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Forums » Smalltalk » AMA: Aerial Hoop and Pole Instructor

Hi everyone, and welcome to my little book!

My name is Anne, though I usually go by Lilac online :)
In my daily life, I am wrapping up my sabbatical year, before starting medical school in February. In that sabbatical, I have worked as an Aerial Hoop and Pole instructor.

What is that?
Aerial Hoop (also known as Aerial Lyra, Cerceaux or Aerial Ring) is an apparatus that resembles a hula hoop. The diameter varies depending on the performer’s height and preference. The hoop is suspended from the ceiling, and an acrobatic choreography is performed in/on/around the ring. It can be used static, spinning, or swinging. There are many tricks and poses, requiring different levels of strength and flexibility.

Pole and Poledance combines choreography and acrobatics on a vertical pole. Arguably one of the more controversial aerial arts, Pole also combines strength, flexibility and flow.

Granted, I teach way more Aerial Hoop classes than Pole classes, but I would love to answer the questions, you may have. I do, however, ask that all questions are asked with respectful curiosity :D

I look forward to your questions, and thank you for your time! <3
Cass Moderator

This is awesome! I have really, really really wanted to learn this but based on where I live -- nothing is close by for lessons, instruction, classes, etc.

What is your recommendation for someone who is super interested and wants a starting point, but without the ability to go in-person to classes?
Kim Site Admin

The one time I took a pole class, I bruised the everloving heavens out of my inner thighs -- does that ever stop? Do you just learn to ignore the pain? Do you get some kind of inner thigh calluses that take the pain away?
LittleLilac Topic Starter

Cass wrote:
This is awesome! I have really, really really wanted to learn this but based on where I live -- nothing is close by for lessons, instruction, classes, etc.

What is your recommendation for someone who is super interested and wants a starting point, but without the ability to go in-person to classes?

Hi Cass!

Thanks a lot for asking - I feel that your question is very important to ask for those, who might not have access to in-person training.

In-person training can be very hard to come by - especially in these times. However, I would always recommend it over any other type of training.

The most important thing: Safety first.
Never practice without a spotter present.
Never practice without a mat.
Never rig your apparatus from something that isn’t checked by a professional (this ESPECIALLY applies to structural beams and trees).

If the apparatus is hard to come by (it can be pricey), I would recommend looking up exercises targeted towards core strength, upper body strength, flexibility and flow. Try looking into floorwork choreographies on YouTube, too, and practice those until you can get your hands on a hoop or a pole :)

I hope my rambling answer satisfied your curiosity XD

Have a lovely weekend!
LittleLilac Topic Starter

Kim wrote:
The one time I took a pole class, I bruised the everloving heavens out of my inner thighs -- does that ever stop? Do you just learn to ignore the pain? Do you get some kind of inner thigh calluses that take the pain away?

Yeah, that’s pole for ya XD

I get less bruises now than in the beginning, but it hasn’t stopped fully. The hoop is wrapped in tape to avoid sliding, so they get very calloused.

My pain tolerance has definitely gone up, too. Some tricks are still rather painful, but it is manageable. Intense pain is usually a sign that something might be wrong, and you should maybe re-position slightly. Just a little wiggle can do wonders! :)
Gab

This seems really interesting! I have to ask; what inspired you to become an Aerial Hoop and Pole instructor?
LittleLilac Topic Starter

Gab wrote:
This seems really interesting! I have to ask; what inspired you to become an Aerial Hoop and Pole instructor?

Hi Gab!

It was actually not something that I planned on doing. I’ve done hoop for almost 5 years now, and when my instructor became pregnant last year, she asked if I would be interested in helping her demonstrate tricks/poses. That quickly turned into me teaching classes on my own, and eventually I became part of the instructor team, and began teaching pole as well :)
Have there been any scary moments where equipment has malfunctioned or broken while you were on it?
LittleLilac Topic Starter

MissPixie wrote:
Have there been any scary moments where equipment has malfunctioned or broken while you were on it?

The equipment itself has luckily never malfunctioned on me, but the rigging has.

We had one incident (when I was a student), where someone had used the equipment (without anyone’s knowledge or permission) and left it up. My instructor thought that one of the other instructors had put it up to be helpful, so we didn’t double check the rigging (BIG mistake. Always check the rigging!)

Long story short, as soon as I go to invert and mount the hoop, the rigging malfunctions, and I am left on my bum, on the crash mat, with a hoop in my hands. No injuries, but now the hoops are locked away and can only be used for classes.
I'd love to try pole, I hear there's nothing better for A+ abs >_>

But I'm worried I'm not strong enough to even start. Like - I can't do a pullup or anything like that.
LittleLilac Topic Starter

Claine wrote:
I'd love to try pole, I hear there's nothing better for A+ abs >_>

But I'm worried I'm not strong enough to even start. Like - I can't do a pullup or anything like that.

It really does hit the abs!

I get this a lot, when people contact us for a trial class. I totally understand the worry and the need to have some kind of ‘basic’ strategy down before you start working on the apparatus.

However, most places that offer Pole, also offer beginner classes. These have focus on building strength, increasing flexibility, and getting you in a shape that’ll eventually allow you to move on to more advanced tricks.

So: Don’t let your worries stop you from trying out pole, if you really want to do it! You will learn so many things about your own strength and elegance, that you never knew before! <3
I'm plus size and interested in aerial - and have been told that a lot of studios have a weight limit and aren't plus size friendly. Is the weight limit true, and do you have any advice on finding instructors/studios that are all-body friendly?
LittleLilac Topic Starter

MercyInReach wrote:
I'm plus size and interested in aerial - and have been told that a lot of studios have a weight limit and aren't plus size friendly. Is the weight limit true, and do you have any advice on finding instructors/studios that are all-body friendly?

The weight-limit is true. The apparatus have special weight limits to ensure proper safety, and the instructors also need to be able to safely spot you, in case of a trick going wrong.

That being said, I find that very many studios are all-size friendly. I would either message the studio when booking a trial class, or check if they have it listed somewhere on the webpage.
Just bought my first hoop and silk for practicing at home and outdoors! :D

Do you have any recommendations on how to hang the hoop? I’m pretty sure that the ceiling is concrete. ^^’

I can also see that we have the same native language, so I wonder if we’ve ever bumped into each other at a session somewhere :D small world!
LittleLilac Topic Starter

Penholder wrote:
Just bought my first hoop and silk for practicing at home and outdoors! :D

Do you have any recommendations on how to hang the hoop? I’m pretty sure that the ceiling is concrete. ^^’

I can also see that we have the same native language, so I wonder if we’ve ever bumped into each other at a session somewhere :D small world!

What a small world! <3

Congratulations on your equipment! Please consult a professional if you try to rig your hoop at home. You need to make sure, the rug can carry not only your weight, but also the force your generate when performing dynamic tricks (rolls, slides, drops, beats and such). If you can’t find a strong enough place in your home, companies like x-Pole make portable rigs (called A-frames). Having one of those also makes it possible to bring your hoop and silks with you in the summer :)

I have also been allowed to rig my hoop at balance bars in school gyms. Places like Fitness World or CrossFit gyms might also have places from where you could rig it :)

Fly safe! <3

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