Versatile Arts divides aerial skills into four levels, and within each level there may be two or more stages of development. The course progression is summarized as follows:

# Stage Class
0 Basics ABC
1A Beginner Skills Aerial 1A
1B Beginner Sequences Aerial 1B
1C Beginner Continuing Aerial 1B+
2A Intermediate Foundation Aerial 2A
2B Intermediate Development Aerial 2B
2C Continuing Intermediate Aerial 2C
3 Experienced Intermediate various
4 Advanced various

Stage 0: Basics

This is the absolute beginner stage, with no prerequisite skills or experience. Students at this stage are working on basic skills while also learning how to engage their shoulders and core muscles in order to train safely and with proper technique. This stage can take as long (or short) as a student needs to complete the ABC series.

Graduation requirements:

Classes at this stage include:  ABC drop-ins, Aerial Conditioning for Beginners, Pre-Handstands, Beginning Flexibility

Stage 1A: Beginner Skills

At this stage, students are introduced to most of the skills needed for our level 1 sequences on rope/tissu and trapeze.  One session at this stage is typically sufficient.

Sling and Straps have their own requirements to join at this level. For example, Beginning Straps require that students are working on straight arm/straight leg invert, strong windmill, 30 second hollow hold, V-sit hold.

Graduation requirements:

Class at this stage include:  Aerial 1A, Lyra 1A, Sling 1, Beginning Handstands

Stage 1B: Beginner Sequences

This stage focuses on the level 1 sequences: the footlock sequence, the wrap sequence, and the trapeze sequences (1A and 1B).  Students solidify understanding of the skills, build endurance, and learn transitions between skills. This stage will likely last 1-2 sessions and if students meet the graduation requirements, they will move to Stage 2A.

Graduation requirements:

Class at this stage include:  Aerial 1B, Continuing Straps

Stage 1C: Beginner Continuing

This stage is a continuation of Level 1B. It is for returning level 1B students who meet some, but not all the graduation requirements for level 1B. Students at this level are familiar with all the level 1 sequences and will work on inversion conditioning drills and 1B skills. They may also work on some level 2 skills that do not require clean inversions.

Graduation requirements:

Class at this stage include:  Aerial 1B+

Stage 2A: Intermediate Foundation

This stage introduces the key level 2 vertical skills, including straddle climb, windmill, scissor hiplock, and aerial dance footlock.  Trapeze skills are developed via a new sequence that fills in level 1 skills and introduces some level 2 skills.  One session at this stage should usually be sufficient.

Graduation requirements:

Class at this stage include:  Aerial 2A, Rope and Tissu 2A, Trapeze 2

Stage 2B: Intermediate Development

At this stage, students focus on building proficiency with the important level 2 skills that were introduced in 2A while learning new sequences that build on those skills.  This stage is likely to last at least 2 sessions.

Graduation requirements:

Class at this stage include:  Aerial 2B, Rope/Tissu 2B, Trapeze 2, Straps Technique

Stage 2C: Continuing Intermediate

Students at this stage work on techniques for moving through known positions, and are focused on building broader vocabulary while developing the strength and technique needed to move to stage 3.

Graduation requirements:

Class at this stage include:   Rope/Tissu 2C, Trapeze 2/3

Stage 3: Experienced Intermediate

This stage covers the broadest range of development, in which students expand their repertoire of skills into level 3 while also learning choreography, improvisation, and artistic expression.  Conditioning and technique work focus on preparing the student to move on to advanced work.

Graduation requirements:

Class at this stage include:  Aerial 3, Rope/Tissu 3, Trapeze 3, Dynamic Fundamentals

Stage 4: Advanced

Aerialists at this stage of practice work are capable of working on just about any skill in the curriculum, can choreograph their own polished performances, and participate in master classes with guest artists.

The complete list of skills in the VA curriculum, with their level and priority rankings, can be found in the Versatile Arts Skills Tracker. Log in to and select Personal Skills Tracker to access it.