We’re gearing up for the start of another Sky Candy series – our first at Springdale General! While we’re looking ahead to a brand new series, we’d like to address a question we frequently get from students: when will I be ready for the next level?
Let’s Talk About Levels
In case you’re new to the Sky Candy series class system, here’s how it works. Most students without previous aerial experience start in an intro-level class: Intro to Silks and Hammock or Intro to Trapeze and Lyra. These Intro Series last four weeks and provide a foundation for safe aerial progression.
Items like proper shoulder position, engaged knee hangs, and basic aerial vocabulary are all part of our intro series curriculum. Many students are able to master the skills by the end of a single intro series, in which case they will advance to Level 1 in their chosen apparatus. However it is not uncommon for a new student to be asked to repeat an intro series in order to fully achieve the foundational skills necessary to advance.
Most major Sky Candy apparatuses offer Levels 1-4, and some even go up to Level 5. You could consider Level 1 to be beginner, Levels 2-3 intermediate, and Levels 4-5 advanced. As students advance, the skills become more challenging and take more strength to perform.
The amount of material also increases – there’s only so much we can safely teach a student at the beginning of their aerial journey, but there’s a whole slew of intermediate-level skills. Finally, expectations become higher. It may be acceptable for a new student to bend their knees or tag in an inversion, but by the time you’re taking advanced level classes, we expect clean, straight-legged inversions.
So Why Haven’t I Leveled Up?
Here are a few reasons why your instructor may not have recommended that you move up to the next level yet:
- It’s your first (or second) round in your current level. With the exception of Intro, it is unusual for students to move up after just one series. Even if you are the strongest, hardest working aerialist to walk through our doors, we just can’t teach you everything you need to know in six weeks. And even if we could rush through the curriculum, that’s not what we’re about. We take things slowly, break them down, drill the basics until you can do them in your sleep. We want you to really learn these skills and progressions, not just do them once and check them off the list so you can move on.
- You’re not strong enough – yet. There’s no shame in this. We all come from different starting points and progress at different rates. If you don’t meet the strength requirements for the next level, it’s okay. We’re not holding you back to be mean or to punish you – we’re just trying to keep you safe. Attempting to perform a skill you don’t have the strength for can lead to serious injury. We want to be sure your body is ready for the demands a more advanced class is going to put on it.
- You’re not retaining the material. To advance, we require students to be able to execute the current level’s curriculum without prompting or cueing. This means that when we say “Get into Mermaid”, you don’t respond with, “I’ll know it if I see it!” We need you to be able to recall and perform moves cleanly from memory, so that in the next level when we say, “This move starts out of Mermaid”, we’re not met with a bunch of blank faces, and have to hold up class time reteaching. If you have trouble remembering the material or the names of skills from week to week, take video. Keep a notebook. Make aerial flashcards. Practice the skills in Open Studio. Do whatever you have to do to make sure the information sticks.
What if you feel you’re meeting all the requirements but still not moving up? Talk to your instructor to see what you’re missing. If possible, email your instructor rather than asking them during or after class so that they have plenty of time and advance notice to fully address your concerns.
Above all, be patient. Focus less on your class level and more on the progress you’re making. You’re continually getting stronger, learning new skills, finding that older skills come more easily, and having fun – that’s what matters most!