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Overcoming Your Aerial Fears

Gaining confidence in the silks.


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So you want to take an advanced level aerial class?

Master that twisty Hip Key drop that Karen learnt last month?

Perhaps you secretly dream of performing at your studios next student showcase?

But there is something stopping you. Preventing you from signing up, climbing up, stepping up to your aerial goals.

That something is fear.

Fear is not always a bad thing.

It stops us from blindly walking out onto a busy street and keeps us from swimming in shark-infested waters or from petting the feisty (but beautiful) lion at the zoo.

Acknowledging and respecting our fear as aerialists is important and necessary.

Fear of rigging failure encourages us to inspect our gear and seek answers from certified riggers.

Fear of falling causes us to double and triple check our wraps, seek out experienced instructors and ask important questions.

However, fear can also be debilitating.

The fear of not being good enough may prevent you from signing up for that student showcase or incredible performance opportunity that would otherwise have bought you tremendous joy and improved your confidence, technique and artistry as an aerialist!

Fear of that particular drop or combination that you attempted once before and it didn’t go so well, that you vowed to ‘never do again!’

Perhaps it is a warranted fear. 

Of course you can chose to never attempt the trick again (particularly if it really does cause pain or discomfort for your body) or you could book a class or private lesson with an experienced instructor who is familiar with the trick and face your fear.

We all have different ways of experiencing and coping with fear.

After a fall during a performance back in 2010 in which she was performing release moves on a Single Point Trapeze with a previous duo partner, Rachel vowed that rather then quit aerial altogether (as her fear implored her to do) she would never again perform release moves in a duo act. A promise she has kept to this day.

After experiencing intense fear while experimenting with high-level release moves (can you sense a theme here?) on rope while training in Montreal, Brett decided that he would never perform release moves in his aerial career without a mat.

At first glance these fears may seem stifling, however nothing can be further from the truth! Not only have they kept us safe as aerialists but they have also encouraged us to be more creative and explorative with our choreography and our choices rather then rely on dangerous release moves to impress our audience.

What are your aerial fears?

Can you differentiate between the valid, intelligent, necessary fears that keep you safe and those that are holding you back from your goals?

Overcoming Your Aerial Fears

1. Identify Your Fears

Write down your greatest aerial fear here:

I am afraid of ________________________________ because I think this might happen______________________________________

Would this fear have a positive impact on your life if you over came it? If so write it down. If not, move on to another fear. Keep going until you have written down and worked through all of your fears and found one of two that you are excited (or at least willing) to over come, that would have a positive influence on your life if you did so.

2. Be Accountable

Talk to a trusted friend or family member about your aerial fears and the potential positive impact that overcoming them would bring. Enroll them in your goal and ask for their support as you move forward and take action to overcome your fears.

3. Take Action

Whether it is saying yes to that performance opportunity or signing up for an advanced class or private lesson, take action towards that (positive) thing that scares you! Be sure that the action you take is in a safe and supportive environment.

4. Celebrate Your Success

No matter how small, it is important to celebrate your progress and every step forward that you take to over come fear. Go out for dinner with your aerial tribe, see a show, take a bubble bath! Celebrating makes overcoming fear all the more joyful, it also helps motivate you to keep doing it AND it builds confidence, which is much more useful than avoiding fear.

“Courage is grace under pressure” – Ernest Hemingway

Have a fantastic and courageous rest of your week!

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