At Aerial Dance we train on 4 different apparatus: Hoop, hammock, silks, and pole. We also offer specialty workshops with other apparatus like chair and heels (yes, I consider them an apparatus). Each one is unique and has its own special challenges. Each person enjoys different aspects of their choice apparatus.
Pole is a hard metal object that we like to wrap our bodies around. Dancers can twist and contort, right-side-up or up-side-down into all sorts of amazing shapes. You can climb to the top and slowly changes poses as we descend, or flow around the base using the floor to help create different lines. You can use it to spin like a top, or challenge yourself by making the pole static, and trying to create your own momentum. Once you get used to the fact that the pole is a metal object and can (and usually does when starting) cause bruising, it is such a versatile apparatus that I can’t imagine running out of things to learn!
Hammock is a wide piece of fabric attached to the ceiling from both of its ends so it creates a sling. Wrapping and rolling into different shapes in the hammock is so different from pole, but you can create an amazing variety of shapes here too! The hammock can also be switched between spinning and not – however even when the hammock is not attached to a swivel to spin, it is still going to swing and spin a bit. With hammock the drawback that I find is that it pinches/squeezes the user. As you wrap up, it literally starts to squish you a bit.
Silks is the same type of fabric as hammock, but tied in the middle leaving two long tails hanging down. By climbing and tying yourself in the silks, amazing shapes and poses are made. One of my favorite parts of silks is doing drops. By strategically tying and wrapping up in the silks, you can release to roll and drop into different poses in a most dramatic fashion! As with hammock, the downside to me for silks is that again, it squishes you as you tie and wrap up in it.
Hoop, also formally known as lyra, is my personal favorite. It is a metal ring hanging from the ceiling, so it swings and spins in all directions. The hardest part of hoop is getting into the hoop since it tries to run away with your own momentum as you lift in. Once you’re in though, the shapes are endless! Since the hoop is like pole, a metal object, it can also cause some bruising.
I enjoy all of our apparatus, and as I mentioned I do have my favorite, we all do. I highly recommend trying them all at least twice before deciding they might not be for you. Once you get used to the feel of them, they might not be so uncomfortable anymore!