Class Levels and Prerequisites

At Aerial Cirque Over Denver

Adult Classes Leveling and Prerequisites

We strive to maintain high quality and safe aerial arts education. As such, our leveling system and prerequisites are specific.

If you are in a mixed apparatus class (say silks and sling) ideally, you’ll meet both the apparatus pre-requisites. However, exceptions can be made if you don’t have as much experience on one apparatus (say more silks experience than sling), but an overall level of strength and vocabulary for the level. Please email us with any questions you might have!

Level 1

New to aerial and beginner students (beginner: some experience, but not meeting level 2 pre-reqs) will take a level 1 session. It is most typical for students to stay in a level 1 aerial class for a few sessions. The level 2 classes are a true Intermediate level, so students stay in level 1 to build up that necessary strength and endurance.

Prerequisites for Level 1

  •  Ability to engage safely in moderate physical activity.

Level 2

Level 2 classes are for students who have completed at least one session of aerial training or have prior experience, and meet the prerequisites below.

Prerequisites for Silks

  • Ability to climb several feet on both sides.
  • Ability to execute a figure 8 footlock in the air.
  • Can hang from silks and lift knees to chest for 5 seconds.
  • Ability to invert from the ground.
  • Understands basic shoulder engagement and knows how to execute a hollow body shape on the ground.
  • Comfort with: double foot locks, arabesque, and double crochets (can be done from the ground).
  • Can perform a hip key from a Russian climb

Prerequisites for Sling

  • Inversion (from backpack) to straddleback.
  • Pullover mount.
  • Double crochet.
  • Hip hang, gazelle rolldown, and arabesque.

Prerequisites for Bar Apparatuses (Trapeze & Lyra)

  • Ability to execute inverted bar mounts.
  • Can hang from bar and lift knees to chest for 5 seconds.
  • Healthy shoulder engagement and hollow body shape.
  • Comfort with: Double knee hang, Hip hang, and straddleback.
  • Can perform arabesque and crucifix.

Prerequisites for Straps

  • Students should be a level 2 in silks, trapeze, sling, or lyra or prior circus ground experience such as hand-balancing or partner acro.
  • Ability to invert from the ground multiple times per class (does not need to be clean).
  • Ability to hang from wrists.

Prerequisites for Cloud Swing, (Level 2/3 class)

  • Corset wrap (aka hourglass).
  • Seatbelt infinity roll (either direction).
  • Pullover mount.
  • Front balance, back balance, double knee hang.
  • Ability to invert during front-back swing.
  • Crucifix.

Level 3

Level 3 classes are for students who meet the prerequisites below.

Prerequisites for Silks

  • Understanding of aerial vocabulary and ability to execute those skills without instructor demos.
  • Ability to perform 5 knees to chest tuck ups without stepping down.
  • Ability perform climbs on both side to the top of the silks.
  • Ability to perform several windmills (bent knees OK).
  • Ability to invert and perform a fan-kick hip key in the air.
  • Ability to execute cross-back straddle, double crochet, and dancer foot locks in the air.
  • Ability to perform a 3 minute sequence in the air.

Prerequisites for Sling

  • Understanding of aerial vocabulary and ability to execute those skills without instructor demos.
  • Ability to perform 5 consecutive knees to chest tuck ups in air.
  • Ability to perform a 3 minute sequence in air.
  • Front balance, back balance, inversion in air (straddle, pike, and pullover).
  • Single knee hang (from single knee corset or at bottom of sling), single hip hang.
  • Crossback straddle (IE from Georgia Twist).
  • Cat’s cradle.
  • Corset wrap (aka hourglass).
  • Ability to execute controlled 360 drop, pullover knee drop, and bomb drop.

Prerequisites for Bar Apparatuses (Trapeze & Lyra)

  • Understanding of aerial vocabulary and ability to execute those skills without instructor demos.
  • Ability to perform 5 consecutive knees to chest tuck ups in air.
  • Ability to perform a 3 minute sequence in air.
  • Front balance, back balance, inversion in air.
  • Single knee hang, single hip hang, elbow hang, ankle hang.

Prerequisites for Rope & Straps Conditioning, (Level 3/4 class)

  • Students should be a level 3 in silks, trapeze, sling, or lyra.
  • Ability to execute a clean straddle inversion.
  • Ability to execute a clean fan kick hip key in the air.

Prerequisites for Cloud Swing, (Level 3/4 class)

  • Continuous elbow circles (either direction).
  • Continuous infinity rolls in both directions (from seatbelt).
  • Ability to execute controlled 360 drop.
  • Single knee hang, single hip hang, and skin the cat.
  • Knee beats, catchers beats, and starting a front-back swing from standing on swing

Prerequisites for Aerial Partnering, (Level 3+). Exceptions made on a case by case basis. Please be aware students who are working on pre-reqs likely will not be presented with higher level partner skills.

  • Bar apparatus: inversion in the air, double and single knee hang, front balance, back balance, single hip hang, elbow hang, ankle hang, straddleback, catchers hang (trapeze)
  • Silks: French and Russian climbs, inversion in air, fan to hip key in air, crossback straddle (from double dancers footlocks), wheeldown (aka windmill), 30 second hang with proper shoulder engagement
  • Sling: Crossback straddle (ie- from Georgia Twist)
  • 3 pull-ups in air

Level 4

Level 4 classes are for students who meet the prerequisites below.

Prerequisites for Silks

  • Ability to cleanly invert in the air and working towards straight arm inversions.
  • Ability to perform a clean double star drop.
  • Ability to perform clean windmills.
  • Ability to hang from the silks with proper shoulder engagement for 30 seconds.
  • Ability to perform 10 straight arm tuck-ups without stepping down.
  • Ability to improvise and create new material.
  • Ability to complete a 4-5 minute sequence in the air

Prerequisites for Sling

  • Straight leg inversions.
  • Ability to perform 10 consecutive knees to chest tuck ups in air.
  • Ability to perform a 4-5 minute sequence in air.
  • Understanding and execution of stacked and direction changing drops.
  • 3 pull-ups in air (unwrapped)

Prerequisites for Bar Apparatuses (Trapeze & Lyra)

  • Straight leg inversions and working towards straight arm inversions.
  • Strong skin the cat.
  • Meathook.
  • Ability to perform 10 consecutive knees to chest tuck ups.
  • Ability to perform a 4-5 minute sequence in air.
  • Knee beats (all horizontal apparatuses); ankle beats and catchers beats for trapeze.
  • Ability to perform at least one consecutive momentum skill (such as lion rolls, snake rolls, Russian rolls, hip circles, etc).

Interested in signing up? Find class information here:

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dennver circus school student on aerial silks hanging by feet