Aerial fabrics and ropes

Aerial silks/fabrics/tissues
One of our favourites. Two lengths of fabric are hung from a ceiling to allow the performer to climb, wrap themselves into poses and perform drops.  It became more well known after that BBC ident back in 2002.

Cocoon/aerial sling/swing/hammock
Similar to aerial silks, except that both ends are fastened to the ceiling leaving a big loop to play with.  Good for beginner aerialists as it provides more support than aerial silks and allows time to build up strength and confidence.

Rope/corde lisse
Similar to aerial silks, a single rope is hung from a ceiling to allow the performer to climb, wrap themselves into poses and perform drops.  The rope is not the same as the one you had to climb as a child in school; we promise it is much softer.

Static cloud
Similar to rope, but it's rigged from two points instead of one to leave a U shape to play with. You can do drops, rolls, slides and poses.


Take a look at this awesome silks video from Paper Doll Militia.

Other aerials

Aerial hoop/lyra (and variations)
Another firm favourite.  A metal hoop approximately 1m in diameter is suspended from a ceiling either by a single or double point fixing.  Tricks can be performed with a static or spinning hoop.  Variations on the shape keep appearing.  We've seen cubes, spirals and even hearts.

Aerial straps (or simply "straps")
Two material straps (usually with loops at the end for the hands or wrists) are suspended.  Various shapes, rolls and manoeuvres can be performed, either whilst the straps are still or are being moved up and down.  Beautiful to watch and a huge amount of strength required.

Bungee trapeze
Quite honestly the most fun we've ever had.  You are in a harness with bungee cords and the trapeze is very high up.  You can come off the trapeze bounce, flip around and re-catch the trapeze.

Flying trapeze
This famous circus act involves jumping off a small platform high in the air to catch a swinging trapeze or other performer hanging from the trapeze.  That'll get the adrenaline pumping.

Spanish web
A rope with a loop is rigged from the ceiling.  One person spins the rope at the bottom and another performs tricks using the loop for hands, feet or neck.

Static trapeze
A popular choice for beginners as well as a great opportunity for doubles work.  A bar is suspended by two ropes from the ceiling. Tricks are performed on and around the bar and ropes whilst the trapeze remains relatively still.

Vertical dance
Rock climbing equipment is used to suspend you off the ground onto a vertical surface to perform a dance.  Stunning to watch and so much fun to try.


Flying trapeze from Stardust circus.


Take a look at this vertical dance video from the dance troupe Bandaloop.


Chinese Pole
A vertical pole where acrobats climb, slide down and do other tricks.  It is different to pole dancing as the pole is much thicker (approximately 5 - 8 cm) and is often covered in rubber for better grip.  You need to put extra layers on for this one to avoid those friction burns.

Hand balancing
The feat of balancing on your hands, sometimes on specially made stands, but often on anything you like.  It is simply mesmerising to watch.

Russian bars
A flexible pole is held and guided each end by a single person, whilst a third performs acrobatic tricks on the bar.  A bit like a cross between a gymnastics balance beam and a trampoline.  Seriously impressive stuff.

Teeterboard/Korean plank
A teeterboard looks like a big see-saw and you jump on the end to perform somersaults and other tricks to either land back on the board or jump off.  Timing is everything with this one.  It looks seriously cool but is very tricky.


Take a look at this awesome teeterboard video from Aces of Acts Entertainment.


Other circus arts

Cyr Wheel
A large single steel or aluminium hoop you can stand in and spin round to do lots of tricks.  Seriously cool.

German Wheel (or Rhönrad)
A wheel consisting of two circles connected by six spokes (a bit like a hamster wheel).  There are three different sorts of tricks; straight line (when you stand in the wheel to perform tricks), vault and spiral (spinning on one rim like a coin).  The wheel has straps for your feet, but you have to actively point your feet to avoid falling out.  That's one way to stop those lazy points!

Hula hooping
Hula hooping is usually to music, often with multiple hoops and involves rotating the hoop around various parts of the body as well as many other tricks.  This is your childhood hula hooping with the technical ability turned up to the max!

A classic skill which never ceases to be impressive.  Typically you start practising with rings before you move onto balls, clubs and then more dangerous objects like knives and fire.


Think you know hula hooping? Think again... take a look at this video of Lisa Lottie.