What does an aerialist do?

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What is an Aerialist?

An aerialist is a performer who uses various apparatuses to perform acrobatic maneuvers and dance movements while suspended in the air. Aerialists use a range of equipment, such as aerial silks, aerial hoops, trapezes, and ropes, to execute dynamic and daring moves that often require incredible strength, balance, and flexibility.

Whether performing in circus acts, theatrical productions, or live shows, aerialists captivate audiences with their breathtaking displays of artistry and athleticism. Their performances require intense physical training and a deep understanding of their equipment, making aerialists some of the most skilled and daring performers in the entertainment industry.

What does an Aerialist do?

An aerialist up in the air using silks.

An aerialist uses various apparatuses to execute complex, gravity-defying moves. These moves can include flips, drops, spins, and poses, often done high above the ground. The aerialist's performance is often choreographed to music, and they may perform alone or with a partner or group.

In addition to performing, aerialists spend hours practicing and training to perfect their skills and maintain their strength, flexibility, and technique. They must also have a deep understanding of their equipment and be able to inspect and maintain it to ensure it is safe and secure for use.

Types of Aerialists
Each type of aerialist requires different skills, training, and equipment, but all share a common passion for performing daring and beautiful feats in the air. There are several types of aerialists, including:

  • Aerial silk performers: Aerial silk performers use long, flowing pieces of fabric to perform intricate and graceful movements in the air.
  • Trapeze artists: Trapeze artists use a horizontal bar that is suspended in the air by ropes or cables to perform swinging and acrobatic movements.
  • Aerial hoop artists: Aerial hoop artists use a suspended circular hoop to perform acrobatic movements and spins.
  • Aerial rope performers: Aerial rope performers use a thick, vertical rope to perform acrobatic movements and climbs.
  • Corde lisse artists: Corde lisse artists use a thick, vertical rope that is wrapped in a protective covering to perform acrobatic movements, climbs, and drops.
  • Aerial straps artists: Aerial straps artists use two long, hanging straps to perform acrobatic movements and spins.
  • Aerial pole artists: Aerial pole artists use a vertical pole that is suspended in the air to perform acrobatic movements and spins.
  • Aerial net artists: Aerial net artists use a large, suspended net to perform acrobatic movements and drops.

Typical Day
The day-to-day routine of an aerialist can vary depending on their employment status, performance schedule, and training goals. Here is a general idea of what a typical day might look like for an aerialist:

  • Warm-up and Conditioning: Aerialists need to maintain a high level of physical fitness, strength, and flexibility to perform safely and effectively. They often begin their day with a warm-up routine that includes stretching, strength training, and cardio exercises.
  • Equipment Inspection and Setup: Before performing, an aerialist must ensure that their equipment is safe and secure. They inspect and set up their apparatuses, such as aerial silks or trapezes, to ensure that everything is in good working order.
  • Practice and Rehearsal: Aerialists spend a significant amount of time practicing their moves and routines to perfect their technique and ensure they are ready for their performances. They may practice solo or with partners, rehearse choreography, and work on specific skills.
  • Performance Preparation: When a performance is scheduled, aerialists typically spend time preparing for it. This may include reviewing and refining choreography, testing equipment, and rehearsing in the performance space.
  • Performance: On performance days, aerialists arrive at the venue early to prepare their equipment, test their apparatuses, and rehearse one last time. They then perform their act, often several times per day, before returning home or to their training facility.
  • Recovery and Rest: After a long day of training or performing, it's important for aerialists to take time to rest and recover. This may include stretching, icing any sore muscles, or taking a day off to let their bodies heal.

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What is the workplace of an Aerialist like?

The workplace of an aerialist can vary depending on their employment status and performance schedule. Here are some of the most common settings in which aerialists work:

  • Cirque du Soleil or Other Performance Companies: Many professional aerialists work for companies like Cirque du Soleil, which produce elaborate, large-scale shows featuring aerial and acrobatic performances. Aerialists in this setting may spend several months or even years touring and performing in various cities and countries.
  • Theaters or Dance Companies: Aerialists may also work in theaters or with dance companies, performing in shows or productions that incorporate aerial work. They may perform as part of an ensemble or as a soloist.
  • Theme Parks or Cruise Ships: Some theme parks or cruise ships employ aerialists as part of their entertainment offerings. In these settings, aerialists may perform several times per day for large audiences.
  • Fitness or Training Facilities: Aerialists may work in fitness or training facilities that offer aerial classes and workshops. They may teach classes or provide private training to individuals who want to learn aerial skills for fun or fitness.
  • Freelance or Self-Employed: Some aerialists work as freelancers, booking gigs and performances on their own. They may perform at events like weddings or corporate parties, or they may work as street performers.

The workplace of an aerialist can be exciting and varied, but it can also be physically demanding and require significant travel. Aerialists must be able to adapt to different environments and perform in a range of settings while maintaining a high level of physical fitness and technical skill.

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