How I prepared for my first aerial silks performance

Today I am going to be doing my first aerial silks performance. I will be doing a solo aerial silks routine at the CircoBats talent show. This post is about how I prepared for it as a first-time performer. Hopefully this post will help others get ready for their first performance too!

A photo of me getting ready for my first performance


I took my first ever aerial silks class about a year and a half ago. Since then I have seen many amazing performances by my teachers and other professional circus acts. As my own skills progressed, I thought about the prospect of one day performing in front of other people.

I kept this in mind when watching first aerial silks performances from other people and took note on what I thought worked well.  In addition, I thought about what I would like to avoid in my own debut.

These are the steps that I followed in preparing for my first aerial silks performance:

1. Choose a song
  • slow beat (I didn’t want to get left behind the music)
  • some stand out moments with a bit of pizazz
  • between 3 and 4 minutes long (I don’t think I would have the stamina to be in the air for longer than about 4 minutes at a time)
  • a song that I like and makes me feel like dancing
  • a song that I would feel comfortable performing to in front of my friends and family

I ended up choosing ‘Fallen Angel’ by Cold Chisel

2. Create an achievable routine
  • all the choreography are tricks that I feel very comfortable with (nothing new that I need to work hard to perform safely)
  • lots of rest moments where I can pose and look at the audience
  • also lots of places in the choreography where I can catch up if I need to take more time with the previous movement
  • not too many tricks jammed in together
  • not too many climbing or wrapping parts (I am not very good at making these look pretty…yet)
  • natural flow (I wanted it to look like each move made sense in its place)
  • choreography that suits the tempo and mood of the music
  • choreography that plays to my strengths (moves that rely on flexibility rather then muscle strength are best for me)

I added a lot of poses that let me rest and relied on flexibility rather than strength


3. Find a performance opportunity

It might seem strange to pick a song and a routine before finding a performance opportunity. However, I did not want to be rushed in the lead up to an event. This would not work if there was the a theme to the event.

For my first performance I was looking for:

  • a solo performance opportunity (I figured my first performance would be difficult enough without having to worry about being in time with other people)
  • a show that my friends and family could attend if they wanted to come and see me
  • a show where there is not pressure to perform perfectly

The CircoBats talent show seemed like the perfect first performance opportunity. It is a community fundraiser show that is open for all types of circus performers to take part in.

Flier for the CircoBats talent show


4. Get feedback from others

I was a little nervous about asking other people to watch my routine when it was in an unfinished state, but it was extremely valuable. Other people noticed things that I was and was not doing that I could not see.

I asked my teachers and classmates to give me constructive criticism. Through this, I found out that I was concentrating so hard on getting the moves right that I completely forgot to make any eye contact or smile at the audience.

My teacher and classmates watching to give me feedback


5. Decide to do it

I think this step was the most difficult for me. Up until the last 2 or 3 weeks before the show I kept telling people that I MIGHT be in a show. I kept giving myself an out in case I couldn’t get my routine to a place that I felt comfortable performing.

Whilst I think that it is a good idea to wait until I felt comfortable, but at some point I just needed to be brave. So I took the plunge and decided to just do it!

6. Actually tell people about it so they can come

For the last little while, when people ask me what I have been up to, mostly it is aerial shows or classes. So it will be really nice for some of my friends and family who have herd so much about it to be able to actually see me up in the air in person. I am also looking forward to having a cheer squad there, just in case I mess something up. A supportive audience can make all the difference!

7. Decide on a costume

For this performance I have gone a little on the safe side for my costume. That is because my main concern is that I want to be comfortable and feel confident in what I am wearing. I think that anything that can be one less thing to worry about tonight will be helpful. So I decided on a black leotard and some brightly coloured leggings. Whilst I love a crazy costume, I might just have to save it for next time.

‘Look At Me Leggings’ available in my online store that I will be wearing for the performance


How to have have the Most Amazing Aerial Photoshoot

This photo shows an outfit that is very similar to the costume that I will be wearing tonight


8. Practice practice practice

I was a bit embarrassed at first to put my music on at open trainings and run through my routine. It was extremely important to practice to the music so that I could get a feel for what I had to do to finish with the song. I also found it super helpful to film myself so that I could see what parts looked nice and which parts of my routine looked strange. That way I knew which parts of the routine to work to improve upon.

Photos showing me practicing at ZigZag Circus


If you are working towards your first aerial silks performance or have tips for other people who are I would love to hear from you in the comments section!