General Aerial Questions


I’ve never done anything like this before. Where should I start?

If you are brand-new to the aerial arts, the best place to start is with our ABC drop-in classes .  These are a set of 4 1-hour classes designed to introduce you to some of the basic skills needed for aerial training.  They are offered multiple times a week so find the one that fits your schedule! If you’d prefer to work at your own pace, you could instead schedule a private lesson or two to try it out.  Invite a few friends to join you - the per-person cost goes down as the number of students goes up! Another entry-level option is our Strength and Flexibility for New Aerialists class, which is a gentle class geared toward those with some physical limitations, fears, or injuries.  

I’m a visiting aerialist from out of town. Can I train/take classes at VA while I’m in Seattle?

We love to host visiting aerialists at Versatile Arts!  If you'd like to come to open gym, just email us to set up a time for a quick evaluation so that we can ensure that you are safe to train without an instructor present.  We'll also give you a quick orientation.  If you're a professional and would like to train or rehearse outside of open gym hours, that can also be arranged but we do encourage you to contact us in advance. We do offer a few drop-in classes but prefer to have visitors go through our 1/2-hour assessment lesson so that we can get to know you before having you drop in to a class.  Email us if you'd like to set that up.

What should I wear for aerial class/practice?

Please wear snug-fitting clothing that covers your midsection and all the way down your leg.   Thick tights are better than loose-fitting yoga pants.   Wide-legged pants are likely to get in your way.   Make sure your shirt fits snugly enough that it will stay in place when you invert.   Layers are useful and sometimes you will want a shirt with sleeves to protect your arms/armpits, but often you can get away with a tank top.   Cotton is better than nylon.  Neoprene ankle wraps can also come in handy for protection.


Make sure your clothing has no zippers, belts, studs, or anything else that could catch on the equipment.   We will ask you to remove all watches, rings, large earrings, etc, so you might want to leave your valuables in the car or at home to make sure you don’t leave things at the studio.


Please avoid using lotions, oils, or heavy perfumes before coming to the studio.   Your skin should be clean and dry, both for your own safety and to keep the equipment as clean as possible for others.   Do use deodorant.


What should I bring to class?

The main thing you need is a water bottle. We provide filtered water but encourage the use of reusable bottles so please bring your own, preferably with your name on it. We also sell stainless steel bottles for $15 and will make a label for you!


If you tend to perspire, please bring a hand towel so that you can mop yourself off as needed.


A notebook or camera can be useful for recording what you learn in class.


Do you offer classes/lessons for children?

Versatile Arts now offers a limited number of afternoon classes for children aged 11-17 in our downstairs studio.  Private instruction can be arranged for mature teens who are serious about their aerial training. We highly recommend SANCA (the School for Acrobatics and New Circus Arts) in Georgetown for younger children’s circus classes.   They have an extensive program and excellent instructors.  

What sort of exercise/stretching should I do to build strength for aerial work?

The best way to get strong enough to do aerial work is to do aerial work!


Other things you can do to build upper body and core strength include: pull-ups, bent-arm hangs, Pilates-style abdominal work, yoga, and rock climbing.


In terms of stretching, focus on shoulders, hamstrings, and low back. Working on your straddles and splits is very helpful, but only stretch them when your muscles are warmed up!


I’ve taken classes with [other teacher] for [some amount of time]. What class should I take?

Because every teacher offers a slightly different curriculum, we require all visiting/transferring/cross-enrolling students to schedule a half-hour assessment lesson ($40) so that we can determine the best fit of student to class.   Please contact us at versatile.arts@gmail.com to schedule an assessment.  

I’d like to come to open gym to practice. What do I have to do?

Open gym is available to all adult aerialists who are able to work safely and independently.   To be approved for open gym usage, please contact us at versatile.arts@gmail.com to schedule an evaluation/orientation during one of our open gym sessions.


What if I miss a class? What’s the make-up policy?

You must provide 24 hours notice if you are going to miss a class in order to qualify for a make-up; that gives us time to offer your place to someone else as a drop-in. Makeups can be taken as open gym time (for non-members), or you can arrange to attend a different class with enough advance notice. You may have two make-ups per session.  (If you know before the session starts that you will miss classes, you may instead pro-rate up to two classes per session - but your total number of make-ups and pro-rated classes can't be more than 2.)   Please use your make-ups during the session if possible, or by the end of the following session if not. For same-day illnesses or injuries, like that migraine that came on at lunchtime that you just could not foresee, you may use an open gym as a make-up as long as you notify us that you will not be in class. Note that this policy only holds for regular session classes and does not apply to the Intro to Aerials series.  We do not provide make-ups for missed classes in the intro series.  If you have to miss a class, you are welcome to schedule a private lesson (at extra cost) to cover the material you missed. Absence notifications can go to the main VA address (versatile.arts@gmail.com) or to your instructor (<name>@versatilearts.net).  

I’m going to be gone for part of the session. Can I pro-rate my tuition?

If you know in advance that you’ll be gone part of the session, you may pro-rate up to two weeks worth of tuition.  Note that you may have a total of two make-ups/pro-rated classes per session - i.e., if you pro-rate two classes, you cannot also take make-ups for further absences. For shorter sessions or classes that only last part of the session, the limit on absences may may less than 2.  The Manage Absences page will show you how many allowed absences there are for a given class.  

I have a Chinook Book coupon – what can I use it for?

If you have a Chinook Book coupon for the intro series (which we are not currently offering) you may instead use it to get 25% off a set of 4 of our new ABC classes, which replaced the intro series.  Pay for three classes, get the 4th free.  Alternately, you may use the coupon to get 25% off a 1-hour private lesson.  Please email us to arrange either of these options and make sure to bring the coupon with you when you come in.

I am gay/trans/non-white/over 40/disabled/etc – will I feel welcome at Versatile Arts?

Versatile Arts strives to provide a welcoming environment for everyone who wishes to train with us.  Trans-folk, please just let us  know how you prefer to be addressed.  Our bathrooms are unisex.  Regarding age limits, we only discriminate against those under 11 as we are a primarily adult space with a few teen classes.  There is no upper age limit and many of our aerialists are over 50!  We have not worked with many types of disability but are willing to explore if you are - just know that our main studio is up a flight of stairs but we do have ground-floor studios as well.   If you ever feel unwelcome at VA, for any reason, we want to hear about it.