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 four 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.
If you already know the basics of aerial silks (French climb, Russian climb, double and single footlock, straddling up from the ground) and static trapeze (pike, sitting, standing, birds' nest) the 6pm Friday mixed ability classes ages 12+ will be suitable for you.
If you're a complete beginner aged 12-18, teenager beginner/improver classes are on Saturday at 2pm in Harpenden, while adult beginner/improver classes are on Saturday at 4.30pm.
Teenager intermediate/advanced classes are on 4.30pm on Saturdays (held alongside the adult beginners, although the groups don't mix apart from the warm-up/cool-down). Pre-requisites for these classes: aerial silks - competent at French and Russian climb, able to invert in the air multiple times without assistance, catchers, hip lock. Static trapeze: able to hold front balance, star back balance, inverting in the ropes, solid gazelle.
Aerial yoga classes for adults are also mixed ability but are suitable for complete beginners.
Private lessons for ages 5-70 are also available - please contact us if you would like to book one.
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.
£16 for the Friday sessions (90 minutes) or £85 for a block of six paid in advance (with an expiry date of 60 days from day of purchase).
Our Saturday teenager/adult classes (90 minutes), and Sunday and Monday children's classes (1 hour), can only be bought in half term blocks; classes cannot be bought individually or transferred to Fridays.
Taster sessions (1hr and 15 minutes) are £10 and must be booked in advance.
Aerial yoga classes are £15 a session, £75 for 6 or £110 for 10. These don't have to be attended consecutively and have no expiry date.
To book a place, please click here.
To book for aerial yoga, please click here.
To book a place in an aerial class, please click here.
If you have bought 6 Friday classes, please be aware that you still have to redeem your code or email address against the weeks you want to attend. Simply buying the package does not book you onto classes. These packages have an expiry date of 60 days from day of purchase.
For half-termly blocks, simply buy the package - you then don't have to do anything else other than turn up and get going! Unfortunately, we cannot refund you, transfer your class, or give you a discount for weeks that you can't attend for any reason.
For the classes that can only be booked on a half-termly basis, we do try and give 'first refusal' to those already attending our classes - so if you see that a class you'd like to do isn't available to book on the website, that means it's fully subscribed. In this case, please email us to register your interest and so we can put you on the waiting list.
To book for aerial yoga, please click here.
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 for ages 7-11 at The Grove Junior School in Harpenden, every Sunday from 11.30-12.30 and Mondays from 5-6pm. These classes can only be booked on a half-termly basis - see other FAQs for more info.
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.