"This is an absolutely fantastic training opportunity and experience!!!! Rebekah and Julianna share a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and they teach and demonstrate together as if they're of one mind.....amazing! I had the experience of a lifetime when I attended the first teacher training at Marsh Studio (the most wonderful studio and its owners who are truly very special people) in May. I came away with technical incite, many more tools in my toolbox for helping and guiding beginning students, a whole new teaching approach for developing students (yeah global learning!!!), and most importantly: life-long friends and mentors. If you're thinking of doing it...don't hesitate....sign up ASAP!!!" ~ Lorraine B.
Aerial SLING Teacher Trainings
The following courses are part of the Born to Fly™ Aerial Teacher Certificate Program. All who meet the prerequisites are welcome to train with us, and the certificate is optional.
Teaching Philosophy and Methods
Aerial fabric is the most popular apparatus in recreational programs. However, starting students with climbs may not be the most accessible way to begin an aerial journey. If you teach early beginners, we highly recommend (but do not require) starting the Aerial Sling 1 Teacher Training.
In the Born to Fly™ methodology, we expose our students to fabric theory early on through puzzles and challenge their artistry through creative tasks. Our goal is to develop an aerialist’s strength, intelligence, and artistry simultaneously so nothing gets left behind. We ask students to spend more time with each skill, which allows them to build strength over a longer period of time before progressing to the next level.
"This course went beyond my goals! I was coming just to understand anatomy and spotting techniques better. I got that as well as learned a new teaching technique that I’ve fallen in love with. The knowledge you receive is well worth the money and effort put in. I felt like a better teacher the second I walked out of the studio!" ~ Chrissy R.
ONLINE Aerial SLING
Level 1 Teacher Training
with Rebekah Leach
50 Hour Certificate
-- 40 Training Hours (5 of which are live)
-- 10 Teaching Hours
$850 (plus purchase of textbooks sold separately)
START ANYTIME Aug-May. This is a self-paced training. You have one year from your start date to complete the certification, which is always optional. Just receiving the pre-recorded training videos and some live 1-1 mentorship time are worth the price!
ONLINE (Zoom) ONLY
Required Reading: Order book below.
What You Will Learn: This training focuses on Level 1 Sling skills as well as anatomy for aerial teachers, how to plan the perfect warm-up, safe practices, teaching methods, and classroom management. We strongly emphasize progressions, particularly to develop a student's first inversion. You will work with the classic sling skills as well as several skills that are helpful for proper development of aerial muscles that we’ve developed over the years.
Skills in the sling help develop foundational technique for all aerial apparatuses. We begin with basic shapes and body positions, from multiple zones of the apparatus (sitting, standing, inverting from the sacrum, etc). Clinics include spotting techniques and core engagement progressions, while discussion topics include safety, teaching philosophies, classroom management, and an open Q&A. The training concludes with practice teaching.
Audition Video: Email video here.
Connect these skills in a sequence in any order over a crash mat at least 6" thick:
Required Reading: Order book below.
What You Will Learn: At this level of sling, students should be able to perform a pull-over from standing on the ground but they may still be struggling with a cross-hip pull-over without the help of their feet pushing off the ground. So, to work on skills that encourage growth and having fun, all while sneaking in core-development training. The major skill topics covered in this training include knee hangs, cross back straddle (sling version), weaving choreography from diaper wrap, spread fabric moves, roll-ups (on the thigh), side back balance, and an introduction to corset. The technique training will include inversion training, early skin the cat training, and early c-shape training (through back balance introduction).
The technique training is PERFECT for those teaching fabric and are looking for more ways to help train students while having fun. Sling is especially perfect for fabric students who are taking a bit longer to progress than other students. Don't feel like you have to push students forward if they are not ready! Give them sling!
When I’m doing my teaching, does the student need to be an aerial newbie? Or can it be someone who already knows some aerial?
When you launch out to teach your very first aerial class, we are happy to see a variety of scenarios. Here are some ways to get your first class going:
(1) Be an assistant for another teaching. This helps take a load of stress off from planning that first class knowing that an experienced instructor will be there to run most of it. You can start to cue students through the skills and perhaps lead warm-up or cool-down, etc. For Level 1/Intro certificates, you can have up to half of your hours be hours that you were assisting another instructor.
(2) Get a "mock" class going with students or teachers who already know aerial. Maybe they even know the material you are teaching but they can pretend like they don't for the sake of you learning how to teach. This can be wonderful because they can offer feedback on your cues. While we are flexible for Level 1/Intro Certificates, we recommend that you eventually go out and get some real newbies. But that leads us to the next idea...
(3) Get a friend, partner, etc and offer them a free trial class. It helps to start teaching 1-1 as you first get some practice and leading them through the material and cueing. For Level 1/Intro Certificates, you can have ALL your hours be private lessons. There are no requirements to teach classes with multiple people at the beginning level. However...
(4) When you feel ready, start small with your first class. Invite members of the public to take a free class and let them know that you are a teacher-in-training. This is best done in conjunction with a studio who has a master-teacher who is there in oversight. If you don't have that, one of our Master Teachers can zoom in to provide you with oversight, or at minimum, you will be recording your instruction and sending it in for feedback. And you won't start this until you feel ready and your lesson has been approved by your Master Teacher.
One thing to keep in mind: For all of our certificates, we require that you get practice teaching, so please plan to start teaching when you sign up for our program. Get ready to film/record about half of your classes and send them our way for review. Please get permission from your students to be recorded. If you are filming minors, please have their parents sign a release letting them know that the video will be used for teacher training purposes.
What would be the frequency of the teaching I would need to do? (thinking about the whos and whens and wheres!)
A good rule of thumb is to plan for 1/week for 10 weeks. For all of our Certificates, we require 10 hours of teaching and half of that is required to be recorded and sent in for review. So plan on filming about every other week.
As we talked about in the last question, it's good to start small before going big. A great way to get started would be to set up some private lessons (maybe 5), then set up a 5-week course. That would be a wonderful way to knock out those teaching hours.
Please remember that all these teaching hours must be documented to help show the work that you did to earn your Born to Fly Certificate. Each time you teach, record the date, and a few stand-out facts about that teaching hour. For example, "We worked on getting acquainted with the hoop. We did our seated leans, man in the moon and other shapes. The assessment was to see if they could hold the weight of their body in their hands, which they could. The conditioning was bent arm hangs." This description would go into your document that records all your teaching hours.
Does Born to Fly Teacher Trainings cover rigging information?
The answer, in short, is no. We used to cover rigging information, but here's what changed our mind:
(1) We were not interested in becoming certified riggers and we were starting to offer too much information in an area where we were not experts. We would much rather stick to educating in topics that we have become experts at. So, what we do instead is that we recommend that you seek out a rigging course from a professional rigger.
(2) We did simplify the information down to teaching what all teachers should know about how to operate equipment at a studio, but we found that most aerialists already had the knowledge that we were teaching because local studios were good at teaching their teachers what they needed to know for care of the equipment in that particular space. It didn't make sense for us to teach how we rig at our local studio, when it wasn't going to be where the teacher will be teaching.
(3) Thankfully, most equipment these days can be bought from aerial vendors who specialize in load-testing equipment and making sure that it's aerial-ready. Places like Vertical Art Dance, Aerial Essentials and Firetoys are all fabulous at what they do. Back in the day, it was vital that we taught rigging because these places didn't exist like they do now! We used to teach where to find equipment and how to know it's quality, but with places specializing in this current era, that information is not needed as much. Also, on that note, certain vendors such as Vertical Art Dance release educational videos on how to properly use their equipment and they can even teach you how to tie knots, set-up a pulley system or whatever your customized rigging needs may be!
(4) After having said all that, I would be amiss if I didn't mention that we do have a rigging lecture from Brett Copes on the AerialDancing.com video library. If you are looking for general information on rigging, that's also a great place to start! See the next question for some general guidelines as well.
So, what is a "safe" set-up?
The best case scenario is that you are partnered with a local studio. In fact, we typically partner with studio to train their instructors and this is the most common scenario. But no matter where your set-up is located, keep reading for our safety standards!
We require that all teachers who will be partnering with us to receive online training have access to a safe set-up, so let's define that! We look for the following qualities:
(1) The rig itself is sound:
-- The attachment point is rated for aerial. A good rule of thumb is 2,000-5,000 lbs for the load capacity. This takes into account the fact that aerialists will put shock loads on their system, and we need a safety factor to be present. So, if an aerialist who weights 170 can easily put a shock load of 400-500 pounds (I've seen as high as 800 lbs!) on their equipment, and 5 is a good safety ratio, then 2,000-5,000 makes a lot of sense to be the range where we want our equipment to be rated for.
-- The apparatus comes from an approved aerial vendor. They load-test all their equipment and make sure it is safe for aerialists. All attachments are rated for aerial, and equipment has been checked over and inspected regularly for wear and tear. Carabineers are double checked when attached, and properly fastened, etc.
(2) There is a suitable mat for aerial work. The crash mat must be at least 6 inches, 8 inches is preferred. A great place to start shopping is Norberts or MatsMatsMats.
(3) Never practice alone. There is always a safety spotter present. This person is available in case of emergency. If you holler that you are stuck, can they come help assist? Is there a clear plan for what to do if you were to get stuck at the highest point on your apparatus -- could they lower you down?
(4) The person training with us has a good general understanding of aerial already. No one coming into this program is still learning the basics of aerial. That has been established, and they already have a strong self-practice.
Does Born to Fly Teacher Trainings cover topics related to the business side of teaching such as waivers, insurance, what-if scenarios if an injury happens?
We desire that all our instructors have safe practices at the top of the list, so I'm glad you're asking this question!
Unfortunately, we won't help much when it comes to writing a waiver or providing you with insurance. The reason for this is mainly because it is outside our area of expertise. This walks the line of acting like a lawyer, which is the correct professional when it comes to putting together a waiver or release form. While we always like to give friendly advice, we are careful about sticking to our lane in terms of what we offer training for. We WILL talk about counterindications and how to respond to various background of incoming students, but we will not be putting together a medical questionnaire form for you, as this oversteps our line of expertise.
On the topic of insurance..
We can say though that in the past, we have had teachers graduate from our program and submit their certificates to their insurance companies and have received discounts on their insurance. It would be a good idea to ask your insurance company if this is possible with a Born to Fly Certificate. Our goal is to develop you into a highly sought-after, knowledgeable and SAFE instructor. Because this has always been our primary goal, we have been recognized by some insurance companies who recommend (or even require) certifications, but we cannot guarantee it.
Which insurance companies cover aerial arts are constantly changing, and with all that we already do, it would be impossible to keep up with insurance company news. If you are looking for insurance, we recommend joining aerial groups on Facebook for lively discussions where this kind of information (and much more up-to-date info) is shared in the aerial industry. We recommend searching for groups that cater to aerial instructors and studio owners. In fact, the Born to Fly Teacher Training Program has it's own secret Facebook group that you get to join once you start the program. Ask about it if you'd like to join and we'll get you in! Great place to reach out for questions as you go.
On the topic of "what-if" scenarios...
Please note that we do require that you receive a CPR/First Aid Certification in order to get certified through the Born to Fly Program. This is because we do want you to be prepared for any "what-if" emergencies.
Our focus in the teacher trainings will primarily be how to use safe progressions and teaching practices that any incidents will be extremely rare. However, it is ignorant to pretend that nothing will ever happen, so I'm glad you're thinking about this! We will talk about best practices in terms of classroom management if an emergency happens, but again, we will stick to the topic in terms of how it relates to your teaching, not how to fill out an incident report which your studio and insurance may require, etc. Training for how emergencies are handled, to some degree, will be different at every studio, and we recommend working with your local studio on this topic.