Are you wondering how it all works here at New Moon? What does 1a mean? Or 2c? Do I need to know the same things to get into Lyra 1b as I do to get into Aerial 1b? Where do my skills from another studio fit in?

This document is intended to help you understand how we structure things here, what our different course levels mean, and how you progress through our curriculum. This guide can also suggest where your skills from another studio might fit into our structure, but class placement must be determined by a coach with a class placement assessment.

If you are starting your aerial journey here at New Moon, you will start with our ABC series.

ABC (intro) Level

The ABCs (aerial basics classes) will introduce you to some foundational skills that will give you the foothold you need to begin your exploration of aerial arts.

To graduate fully from ABCs, you will need to demonstrate competency in these skills:

  • Basic climb and inchworm descent
  • Footlock from a climb
  • Unsupported inversion on a vertical apparatus
  • Inversion in a sling and gazelle exercise
  • Front balance
  • Trapeze mount to sitting

Meeting all those skill requirements makes you eligible for Aerial 1a, a mixed apparatus class.

In addition to Aerial 1a, we also offer apparatus-specific level 1a classes that only require the skills needed for that apparatus:

Lyra 1a

  • Front Balance
  • Trapeze mount to sitting

Sling 1a

  • Inversion in a sling and gazelle exercise
  • Front Balance
  • Trapeze mount to sitting

Level One

In our curriculum, Level 1 is considered our Beginners’ level. This level is broken into 2 sub-levels: 1a and 1b. In 1a classes, students are learning beginner level skills while they build strength, confidence, and an understanding of basic movement concepts. In level 1b, students are continuing their skill exploration while building endurance and expanding their understanding of aerial concepts, terminology, and technique. Students at this level will begin linking moves together in short sequences.

Level One Graduation Requirements

Aerial 1a

Vertical Skills:

  • Solid inversion from the ground + working towards inverting in the air
  • Russian climb 
  • Flying Dutchman (aka footlock rollup, candy cane rollup)
  • Rebecca Splits
  • Double Footlocks + crossing the panels behind the back
  • Catchers wrap + Peter Pan exit

Trapeze Skills:

  • Catchers
  • Butt-slap sit-up
  • Star + Reverse Star
  • Standing on the bar + standing balance poses
  • Gazelle
  • Mermaid (on and under the bar)
  • Bird’s Nest 
  • Half Angel
  • Candlestick

Lyra 1a

  • Lock off hold
  • Straddle back
  • Clock Split
  • Standard spin
  • Paddle spin
  • Lion in a Tree
  • Front balance undulations
  • Mermaid
  • Man in the Moon
  • Gazelle
  • Cuddle
  • Seated on top
  • Straddle mount (center and side)
  • Horse

Aerial 1b

Vertical Skills

  • Level One footlock sequence
  • Double crochet and angel prep
  • Hiplock from a Russian climb
  • Croissant
  • Candlestick
  • The Jay rotation
  • Figure 8 wrap
  • Hiplock from an opposite side knee hook
  • Salto

Trapeze Skills

  • Rock N Roll
  • Straddle Back
  • One-Leg Pop On
  • Splits Under the Bar
  • Dragonfly
  • Foot flag
  • Coffin
  • Seated Rollover
  • Knee beats
  • Catchers beats
  • Ability to link all level 1a skills into a sequence

Lyra 1b

  • Straddle up with hips high and good form
  • Single knee hang
  • Back balance
  • Single skinner (Russian roll)
  • Gazelle Split
  • Shoulder Stand
  • Single Hip Hold
  • Spin endurance
  • Overhand pull-up
  • Comfort and confidence moving on top of the bar
  • Ability and endurance to link multiple moves into short sequences or combos

sling 1

  • Clean pullover with sling at chest height
  • Undulations to front balance
  • C-shaped transition from front balance to back straddle and vice versa
  • 270 and 360 dives from diaper
  • Tuck inversion from standing
  • Endurance enough for an approximately 2 minute sequence

Level 2

Level 2 is considered our intermediary level. Students at this level are experienced in the air and have developed a basic understanding of safe practice and movement concepts. At this level, students are building their understanding of theoretical components of aerial arts while expanding their vocabulary and improving their endurance.

Vertical Level 2 is divided into 3 sub-levels: Level 2a – Foundations of Intermediate Rope and Fabric, Level 2b – Continuing Intermediate Skill Development, and Level 2c – Advanced Intermediate Strength and Skill Development

Level 2 Graduation Requirements

Vertical 2a

  • Understanding of the mechanics of Windmill (aka wheeldown) and the ability to do one solid, controlled rotation
  • Understanding of the components of a straddle climb and working towards multiple in a row
  • Scissor Hiplock
  • Aerial Dance Footlocks
  • Understanding of the structure of core vertical wraps, how they relate to one another, and how we use them to stay up

Vertical 2b

  • Proficiency with all 2a graduation skills
  • Comfort in a single pole crucifix
  • Star Drop
  • Forward dive (salto, wrapped 360, or similar)
  • Ball (aka front balance)
  • Belay wrap (any entry)
  • Comfort with basic beats (bell, turnpike, scissor, front-back)
  • Comfort with complex, multi-step wraps
  • Familiarity with alternative grips (flamenco, selfie)
  • Solid bent-arm, straight-leg inversion with good form
  • Endurance to stay in the air for 2 minutes at a time

Vertical 2c

  • Proficiency with 2b graduation skills
  • Double Star Drop
  • Back Salto
  • Side Salto
  • Familiarity with straddle beats and flairs
  • Experience with c-shape roll downs
  • Straight arm inversion

Trapeze 2

  • Ability to do all level 1b sequences
  • Ability to comfortably invert and move around in the ropes
  • Solid front balance transitions
  • Solid pullover
  • Ankle Hang
  • Single Knee Hang
  • Solid basic beats – knee, catchers, body, pike
  • Ability to stay in the air for 3 minutes

Lyra 2

  • Proficiency with all Lyra Level 1 requirements
  • Strong spin endurance
  • Endurance to stay in the air for 3 minutes
  • Comfort transitioning between multiple skills in sequences
  • 5 straight-arm lower-downs from tuck or pike

Level 3

Level 3 is our Advanced level and the highest level in our course progression. There is no promotion beyond level 3, but highly advanced students may seek private coaching to work towards specific, or individualized goals outside of the group class progression.

Aerial Straps, Handstands, and Flexibility

Straps, handstands, and flexibility each have their own structure and progression. These disciplines use qualifiers such as Beginning, Continuing, Intermediate, and Advanced rather than numerical level distinctions.

Aerial Straps

Straps is a highly technical strength-based discipline. To be admitted into Beginning Straps students must meet one-on-one with a straps coach to assess their physical readiness and to get an introduction to the concepts addressed in class.

To progress from Beginning Straps to Continuing Straps, students must demonstrate an understanding of shoulder positioning and body mechanics during fundamental skills. Additionally, students must be able to execute the following skills:

  • 5 straight arm leg lifts (toes to hands) without levering
  • 5 leg lift to skin the cats with minimal spotting
  • 3 tick tocks maintaining a flat back throughout (does not need to be full range, but should get past the hands)
  • 3 Nutcrackers to each arm with minimal spotting
  • 3 meathooks to each arm (does not need to be closed, but they should be able to maintain their shoulder pull and body position) 

There is currently no group straps class beyond Continuing Straps. More advanced students may seek private coaching.


Our handstand classes build towards balancing unsupported on your hands while exploring shapes and weight shifts. To be admitted to Beginning Handstands, students must already be able to kick up to handstand against a wall. Students who are not yet ready for Beginning Handstands can work privately with our handstand coach to gain the necessary strength and stability. 

To progress from Beginning Handstands to Intermediate Handstands students must be able to hold a handstand unsupported with good form and come out of it safely and with ease. Students should also be familiar with the 3 basic handstand shapes: straight, tuck, and straddle.