Combine fitness and circus skills with aerial hoop

aerial hoop

Balletic grace, sauce and sheer body strength, all in spotlit darkness. As interesting hobbies go there’s nothing finer than the aerial hoop…

Already familiar with taking a few spins on the old pole, I thought the aerial hoop would be a piece-ish of cake. Well, guys and gals, I was WRONG. Compared to poledancing, which is hugely popular and almost mainstream now, aerial hoop remains somewhat elusive.

The aerial hoop (also known as the lyra, aerial ring or cerceau) is a giant steel hula hoop which hangs from the ceiling. It’s much beloved of circus and cabaret performers.

I had my first taste of aerial hoop courtesy of Ecole De Pole, a London based pole dance academy. At £20.00 for an hour and a half lesson, the class cost me a bit more than your average aerobics session, but it was a helluva lot more fun. The class was small and friendly, too – we all supported each other, which was lovely and made learning so much easier.

After a brief warm up, we quickly got to work on some ‘drills’ (a series of exercises which incorporate the hoop to increase stamina and familiarity with the equipment) then set about taking to said hoop, which was rigged to the ceiling and had a mat placed strategically underneath it. Thank the lord for that mat! I landed on its squidgy form more than once as I attempted to pull a variety of elegant and elaborate poses befitting of an accomplished performer…

This was a great intro to an art which has been practised for decades upon decades. Aerial hoop is definitely an acquired skill. Expect to feel a lot of pain before you get that ultimate prize of achieving your desired moves and aeriatic moves. Anyone can give aerial hoop a go, but an established core and upper body strength will definitely help you take to the sometimes demanding nature of aerial.

If you’re going to give it a try (Do it! Do it! Do it!) I suggest you keep yourself well hydrated, as with any form of physical exertion, and dress in comfortable warm clothes. Ideally, go for footless tights, a vest and sports bra.

Expect your fingers and hands to chafe when you first grasp the hoop… but you’ll experience a new, refreshing view of the world as you straddle and dangle your good self in the air. As you do.