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How do I Become an Aerialist?

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  • Written By: Ron Marr
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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To become an aerialist requires more than a simple desire to join the circus, walk a tightrope, or become the man on the flying trapeze. This is not a career option that you will find in the classifieds of your local newspaper, and most aerialists are members of families who have performed their act for decades. In such cases, children begin their aerialist training almost as soon as they can walk, and even then not all will possess the skills or temperament to become a star under the big top.

Being born with the right body type is crucial if you hope to become an aerialist. You will need to be muscular, but at the same time you should be lighter than normal. You should also have inborn spatial orientation skills. These factors are important because, if your specialty is the trapeze, you will often work with a partner. You must not only be able to perform acrobatics without becoming disoriented, you must be capable of catching your partner. The same holds true if you hope to perform a high wire act, as losing your balance could mean the end of your career and perhaps even your life.

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Being in incredible physical condition, and being willing to maintain that condition every day of the year, is inherent to becoming an aerialist. The athleticism required to perform your act is of the highest level, but you should also have nerves of steel. Not only will you be displaying your art at great heights, you will be doing so in front of crowds that could well number in the thousands. If you have either stage fright or fear of heights, you should not try to become an aerialist.

At a young age you should begin take classes in acrobatics, gymnastics, ballet, or other forms of dance. There are numerous trapeze schools and training centers located in various parts of the world, and these institutions will generally accept students as young as six or seven years of age. If you have the body structure, the skills, the training, and the drive to become an aerialist, you are ready to audition for a circus or traveling aerialist troupe. Your best chance of gaining employment will be to start with a smaller circus and gain a bit of name and fame.

Some of the world’s most famous circuses and shows are always on the lookout for aerialists with novel skills or acts. Most of these will accept your resume and a video of your performances, and if they like what they see you could be on your way to glory. Remember, though, you need to start young. The careers of most aerialists are over before the age of 40.

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