Our fabric teacher training is broken up into five levels with each level providing lesson plans and skills for six months of aerial instruction.
Each six-month period has 24 lessons that can be used weekly to span the hundreds of skills covered in the program. Levels one and two encompass what we believe are the beginner skills and aerial foundations. Levels three and four cover intermediate skills and focus on preparing students with appropriate progressions to later achieve advanced skills. Level five is an open-ended advanced training category where theory explorations and more difficult skills are taught.
In addition to covering aerial fabric skills, we include industry appropriate topics to supplement each level of training that an instructor goes though. Topics include spotting techniques, rigging, anatomy, movement language and cuing, classroom management, customizing and creating progressions, emergency protocols and risk management. Our teacher training program may be purchased separate from our curriculum resources but a price is reduced if purchased, as intended, in tandem.
A key focus of the program is providing progressions for complex skills early on so that by the time a student is attempting a skill in the air the student has already become as familiar with the movement patterns as possible to achieve success. Our curriculum utilizes knots, wrist locks, and floor drills to help physically and mentally prepare students for what their body needs to accomplish. This preparation helps students successfully execute skills while also keeping students as safe as possible in their journey to achieving more difficult skills.
The original Dragonfly Aerial Company teacher training program was created by Mistia Fallon
The original Dragonfly Aerial Company teacher training program was created by Mistia Fallon in 2015 for gymnastic instructors in gymnastic facilities that desired to incorporate safety focused, progression based, aerial programs for their gymnasts. Since 2017 we have been the premier nationally recognized, safety focused, aerial program for gymnastic facilities nationwide. In 2019 Mckell Anderson was brought in to broaden the program by extensively expanding progressions and more thoroughly exploring fabric theory in order to accommodate all demographics of students in our programs. Our program was no longer targeting elite gymnastics but would easily accommodate mom’s desiring to get their pre-baby bells back and students of all sizes and abilities.
The staff and trainers at Dragonfly have contributed to the program’s development providing aerial experience that is geographically diverse. We’ve used the best practices and experiences our staff have encountered from leading industry instructors and educators from around the world as our foundation. Our staff strives for continuous improvement and try to instill the need for long term learning in all our trainees, via our program and many other valuable resources.
We do not believe you can prepare an aerial coach in 30 hours. What makes Dragonfly different than other teaching programs is that we provide detailed week by week curriculum for our coaches. We not only teach them how to lesson plan, but we send them out with up to 4 years of weekly lesson plans.
In addition we offer continued education and support on how to expand your aerial program through value add curriculums like camps, parties, parents night out, mixed apparatus classes, bootcamps and creating community based groups like performance companies and competition teams. We are here to direct you to the resources you need to insure your space is structurally sound and we can even give suggestions on marketing your programs.
Aerial Fabric Master Trainer & curriculum contributor for Dragonfly licensing
Mistia Fallon is an active member of the American Circus Educators and Insurance Committee member for the organization and strongly encourages all those with a desire to coach aerial to participate in this organization and continue to strive for the betterment of our community as a whole. Our program follows the American Circus Educators Guidelines for aerial coaches. We’ve been in the industry almost 25 years and have produced hundreds of fantastic aerial coaches. We look forward to having you join our community of great coaches!
Level 1 Teacher Training
Establishing fundamentals is the primary focus and the foundation provided in this level is built upon in all subsequent trainings. For aerial skills, this level focuses on progressions to help prepare students for the following: climbing, wrist locks, foot locks, hip keys, and inversions. By utilizing conditioning and knot-based progressions these aerial essentials are developed along with over 145 additional skills. This level provides day one training for new students and spans content that begins to develop knee release drop technique in a knot.
The educational portion of this teacher training covers topics that instructors need to create a successful and positive classroom experience. These topics include warm ups/cool downs, movement pathways, understanding forces on the body, spotting techniques, effective cueing, leadership, fundamental rigging, classroom management and safety.
The Aerial Teacher’s Handbook by Julianna Hane
Level 2 Teacher Training
Up, up, and away! The skills goal for this session is to get students literally working at a higher level. Once students have gotten their foot locks, hip keys, and inversions from standing on the ground the next step is progressing the students to being able to execute those skills in the air. Using many of the progression techniques introduced in level one, the content of this level is meant to take students into more complicated foot lock skills, gain the ability to execute fundamental skills in the air, and be introduced to the fundamental drops patterns of falling forward, backward, and rolling horizontally.
The educational portion of this teacher training covers topics to expand the instructor’s knowledge of the human body to better observe student’s execution and cue engagement from a place of deeper understanding. These topics include wrap fundamentals, abdominals engagement, overhead shoulder mechanics, hip mobility, flexibility, and hypermobility.
Applied Anatomy of Aerial Arts by Dr. Emily Scherb
The Fundamentals of Aerial Alignment by Shannon McKenna (eBook)
Level 3 Teacher Training
A whole new world! Once aerialists have achieved the milestone of being able to execute hip keys and inverts in the air confidently, a whole new skill set become the foundation for working in the air. Students need to be discerning with wraps and theory begins to play a more important role in the learning process as skills become more challenging. Transitions and sequences become more complex requiring strength, memory, and endurance. This is also the beginning stage for conditioning exercises that are a staple of more advanced work, such as: back balances, windmills, meathooks, and momentum.
The educational portion of this teacher training focuses on adding depth to the instructor’s teaching knowledge by establishing basic fabric theory, more in-depth rigging knowledge, lesson planning, periodization, troubleshooting plateaus, injury prevention and fall safety.
Proximal: An Introduction to Aerial Theory by Dara Minkin
Level 4 Teacher Training
Fabric Theory, Creativity, Special populations: pregnancy, elderly
Level 5 Teacher Training
Level five is an open-ended advanced training category where theory explorations and more difficult skills are taught.
Aerial Directors Training
Dragonfly Aerial Company has launched 15 aerial programs nationwide through our licensing program and home base. (We’ve also aided in the launch of another 5 aerial programs, inadvertently, here in Colorado). With almost 25 years in the industry, we have seen a lot. If you are a lover of aerial and wanting to launch an aerial studio and staff it with talented coaches or you are a high level aerial coach wanting to go out on your own…in an ethical manner, this is the place to get valuable information that can save you years, dollars and a bit of heartache. We’ll talk about LLC’s vs. Corp, employees vs. contractors, renting vs. owning, tenant improvement responsibilities, curriculums, payroll companies, business ethics, insurances, organizational affiliations, competitions, planning performances, revenue adds through special programming, Human Resources, marketing, grant writing, non-profit vs. profit status and the beauty/challenges of write off’s and governing boards, studio culture, reporting responsibilities, taxes and how local competition and the free market make us better!
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