What do you need before embarking on your first circus class? We’d say proper clothing, a water bottle, and a waiver. What do people think you need? That’s a very different story. If we had a dollar for every time someone told us they were waiting to take their first class until (insert excuse here), well, let’s just say we’d have a lot of dollars, and we’d probably spend them on a new piece of circus equipment. Let’s take a moment to debunk some of the common myths about what you need to do before you can successfully take a circus class.
“I Need to Get Stronger!”
What a wonderful reason to come to circus class! Many of us had very little upper body and core strength when we first started our circus journeys. Pull-ups seemed like a distant dream, and inversions looked like some sort of sorcery. It’s perfectly fine to feel nervous or intimidated when you first walk into the studio, but remember that most new students are in the same boat you are — and the experienced students clearly remember their own early days. You don’t need to get strong before trying circus. Yes, certain skills will be easier if you are stronger. Yes, coming to class will help you get stronger, especially if you supplement class time with open studio and other training. But there’s no reason to wait until you pass certain benchmarks before beginning your training.
“I’m Not Flexible Enough!”
Just like strength, you’ll gain flexibility as you train, but please don’t delay your training until you’ve got an oversplit and can sit on your own head. Flexibility is at least partially genetic and is also impacted by your job and lifestyle, so everybody is coming from a different starting point. A bendier back or more open shoulders can help improve many aspects of your life (and yes, they will make certain skills easier and prettier), so we absolutely advocate for safe flexibility training, but you don’t need to touch your foot to your head before starting circus class. Heck, you don’t even need to be able to touch your toes!
“I Need to Lose Weight!”
No. No, you don’t. Our equipment is designed to handle tens of thousands of pounds. You’re just fine. Come to class.
“I’m Too Old!”
We’ve got students of all ages training with us, including a family that spans three generations. We may make some modifications for you based on your comfort level and safety, but you’re never too old for circus!
This is one excuse we will accept. Sometimes, we have to listen to our bodies (and/or our health professionals) and allow ourselves to heal. We strongly recommend getting that tight neck or cranky knee looked at before you start your circus training. Circus is hard work and uses a wide variety of muscles — make sure yours are in good shape before you come play with us!
You don’t need to wait until you’re more this and less that. If you’ve been inspired to try circus and your body is healthy, find your local aerial studio and make a reservation for an intro level class. Then get dressed, grab your water bottle, and fill out your waiver — that’s all you need to get started.