home | | artist spotlight | aerial glossary | artist discussion forum
gear & costumes | photos & videos | classes & booking

Click here for costume ideas!!!

You can easily create your own aerial tissu & lyra costumes!
Here are some ideas for costumes and aerial artist gear, and tips for purchasing aerial tissu or lyra equipment

Aerial dance & silks costumes are easy to make if you are creative. Many artists faced with their first performance or photo shoot are faced with that universal question, "What should I wear?" But unlike the times you face that question when attending a party or special event, there are fewer rules (and shops!) to help guide you when selecting your aerial dance costume.

First, Decide on Your Theme

For some aerial dancers, the music and choreography come first in the creative process. This means that the costume design is driven by the theme and feel of the routine, or the music. If this is how your process went, then you probably already have a good idea of the look and feel you are going for.

For other aerialists, the costume idea comes first, and then the act is choreographed around that look. If this is the stage you are at, then you need to ask yourself what inspires you today: Sexy? Powerful? A story? A mood? Certain colors? None of these are the "right" way to brainstorm a costume idea, but asking yourself these questions will help you get your creativity flowing.

Then, Begin to Sketch Ideas

You do not have to be a great artist to sketch ideas. Be sure to have color pencils or markers with you, not just a pen or pencil, because you will want to experiment with color ideas. If you are not a drawer, do not despair. One idea is to take a magazine or catalog that shows fitness scenes or people in bathing suits, and to then take a thin piece of paper to trace the outline of the model's body. This will give you a blank "template" for the basic human form, on which you can try your designs.

Then, Decide on Appropriate Materials

Once you have envisioned your design and drawn it out, you need to figure out how to turn your creative ideas into reality. Here are some key items to keep in mind: For safety and effectiveness, select fabric and embellishments suitable for aerial dance. For example, if your apparatus is silks, you should not use sharp sequins which could cut the fabric or scratch your skin, rough materials which would create too much friction to do drops, or material that is too slippery and would not let you maintain the proper grip. Also keep in mind whether your feet, arms, and other body parts are exposed or protected. for example, in trapeze, having a costume element over your ankles is probably desirable, whereas this would be a bad thing for tissu. Be cautious of free-hanging ribbons or other elements which could get tangled in the fabric or could get in your eyes and impair your vision. also, beware of any fabrics which would increase your sweating and contribute to overheating.

Get Creative

Feathers, black-light glow-in-the-dark paint, temporary skin tatoos, body jewels, makeup effects, temporary hair color, and other elements can add creative flair to your look. Consider adding a prop, such as a red wax apple for an adam and eve routine, or a bird of feathers to go with a bird costume.

Thrift Stores & Secondhand Stores

To save money on purchasing material, try visiting a local thrift store. You can cheaply buy fabrics, stretch pants, tank tops, and even wigs and other accessories. You should wash anything you purchase to be sure it is clean and preshrunk. These stores can also be a source of inspiration-- sometimes a fun piece of fabric or unique accessory can inspire your whole costume.

Learn to Sew

Sewing is not as difficult as it may seem. Be sure to read a tutorial on how to sew stretchy fabric. Also, sometime fabric glue is an easy alternative to sewing. Sometimes, you will find that your design requires strategic cutting more than sewing. By taking a body stocking or tights and cutting them in interesting ways, you can create some amazing designs.


Once you have created your design, please do not forget to take photos! During your performance, you might not get as many photos of your costume as you might want, so plan to take some photos of your costume on your body while on the ground so that you can create a permanent memory of your creation. Please email your costume photos to info (at) suspendeddance.com if you want to have your costume featured on this site!

Gear Purchase: Now that you have costumes, what about gear for your personal practice?

For home practice or for your gym or studio, it is easy to purchase a set of silks. If you want to add aerial yoga to your home practice, or are hanging silks from a low ceiling just to practice knots, you will not need as long a fabric. For taller spaces, you will need to purchase at least double the height of the ceiling because the fabric gets doubled over.

First, Purchase Fabric, Figure-8, and Swivel (Optional)

The best aerial fabric is nylon tricot, which is sometimes also used to make slips and underwear. Fabricdepotco.com and several fabric retailers in the Los Angeles fabric mart can ship you the right type of fabric as many fabric sellers are now very familiar with aerial artist needs. Make sure your fabric dealer confirms that he or she has worked with professional aerialists before, and get a referral to another fabric seller if you sense the person is not being truthful.You can purchase the figure-8 and swivel from REI Outdoor stores online or other rock climbing stores.

Then, Get Professional Rigging

Do not hang your own equipment unless you are a certified rigger. It is not just about the fabric, but also the place selected to hang the equipment. If the wring ceiling or beam is chosen, your life could be at risk. Do not take chances wit rigging and consult a professional.

Then, Practice Only Under Supervision

Aerial arts are like scuba diving or skiing. You do not want to get into trouble when you are alone and no one can help. There is too much danger. Be sure to always have a buddy with you, just in case. Aerial arts present the possibility of falls, accidental hanging, and getting stuck in a knot high off the ground. Even if you set up equipment at home, you should never use it unless someone is with you.

The links below will take you to third-party retailers offering products you may be interested in for your suspended dance arts! Whether you are a professional performer or a novice, it's always fun to see the gear that is out there!

SuspendedDance.com is not a retailer, and none of these items are sold through this website. These products are for reference and informational purposes only, and SuspendedDance.com makes no warranties or representations as to the suitability or quality of these items. All retail items shown on this website are sold by third parties and are presented for reference and illustration only. All purchase transactions are solely between the site visitor and the third-party retailer.

home | | artist spotlight | aerial glossary | artist discussion forum
gear & costumes | photos & videos | classes & booking

This website is for informational purposes only. No one should attempt to learn or try aerial arts or suspended dance forms without the supervision of a qualified instructor. All retail items shown on this website are sold by third parties and are presented for reference and illustration only. SuspendedDance.com does not guarantee the suitability or quality of the items, and is not a retailer.  All purchase transactions are solely between the site visitor and the third-party retailer.

Site design and content © 2008 - 2012 Cabri Media. All rights reserved.