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. See below for information about:
Aerial Member Eligibility Requirements
- Experience: A minimum of 1 year consistent training with instruction is required to be considered for MCS Aerial Membership.
- Application: Submit completed background form and application, available here.
- References: Submit two letters of recommendation from references 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. References should use the reference form, available here.
- Test out: Schedule and complete the physical strength test + equipment, rigging, and safety review. The purpose of the physical test is to assess the aerialist’s problem-solving ability and physical strength required to stay safe in unexpected situations.
- Demonstrate five separate skills which best showcase your aerial abilities (switching poses, holds, footlocks, wraps, etc.).
- Demonstrate the above skills in a different order specified by the tester.
- Vertical apparatus: climb twice and invert.
- 30-second dead hang.
- Demonstrate knowledge of self-care (safe warm-ups, practice regimen, etc.).
- Know and understand rigging, knots and inspection for each apparatus you’ll be using, whether owned by you or shared with others. Including a basic understanding or working load limits and rigging best practices.
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.
If testing process is successful, the complete application will be reviewed by an Aerial Board Representative, who may provide the applicant with feedback. New members will be invited to schedule an orientation.
To begin the process, please contact MCS Aerial Board Representative Trilly Gregg at firstname.lastname@example.org
Aerial Member Guidelines
- Abide by MCS General Membership guidelines and the MCS Safety Policy.
- Aerialists must adhere to a 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, including a 14’ platform ladder and rig points (span sets, swivels, and carabiners). The approximate rigging height is 17’1” from the bottom of the rigging equipment to the floor.
- Aerial members are responsible for bringing, rigging, and striking their own equipment for each use. Aerial equipment must be approved by an MCS Aerial Board 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. Aerial practice is limited to the static front rig point during table tennis or Wheel Club.
- 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. Classes and clubs have priority for music requests.
- Non-aerial members are only 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 have obtained approved guest flyer status from the MCS Aerial Board Representative.
- 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 Board Representative Trilly Gregg at email@example.com
Aerial Safety Guidelines
- Another adult must be in the space at all times before you can use the ladder or practice on aerial equipment.
- All screw-lock carabiners should be locked and down. Don’t screw up! Double check your rigging and equipment.
- Sufficient padding and mats should always be used underneath aerial equipment, unless using mats will increase risk for injury or interfere with a performance-ready rehearsal.
- Make sure you perform an adequate warm-up.
- Only use equipment that you have had formal training and sufficient practice on outside of a class setting.
- Practice close and active spotting techniques. Protect the head and neck. Do not try to catch the flyer; just guide them to the ground. Keep your thumbs in.
- Learning and practicing new drops on any equipment should be done in a class or in group of three or more. Make sure you can competently walk out of drops first before a full execution. Getting out of wraps/drops correctly is just as important as getting into wraps/drops correctly.
- Always practice new skills low to the ground first.
- No sliding down or jumping off of silks because you’re being lazy.
- Always practice controlled descents.
- Remember that your physical abilities change every day depending on your sleep, diet, mental state, and regular training. Listen to your body and take care of yourself.
- Be more cautious at the end of your practice. Most injuries happen when you are mentally and physically tired.
- Be a role model for other aerialists, students, youth, and circus artists using this space. Help build the safety culture of this community!
Apparatus Classifications and Approvals
Purpose: Recognize groups of apparatuses where skills are substantially equivalent/transferable and those that are substantially different. If an aerial member is approved on one apparatus in a group, s/he may fly on other apparatuses in the same group.
- Vertical non-resting: Silks, rope, sling (cloudswing okay if approved on these)
- Horizontal resting: Trapeze, lyra, traveling rings
- Horizontal non-resting: Straps, gymnastic rings (non-conditioning)
- Aerial pole: Take 5-6 week class + pass physical test; no partnering for first six months of regular training
- Other or unusual apparatus: Handled case by case, contact MCS Aerial Board Representative
Note: No apparatus-specific approval required for aerial members to use any aerial equipment for conditioning purposes only.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact the MCS Aerial Board Representative at firstname.lastname@example.org
MCS Aerial Teaching Approval Process
Those interested in becoming approved aerial instructors at MCS should provide the following documents to the MCS Aerial Board Representative for review:
- A detailed aerial and teaching resume including a list of any teaching certifications (aerial or otherwise).
- Two letters of recommendation, one from a fellow instructor and another from a previous student (if available).
- A detailed lesson plan for your first class series being taught at MCS. This should demonstrate thoughtful planning and consideration for students’ abilities and limitations when putting together the content of the class. This should also demonstrate that the applicant has a firm grasp of the kinds of things they plan to teach in the class and how they fit into skill progression and strength building. Finally, the applicant should include a section explaining what warm-up techniques they plan to follow at the beginning (and end) of each class.
If the applicant does not have sufficient prior teaching experience, the Aerial Board Representative may recommend that they shadow-teach a current MCS class for a period of time and/or that they limit their teaching to private lessons of three people or fewer for the time being.
Completed applications will be reviewed by the MCS Aerial Board Representative.
All instructor application inquiries should be directed to the MCS Aerial Board Representative at email@example.com