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  • Aerial Cheryl

When Can You Stop Taking Classes?

Aerialist, Aerial Silks, Split

When are you good enough that you don't need a coach anymore? When do you consider yourself a professional who is no longer in need of classes to make themselves better? When you are no longer interested in growing and adding to the circus and aerial community.

I mean that whole heartedly. No matter what field you work within, when you are no longer interested in learning about that field, you are no longer a productive and beneficial part of that field. Your field and your part in it will become stagnant, boring and lifeless when you stop feeding it. Just like our bodies need food as fuel, our creativity needs input to fuel new ways of thinking - it needs continuous guidance to fuel innovation and growth.

I consider myself not only a professional, working aerialist, but also an aerial student. I regularly spend 12-15 hours a week training in an aerial studio and a third to half of that time is in silk and hoop classes (the rest is open gym time, choreographing and conditioning). During my class time I get to learn new skills, new techniques, new pathways that progress and inspire new choreography. I have a coach who is invested in guiding me, pointing out adjustments or giving me pointers to make shapes more appealing or transitions smoother.

I also get inspired by the work being done by fellow students. Seeing someone else learning and growing reminds me of where I started and their success pushes me to keep finding successes. I'm inspired by the determination around me and the opportunity to grow a community of artists is bred here.

Taking classes regularly reminds me of how much I don't know. Having regular classes continually informs my training and makes my open gym time so much more productive. My choreography stays fresh as I try to incorporate new skills. The circus is about forging your own path. Art is about creating something that didn't exist before, opening someone's eyes to something new. If you aren't doing anything new, you aren't growing.

As Brett Copes said in his interview with Shannon McKenna in The Artist Athlete podcast: "Learn everything you can and keep learning at all times." No one is the supreme expert in circus or even the aerial arts. You can learn something from everyone, it's up to you to learn things that fuel you in the direction you want to go.


Are you looking for an opportunity to learn more one on one but don't have anyone nearby? Want to learn from me? Check out my coaching page to learn more.

Here is a link to find The Artist Athlete Podcast. The interview I referenced is in Episode 1. I highly recommend listening to the entire episode as Shannon's summary of the conversation was really helpful to me.

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