With everything that has been changing so fast – we as aerialists have for the most part been left out in the cold. Living in a house with 8 foot tall ceilings doesn’t afford much space for aerial. Perhaps a pole, the technology for these being portable and convenient is actually quite good! However – ordering them right now the best brands are so backed up from the influx of orders that ladies have been waiting for weeks! So that offers an (imperfect) solution for pole, but what about other apparatus?
Any apparatus that has to hang from the ceiling (hoop, hammock, or silks) is more complicated than than a pole. Poles can be pressure mounted so they fit snugly between the floor and ceiling – pushing on both to stay in place. With an aerial attachment, there is just one force – downward. So in order for an aerial attachment point to be safe, it needs to be able to withstand a lot of force. A typical floor or ceiling joist in a house is NOT made to withstand these types of downward forces on them.
This leaves really two options: 1 – invest in a portable rig – which typically require a lot of space so can only really be used well in a garage, outside, a barn or something of that nature or 2 – pay a structural engineer to redesign your joists/trusses. Having done the latter of the two in my new house I can tell you it is not cheap! I happen to have recently completed my house. From the start I knew I wanted an aerial attachment point in my studio space. So, when my husband and I started the design I had to work with a structural engineer on the floor/ceiling trusses in that room to make sure that they would be capable of handling the load of my master bathroom AND my aerial attachment point underneath it. Because of the high work load on these trusses we could not use a standard building truss – we had to buy specially designed ones because of their unique role and amount of forces they’d need to be able to withstand. They also needed unique reinforcements that a typical floor would not have. I was in, working with the architect and engineer from the beginning of our project – double checking them every step of the way to make sure that behind the scenes and under my drywall I KNOW that my rigging point is safe for me to use. My safety is my priority – so if I couldn’t have done it safely, I wouldn’t have put the aerial attachment point. I did the work, and paid the extra money to be certain that I would be safe rigging from my ceiling.
I love my lyra – and I’m glad it worked out that I could have an attachment point at home. But if I hadn’t built a house and had that in mind from the start, there is no way I could have ever been able to do that.