Aerial arts means using a piece of equipment that is rigged from the ceiling and hangs in the air that the performer moves on and around to create a series of movements. Equipment typically includes the trapeze, hoop, straps or silks - but can be much more diverse. Aerialists can work solo, with a partner (doubles), or even with multiple people.
Although some of our equipment rotates, and can be swung back and forth St Albans Trapeze and Aerial only offers static lessons - flying trapeze is a different discipline.
Although there are inherent risks in every physical activity, aerial is no more dangerous than many sports. St Albans Trapeze and Aerial Arts believes in the necessity of 'spotting' for beginners and for anyone attempting new moves (that means we'll be on-hand to physically support and guide you if needed) as well as maintaining proper form in order to reduce the risk of injury. We'll never push you to do anything you feel uncomfortable or unsafe attempting.
Large, thick crash mats are placed under aerial equipment, while acrobalance and aerial yoga are performed on thinner, gym-style mats.
All classes are taught by at least two teachers and we keep a ratio of at least one teacher to five students for our childrens' classes, or one teacher to seven for the 12+ classes. (More advanced students will be invited to practise by themselves at times). At least one teacher present will have first-aid training, and all the teachers have Enhanced DBS checks.
Our new venue, Grove Junior School in Harpenden, has recently been surveyed by structural engineers Austin Trueman and has been found to be safe for aerial activities.
We're not going to lie - having upper-body and core strength definitely helps! However, if you feel like you're lacking in this area, then that's all the more reason to take aerial classes. Few things are more efficient at building upper body and core strength then climbing ropes, silks and creating shapes on the trapeze - and it definitely beats doing pull-ups at the gym!
If you're still worried, we recommend taking aerial yoga classes beforehand.
It's also important to realise that aerial skills can be quite demanding at first - it's fairly unusual to be able to climb a rope on your first attempt, and even achieving the basic 'pike' position underneath a trapeze bar can be tricky. However, even if it takes a while to be able to master skills like these, just the act of trying to do them is fantastic strength conditioning.
Yes! Aching the next day (and possibly a few days after that) is completely normal. It doesn't mean you're unfit - simply just that you've given muscles that may not have previously been used much an intense workout. If you start attending aerial classes at least once a week, these aches will get fewer and farther in between as you get increasingly stronger.
You don't need to have done either aerial skills or yoga beforehand to do an aerial yoga class! Your weight isn't important either - the hammocks are rated to hold up to 500kg.
However, it does help to have enough mobility to be able to stand one one leg and raise the other to a 90-degree angle in front of you (you don't have to be able to do this with a straight leg, or be able to hold it there for any amount of time - but we do often stand on one leg and put the other foot in the hammocks, which are approximately hip-height.) If you find yourself hopping about a bit in class while doing this - don't worry! It's totally normal and all part of the process of improving strength and balance.
Please note that aerial yoga is not suitable for you if you have high or low blood pressure, glaucoma, osteoporosis, or have recently had surgery or botox.
See more details about our aerial yoga classes here.
All our mixed aerial classes are 90 minutes long. They start with a warm-up that combines cardio with dynamic yoga-inspired stretching, and then we move onto practising skills and poses on the aerial silks and static trapeze. Two or more teachers are always present to cater for differing abilities and in order to safely spot students who need it.
During the class, students are taught moves or combinations either individually or in small groups, or work by themselves on routine creation. A five-10 minute cool-down with stretches comes at the end.
We offer taster sessions on the first Sunday of every month from 11.45-1.00pm for £10 in Harpenden. These are very small classes with a maximum of 5 people so you'll get a really good taste of what aerial skills are all about. These taster sessions include a 20-minute warm-up followed by basic moves, shapes, poses and climbs on the aerial hammock, rope, aerial silks and static trapeze.
If you'd like to dive right in and do a 6-week course, we run blocks of 6 lessons designed for complete beginners and those who have been doing aerial for a little while on Saturdays at 2.00-3.30pm at The Grove Junior School in Harpenden (next block starts 28 July 2018). During these sessions, you'll learn basic static trapeze moves, inversions on the aerial hammock, and how to climb the rope and aerial silks.
The 4.30pm Saturday classes are for those at improver/intermediate level. Pre-requisites for this class are: being able to perform French and Russian climbs on rope/aerial silks; ability to create double and single footlocks; ability to hold a straddle up for over 5 seconds from the ground unassisted; and knowledge of basic static trapeze moves.
Our Friday 6.00-7.30pm sessions in St Albans are open to beginners and intermediates. No commitment required for these classes - just book on to whichever week you'd like to come along. However, we do ask that you've already attended at least 4 weeks of the beginner's classes over in Harpenden, or alternatively 4 aerial yoga classes. We can also offer private lessons (£50 for one hour long session or £85 for two sessions) to get you up to speed on the basics quickly - contact us to arrange these.
The Yoga Hall
11 Hatfield Rd,
The Yoga Hall is in between the Peacock pub and where the museum used to be. Parking around this area can be tricky - please leave time for this. Nearest public car parks are The Maltings and the Civic Centre.
The Grove Junior School
10 Dark Ln,
To get to Grove Junior School, drive all the way up Dark Lane (almost up to where it looks like a dead end), and then turn right into the staff car park (the gates will be open). The entrance to the junior school is at the front of the building, and the sports hall is on the right just after you walk in.
Close-fitting clothes are best to protect your skin and avoid snagging on the equipment. We recommend leggings that cover the backs of your knees to protect them and a top that won't ride up when you're upside down. If you want to do a lot of aerial and circus skills, it may be best to buy a leotard/unitard.
£15 for the Friday sessions or £75 for a block of six paid in advance. Our Saturday blocks are £75 paid in advance - or alternately £15 per session, but you must be able to attend at least four lessons out of the block of six. Taster sessions (run on the first Friday of every month) are £10 and must be booked in advance.
To book a place, please click here.
To book for aerial yoga, please click here.
Aerial yoga and kids' classes are also £15 a session, and again you can buy a block of 6 for the price of 5 for £75 - these don't have to be attended consecutively.
To book a place in an aerial class, please click here.
To book for aerial yoga, please click here.
Please try and book your place at least 24 hours before the class - this is so we know how many teachers to have in attendance and can plan the lessons according to abilities.
For the Friday class and both Saturday classes, you can buy 6 classes for the price of 5, which have to be used within 50 days from the date of purchase.
For the children's classes, you can buy 6 classes for the price of 5 which can be redeemed on any week your child would like to attend.
In almost all cases: no. One of our regulars, Alan, has been practising the trapeze (see him in action on our Facebook page here) for over 10 years - and at the age of 71, he's still going strong.
Far more important than age is a willingness to have a go and a determination to succeed - aerial activities aren't easy to begin with, whatever age you are, but the sense of achievement you'll gain when you first climb a rope or do an ankle-hang on a trapeze will definitely be worth it.
We currently run weekly children's classes at The Grove Junior School in Harpenden, every other Sunday from 1.45-3pm. These classes are for 7-11 year olds. Please see here for more information on our children's classes.
In our other classes, we have an age limit of 12 (exceptions are made for 10/11-year-olds whose parent(s) are also participating in the class.) We also run circus skills lessons for children on request - so if you're looking for a great, original idea for your child's birthday party, why not get in touch? (Minimum group size 4, maximum group size 14).
If you're looking an original hen night idea or a corporate team-building activity, why not try us out? We can run 1 hour to 3-hour workshops (on weekends only) with a minimum number of 4 people and a maximum of 14. Contact us for prices and times. We also run children's circus skills lessons and parties on request.
Jules Leotard, the original daring young man on the flying trapeze who popularised aerial as a circus act, would certainly disagree.
Don't be put off by the need for pointy toes and graceful movement - if you're a guy who's looking for those gains, look no further: aerial is one of the most effective workouts you can do, particularly for your lats, abdominals, triceps and quads. And we can guarantee you'll have more fun than knocking out endless sets at the gym.
Feel free to contact us about your abilities and needs and we'll see what you can do. If you want to practise on our equipment and have a skill-share with our regulars, come along on Friday evenings from 7.30pm and enjoy training in a relaxed and informal setting. Alternatively, we also often run intermediate-level workshops, which normally take place on Saturday from 6-9pm for £25.