My life in circus
Hello, My name is Ria!
I'm twenty-four and live in sunny Florida. This blog is dedicated to my journey into circus. I am a professional performer that focuses primary in Aerial Arts and Contortion.
If you have any questions about contortion, aerial arts, or gymnastics; just ask! I'm always happy to help!
All content belongs to me unless otherwise stated.
Home / Ask Me Anything / archive / Personal Blog / F.A.Q / FACEBOOK / YOUTUBE / TUTORIALS / Art Blog / Circus Problems / Donate

Cirque Soul one day Cyber Monday Sale! 20% Off your entire order!

Cirque Soul one day Cyber Monday Sale! 20% Off your entire order!

Aerial Arts: Teaching and Safety

I’m not sure what the Aerial Arts community is like in other parts of the world, but here in Orlando it’s booming. Not only do we have three established circus schools, but nearly all pole studios now offer aerial arts. While it’s awesome that Aerial Arts are becoming so popular and widely available, there is now also an abundance of instructors. Although this most certainly does not apply to all, there are a great many “aerialists” out there teaching Aerial Arts while they themselves are still very much students. Taking a few months of classes, let alone even a year or two of classes does not make one qualified to put lives at risk and teach.

I spent a childhood as a nationally ranked competitive gymnast, but it took me three years of rigorous Aerial Arts training and strength conditioning before I was ready to become an instructor. Bare in mind, I didn’t teach until after I toured the country performing as a professional Aerialist because I did not feel comfortable instructing until I was established not only as an athlete, but a professional that understands very clearly the risks associated with what I do and teach. I’ve performed on some sketchy stages, in cold weather, and put up with some unpredictable wind. Even when you think you’re fine because you’ve done a skill or drop a million times, it all comes down to one simple fact: There are no safety lines and if you mess up, that might be the end. You’re life is quite literally in your hands and you need to be aware of everything. From the number of times you’ve wrapped the silk to the weather around you, be aware.

As a working professional that learned that lesson the hard way and suffered a serious injury doing something relatively simple; It’s terrifying to me that there are “Aerialists” out there teaching skills and drops to students that are not yet strong enough to be performed safely. With strength comes confidence and body awareness; All qualities that students need to develop over time with conditioning before ever being allowed to throw a drop.

This is not dance or pole and should not be seen as some simple, fun recreational activity. You can very easily become paralyzed or die doing this and your life is at risk as soon as you climb the fabrics. Drops are loads of fun and look dramatic, but if you can not do a solid set of V-Ups then you are NOT ready. Be smart, get strong, and push your strength limits before you tempt fate and a lifetime in a wheelchair. There is so much more to Aerial Arts than throwing drops and looking badass in front of your friends.

And to the instructors out there teaching, You’re reputation and careers are at stake. When (Not If) you have a student injure themselves because you were teaching a drop far beyond their skill level, your career will be over. Like I said, be smart. Teach your students strength and confidence, not the drop that looks cool.

Also, establish yourself and get some real professional work under your belt first. Know what you teach, the risks associated with it, and put in the work necessary to clearly understand all that Aerial Arts entails. Know your equipment and triple check your carabiners. If it doesn’t look safe, it’s probably not. Don’t teach somewhere because ‘It’s a job’ when you know full well the rigging is not satisfactory. Remember, if your student injures themselves while under your supervision due to shady rigging or a skill that’s cool rather than safe for the student, the fault is on you.

Aerial Arts are fun and an awesome way to get in shape, but please be safe. Injuries are not fun, especially when they are completely preventable.  

My picture is on a Hungarian circus article! →

Kind of ironic, given my name. (;

This week only, Cirque Soul sale for 15% off your entire order!

1 day Sale over at!

1 day Sale over at!

Hey friends,

I realize I have been absent for the better half of the past two months and I’m sorry. You guy are all such a wonderful motivation so I wanted to let you know what’s been going on.

For the good news though, I got a solid and secure job as a gymnastics coach, teaching rec and both Girls and T&T team. It’s a lot of pressure, but I’m super excited and ready to take it all on. I’m also in the process of looking for a place to live with just my boyfriend (A very big step!) and I feel like I’m finally starting out my life. A lot is going on, a lot more is up in the air; but it’s all good things and I can only go up from this point.

Also, I’ve been working on some serious renovations to Cirque Soul. From the layout to my design, I’ve remodeled a lot. Keep an out out for the launch as I will be holding an exclusive two day sale to announce the 6+ new designs! If you loved Cirque Soul before, just wait. (; A few of the designs are already up and available for purchase so check it out at!

I promise I will try to get back on the boat and post pictures and once I’m done with the Cirque Soul launch and life finally begins to level out, I’ll post those tutorials I keep promising.

Where did you get your 'stretching straps?' from or where could I find them? (referring to your scorpion video) I've seen some before but yours have padding to it & the other seem like it would be irritating to rub against.


I was just using my aerial spansets. Nothing special, it was just hard canvas. 

Hey Ria! Were you able to do handstands before circus training? Any suggestions for owning them? Especially on how to "open your shoulders" as this seems to be my problem. Cheers!


Hey! Because I was a gymnast, I’ve been able to do handstands for as long as I can remember, but I wasn’t able to hold them nearly as long before I started circus.your handstand against the wall for however long you can bare. Handstands are way more about strength than balance.  

Also, you don’t need to ‘open your shoulder’s, but rather push through them. For example, what you would do if you were trying to reach for something high and you push through the joint, trying to make yourself as tall as possible. This helps you find your core. 

Hope that helps!

My suggestions are to hold 

Today, I taught my first adult Aerial class at my new job (previously had only so far coached the gymnast kids there). All the women were so self-conscious about getting up there while the team girls (Level 4-9) were hard at work; but as each of the women did their very first split on silks, the entire gym stopped what they were doing and applauded each women for their accomplishment. 

It was a moment I will never forget and left me with goosebumps. It also speaks volumes for the children I now coach and the people I work for. I’m so blessed to have this job and I love every moment of it. 

Some designs will be retired to make room for the upcoming collection, so get them while you can at the discounted rate!

Some designs will be retired to make room for the upcoming collection, so get them while you can at the discounted rate!

I just has to share my boyfriend’s first climb on silks! So proud of him.  

I just has to share my boyfriend’s first climb on silks! So proud of him.  

Source : t3ap0t
This was actually his suggestion. <3

This was actually his suggestion. <3

For all the acrobats out there, both ground and aerial acts!

Also available as a Hoodie!

Check out the new design at Cirque Soul!

You can find this over at CIRQUE-SOUL.COM

How the hell do you build the leg strength to just hold your leg up in a split like that?! I just don't understand. I can do splits on the ground but could never hold my leg up like that unsupported.


Honestly, I just kept practicing it a lot. You can also work with ankle weights to build up the strength. 

It also probably helps that I have about a foot high oversplit and when I’m doing a tilt; I’m only able to pull a usual middle split.