Madison Circus Space accepts monthly memberships for experienced aerialists who wish to further their individual practice. MCS is a community training space that fosters creative expression through self-directed and instructor-led circus arts training opportunities.
All member candidates must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Be in good standing with MCS.
- Have at least one year of recent, consistent aerial experience (~2 hours/week) or training and have had sufficient instruction on equipment you wish to use as an aerial member.
- Read, sign, and agree to all safety guidelines, MCS waiver, and membership guidelines.
- Demonstrate knowledge of rigging technique and safety procedures.
- Maintain records of aerial equipment maintenance and inspection
- Demonstrate self-awareness, good judgement, and priority to develop a safe aerial culture.
- Provide two references and their contact information to aerial representative that will be able to speak to the candidate’s aerial experience and abilities, rigging and safety competency, and general ability to make sound decisions and exemplify good leadership.
- Complete an annual check-in with MCS aerial representatives to confirm membership eligibility.
- Pay monthly fee for membership.
- Contact the MCS aerial representative with description of above requirements and to schedule an approval/orientation meeting at MCS for final membership approval.
MCS Aerial Safety Guidelines
- Follow the MCS Safety Policy.
- Aerial arts is an inherently dangerous sport. You are responsible for your own safety.
- Another adult must be in the space when practicing on aerial equipment or using the ladder.
- Take all safety precautions possible to minimize injury to oneself and others in the space.
- Always use a spotter when necessary.
- Using new aerial equipment may require formal instruction before use in the space.
- Learning new drops should be done in a class or in groups of three or more aerial members.
- Mats should always be used underneath equipment, unless using mats will cause additional risk to safety (ie running big circles) or interfere with show rehearsals.
- Wear shoes or have bare feet when climbing the ladder. Ladders should always be easily accessible and able to be operated immediately if needed for a rescue.
- The ladder should be moved using the provided wheely cart or a partner. Always remove the cart before stepping on the ladder. If the cart is not accessible it is best practice to move the ladder with a partner – together open, lift and carry the ladder into place.
- Know your equipment and its origin, ensure proper rating, and maintain and inspect your equipment regularly. If using another person’s equipment, inspect the equipment and check rigging yourself. Be responsible for your own safety.
- Leave all personal drama at the door. Inappropriate, unkind behavior will not be tolerated.
- If you see someone not following these guidelines or acting in an unsafe manner, confront them and/or contact an aerial coordinator immediately. We are responsible for the safety of everyone in the space. If you witness something unsafe or not aligned with our community culture, speak up.
- Abide by MCS General Membership guidelines and the MCS Safety Policy.
- Aerialists must adhere to strict policy of not being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or mind-altering substances before or while practicing in the space.
- Being an aerial member does not authorize you to become an aerial instructor.
- No formal coaching or teaching is allowed during personal aerial membership time.
- Thoughtful collaboration with other MCS members is encouraged. Basic teaching of aerial skills to non-aerial members should only be done in a club or group setting by aerial instructors.
- MCS does not own or supply aerial equipment, besides the rigging equipment. Rigging heights range from approximately 19’ to approximately 24’.
- Aerial members are responsible for bringing, rigging, and striking their own equipment for each use. Aerial equipment must be approved by an MCS aerial representative.
- Aerial members are responsible for maintaining and inspecting their equipment to ensure safety.
- MCS insurance covers personal practice time for aerial members.
- Aerial members can use any of the nine MCS rig points when space is available. Check MCS calendar to ensure availability.
- Share the space and rig points. The MCS schedule will only become more busy, and therefore space must be negotiated.
- Aerial members are allowed to use the sound system and must negotiate using sound equipment with others using the space at the same time. Scheduled activities have priority for music requests.
- Non-aerial members are allowed to practice during designated Aerial Club times, class time, or by special permission, such as for an MCS-sponsored event.
- Refer to the MCS membership policy for guest pass procedures. Guests that would like to use aerial equipment must either be supervised by an instructor or obtain written instructor permission.
- Inability to follow safety procedures may result in immediate termination of or hold on membership and/or future participation at MCS without a refund.
- If you have comments or suggestions to these guidelines, please contact MCS aerial representative, Karen Nellessen, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Experience and Rigging Knowledge – A minimum of one year of consistent training with instruction is required to be considered for MCS Aerial Membership. Demonstrate sufficient rigging knowledge acquired through attendance of rigging workshops, which are offered at MCS throughout the year, or from prior rigging training.
- Application: Submit completed background form and application (available on MCS website here). If you are applying as a duo, each member of the duo must submit a separate application.
- Submit two letters of recommendation from references that will be able to speak to your aerial experience and abilities, rigging and safety competency, and general ability to make sound decisions and exemplify good leadership. References should use the reference form available on MCS website here. Your reference letters must arrive before we can consider your video. (“MCS Aerial Membership Reference Questionnaire”)
- Test-in process* (see below for details). Submit a video (to email@example.com) of your physical test-in. The purpose of the test-in is to assess your problem-solving abilities and physical strength required to stay safe in unexpected situations.
- Submit a video (either separate video or after the skills video) that includes your demonstration of rigging knowledge and that clearly shows you going through all the steps of rigging your apparatus (i.e. attaching a silk to the rescue 8, tying dance trapeze rope knots and/or webbing water knots, etc.), orienting your applicable hardware (if any), and inspecting your apparatus.
*Submit a continuous skills video (no edits or cuts) that you feel accurately and completely summarizes your aerial skill level and the types of skills you will pursue in practice. Speak the name of each skill loudly and clearly before or while you perform the skill. This video should be an honest reflection of where you are now in your practice. Please show a mixture of skills at which you are proficient, skills that you can execute but not well, and skills that are not yet solid for you. Your video (of skills only, not counting discussion or rigging demonstration) should be minimum one minute and maximum 12 minutes and must include a minimum of eight total skills (which can include the skills listed below under apparatus requirements).
- See below for specific apparatus requirements.** Please also include a variety of moves beyond these requirements that accurately represent your current level and interests.
- You are encouraged to perform all moves in a row (without getting off the apparatus) if possible, but if you need to come down and rest between moves, that is fine and should not be edited out of the video. There is no need to choreograph fancy transitions; just go naturally as you would in training from one move to the next.
- Your coach may be present but may not cue or spot you during your video.
- Your video may also include talking through an apparatus inspection, rigging concerns, and mat choices (see below). It’s fine to cut this section in separately. If you prefer to write out these items, you may submit them in an email (to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Specific apparatus requirements:**
For silks, sling, and rope:
Your continuous video must show:
- at least one full climb
- a 20-second dead hang OR getting out of a tangle
Your continuous video must also show at least four of the following skills:
- figure 8 and dancer wrap footlocks
- any entry into hip key and balancing the hip key
- an inversion (can be from the ground or from a knot)
- crochet/knee hangs, any skill from a wrap
- belay exit/entry
- a low-flying skill from around the back or a hitch wrap
- a drop
- a dynamic skill
For trapeze and lyra:
Your continuous video must show:
- a mount
- an inversion (can be from the ground)
- a knee beat
- a move in the ropes (or span set/webbing/top of hoop for lyra)
Your continuous video must also show at least one of the following skills:
- Front balance
- Back balance
- Long hang beat
- A dynamic skill
For other apparatus:
Use your best judgment as to what to include in your video, focusing on fundamental movements that would be your apparatus’s equivalent of what is listed above for silks, rope, trapeze, and lyra.
*There may be cases when an individual cannot show all of the above moves or needs more time than the 12 minutes allotted but can still demonstrate safe aerial practices, strong background knowledge, and an ability to assess risk. Your test video can be modified to meet individual needs and accommodate disabilities of all types. Please work with your coach(es) and the aerial board rep to modify your video submission when needed.
Rigging, Inspection, Matting, and Independent Practice
In a separate video or as a continuation of your skills test video, talk through how you would inspect a rig point and your apparatus in a detailed annual inspection. Clearly show yourself rigging your apparatus. If you are applying as a duo, each member of the duo must submit a separate application. Answer all of the following questions if this is your first application (if you are already approved on one aerial apparatus, you can skip these questions):
- What do you look for during inspection?
- What are examples of things you could “keep an eye on” but that don’t warrant retiring the rigging or equipment?
- What are examples of things you might find that would warrant retiring the rigging or equipment?
- What are some signs that a rig point or rigging situation is not safe to fly on?
- What are some signs that a rig point or rigging situation IS safe to fly on?
- What would you do if you came across something that seemed questionable or that you weren’t sure about in a rigging set-up (i.e. “crunchy”-sounding swivel, jerky motion from swivel, small fray in pulley rope, strange noises from the rigging, etc.)?
- Briefly explain approximately how much weight each component of a safe rigging situation should be able to support and why. How do you know that each component can support at least that much weight?
- Briefly talk through how you choose a mat. Name at least two different situations that may require different mat choices, and discuss why you would choose the mat you did for each situation.
- Talk through how you would approach trying a move you see on Instagram that you want to learn.
- Explain how you would know if a move you see online is safe to try on your own or not. If possible, give an example or describe a move that would be safe to try and a move that would not be safe to try.
- Explain how you would approach trying out a new apparatus that you have never been on before.
Applicants must go through the testing process for each class of apparatus on which they want to be approved to fly. A description of apparatus classifications can be found on the MCS website here. (“Apparatus Classifications and Approvals”)
If testing process is successful, the complete application will be reviewed by the MCS Board aerial representative(s), and the new member will be invited to schedule an orientation (or, during pandemic, will watch a video orientation and complete a trial on-site rigging over Zoom).
To begin the process, please contact the MCS Aerial Board Representative(s).
*An MCS aerial board rep will contact you once we have received and reviewed all of your application materials, including both references. If you haven’t been contacted, that means that your application is still incomplete or under review, and you should contact your references to make sure they have submitted their questionnaire. If your application and both references are in and you still haven’t heard from back, send a quick reminder email to email@example.com