Product (p)review: Aerial Spinning Reference Guide by Aaron Kozloff feat. Angela Prescott PT, DPT, CSCS
The first time Aaron Kozloff and I met we immediately struck up a conversation centred around mutual values of teaching, anatomy and the application of tried and true principles. So when he asked me to review this new work, the physiotherapist and performing artist in me was overjoyed to be reading something not only of scientific value but something practical to apply to our work as aerialists. This in-depth guide is part-drill part-skill based and chock full of gems that come with years of practical experience in this niche industry of ours. Straight up I will say this isn't for the faint hearted, both the theoretical information it covers and the drills, exercises and skills on which the guide is based (two/one and a half/one arm spinning flares into a variety of ending positions including meathook and flag) are high level. However I think that's where its value lies, in giving that middle-to-upper level group of circus artists some real anatomical and biomechanical meat to sink our teeth into. And I don't say that lightly, seeing as there is an abundance of STUFF out there, not all of it good, and not all of it readily applicable. This is a great resource, and personally I found a lot of it very useful to build on my current level of strength and knowledge of the physics of spin.
The inclusion of physiotherapy tips throughout the guide on injury prevention and adequate strengthening are fantastic and an Anatomy Appendix serves to define a lot of the scientific information that grounds the theory of the drills and will please the movement geeks (like me). However the text itself IS lengthy and can be a bit jargonistic so take it slow or do as Aaron suggests - skim read the whole thing and then savour it slowly in bite sized pieces for more detail. My advice, watch the videos and follow along with the pictures and attempt only a few drills/skills each training session.
At first glance the drills seem basic (they always do, in fact they must be because in essence they are a watered down version of the full skill) but I'd never heard the term 'floorial' - which describes a drill or mini-tutorial to practice part or all of the action on the floor - so I spent some time reading through the entire guide and practicing these "floorials". In terms of training the muscular patterning and neurological connections they are great but they mostly give you some muscle memory for the leg action and so don't expect to jump from the floor based drills into the full skill in the air.
Because the guide is specifically addressing spinning strength and technique it is most applicable for straps and split-piece work on silks or hammock. Personally I've learnt more steps to progress towards a reverse flag and one arm flare to meathook and readers will still gain lots of overhead positioning technique for spinning and one-arm skills in general. It certainly hits at a niche for advanced students but I will go as far as to say its a must-read for any teachers who include flares in their spin repertoire and any of these higher level one arm skills. Release date is set for April 6th and right now Aaron is doing a free giveaway challenge on both his Instagram (@circkoz) and Facebook (Aaron Koz) pages! You can also check out their websites: