Prepare?

We strongly recommend signing up in advance. While we offer Open Studios every day, all sessions have limited space and some fill up quickly. When you arrive, check in with Front Desk. Your Open Studio host will perform all rigging changes for you.

If you need the height of your apparatus adjusted, or if you want to switch to another apparatus, just let them know. And as you will have learned in class, crash mats are mandatory.

Get Warm!

Start your Open Studio session with a full warm-up, just like in class. This means enough cardio to raise your heart rate, followed by some mobility exercises to get your joints and muscles ready to work. 

If you’re not sure what to do, try to remember your class warm-up. Roll out your neck, shoulders, and back, and take a few forward folds to wake up the muscles in the backs of your legs. Finish your warm-up on your apparatus with some shoulder shrugs, tuck-ups/ninja knees, and other basic conditioning exercises.

Have a Plan

For new students, the best use of Open Studio time is reviewing the skills you’ve learned in class. To make sure you’re prepared to do this, we recommend taking a picture of your class whiteboard each week and either writing careful notes or videoing your instructor as they demonstrate new material. 

Having a list of the skills you’ve learned, along with written or visual aids on what they are and how to do them, is invaluable when you start training on your own. Avoid the frustration of sitting around for an hour trying to remember how to wrap a figure-8 foot lock or which direction your hands face in pullover.

Safety First!

If you’re not sure about a certain skill, skip it and move on. Open Studio is not the time to take risks or make guesses. Make note of skills you have trouble with or can’t remember and share them with your instructor next week. They’ll be happy to review the material and make sure you’ve got it down. 

There is no teaching in Open Studio, and while it’s great to be inspired by the advanced aerialists around you, it is not appropriate to ask how to perform the skill you just saw or try to mimic it on your own. Likewise, attempting to try out skills in Open Studio that you have only seen online and not in class is also not appropriate.

Double Your Fun

Still not ready to face Open Studio on your own? Bring a buddy! Talk to your classmates and find a time to tackle Open Studio together. Taking turns on an apparatus is also a great way for new students to ensure they don’t get worn out too fast – you might be surprised how tiring it can be to have that trapeze all to yourself for a full hour!

Just like homework for an academic course, Open Studio is an important supplement for what you learn in class and an essential component of your training. Don’t be intimidated; you belong here, and we’re saving a spot for you.