What Do I Need to Know About The Aviary?

WE LOVE CIRCUS AND WE CAN'T WAIT TO PLAY WITH YOU! We work hard to create and continue a supportive, safe, and welcoming culture for all and, as a new member of our community, we ask that you be able to agree to the following:

  • I will listen to my body, celebrating its accomplishments and respecting its limitations

  • I will respect my instructors and fellow students

  • I will adhere to the rules and policies of The Aviary, as they are in place for the safety of both myself and the studio

Do I Need Upper Body Strength To Take Class?

Nope! That's exactly what classes are for; building you up! Our Aerial Boot Camp and Intro classes are geared towards absolute newbies and are designed to build strength, flexibility, and confidence. You don't need to be able to do a pull up to begin aerial training.

Where Are Your Locations?

The Ann Arbor Aviary is located in Ann Arbor ONLY. Please see Contact Us and scroll down for map link & directions!

Is There a Minimum Fitness Level Required?

All levels and all body types are welcome! Persons with very limited mobility may find the pace of group classes too challenging and may prefer one on one training.

It is recommended that everyone check with their physician before beginning a new exercise program, but students with the following conditions must consult their doctor before participating in aerial acrobatics:

  • pregnancy

  • glaucoma

  • recent surgery (exp. shoulder, eyes, back, hip, band, or wrist)

  • heart disease

  • very high or low blood pressure

  • vertigo

  • osteoporosis/bone weakness

  • head injury

  • cerebral sclerosis

  • fainting/vasovagal syncopy

  • carpal tunnel

  • severe arthritis

  • sinusitis or head cold

  • hiatal hernia

  • disc herniation or degenerative disc disease

  • recent stroke

  • artificial joins

  • radiculitis

  • sciatica

  • severe muscle spasms

What Level Class Should I Take?

If this is your first foray in the aerial arts, welcome!

You should sign up for Aerial Boot Camp or an Intro Level aerial class, regardless of your physical condition and/or previous non-aerial experience.

Students will stay in each level until they have mastered the skills necessary to graduate to the next level class. This process is individualized and may require many classes in the same level before you are physically and mentally ready to level up.

We recommend taking conditioning classes to accelerate your progress and checking in with your instructor to determine when you will be ready to move up to the next class level. If you have previous aerial experience, please review the class prerequisites to determine which class is appropriate for your skill level.

I Have Previous Aerial Experience, Do I have To Take An Intro Class?

Not if you have already mastered the skills listed in the class prerequsites! Please review them (located in the class descriptions under Classes above) to see which level is appropriate for your current skill set and then contact us. Be sure to include in your message where you have been training, what apparatus, and what level class you would like to join.

Do I have to Register for a Session or Can I Try a Single Class?

All classes are available for single class registration and are continuously running. You are welcome to join at any time!

How Much Does It Cost?

Please see Pricing for details.

How Do I Sign Up?

To see the full class schedule and sign up, please click on "Sign Up" at the top of the page. This will take you to our online scheduling system, CircusDB .

In order to sign up for a class, you will need to have a matching credit on your account before clicking on sign up next to the class you wish to attend. Credits may be purchased from the Purchase tab in CircusDB and are processed via PayPal.

Please be sure to sign up for all classes you wish to attend; popular classes/workshops tend to sell out quickly, while those with less than three students registered may be cancelled. You will receive an email 24 hours or more before the start time of class, or a phone call if there is a last minute cancelation due to weather, illness, etc.

Can I See Your Schedule Without Registering?

Our weekly schedule can be found here . This is meant to be used as general overview of the weekly Aviary schedule. This schedule MAY NOT BE ACCURATE for the current week and does not include workshops, shows, and other special events. Only CircusDB is accurate up to the minute.

Do I Have to Sign Up Before I Arrive to Class?

Yes, please! There are no drop-in classes at the Aviary. All students must register in our online schedule system ( CircusDB ) and sign up for class BEFORE arriving to the studio.

Class credits must be purchased before signing up for class, and students must purchase credits/sign up for all classes they wish to take before arriving to the studio - we do not have support staff or a cash register onsite.

What Should I Wear?

  • Please wear comfortable, close-fitting clothing that allows freedom of movement and covers backs of the knees, underarms, and waist when hands are extended above the head.
  • Loose shirts and shorts are not recommended as they can get caught on the apparatus.
  • It is strongly recommended that persons with external genitalia wear briefs, not boxers.
  • Bare feet – please make sure they are clean and fresh.
  • Long hair tied back.
  • No jewelry, rivets, zippers, or anything else which could catch on or damage the apparatus.
  • No hand lotion (it will interfere with your grip).
  • No heavy fragrances, natural or otherwise.
  • Students will be most comfortable practicing on an empty stomach, a light meal or a two-hour window between your last meal and class is recommended.
  • Please check class description for activity specific clothing requirements.
  • Bring a water bottle, you will need it! Filtered water is available across from the locker rooms to refill your bottle.

What Should I Expect When I Arrive for Class?

  • Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the start time of class and be prepared to store all personal items in the locker room (except water bottles, cell phones, and any props necessary to your training).
  • Locks are available for your use while in the studio and the locker room is located down the hall and to the left of the studio. Please leave your keys in on the lock rack to help you remember to return the lock after class.
  • Please WASH YOUR HANDS or use hand sanitizer before touching the apparatus. There are sinks (and even showers!) located in the locker rooms.
  • Street shoes must be placed on the mats outside the studio before entering.
  • All Aviary classes begin with a vigorous warm up, for safety and to prevent injuries. Students who arrive more than 10 minutes late or do not participate in this warm up may not be allowed to participate in class, but are encouraged to stay, observe class, and take notes.
  • The warm-up is mandatory, but all other class activities are optional. If a student does not wish to attempt a particular pose or sequence, that is totally ok! We believe in 100% consensual circus. The student need only inform the instructor, who may be able to offer an alternative.
  • Bring a notebook, and take notes! You will be glad you did when your instructor clears you for Play Flight.
  • The Aviary’s courses are structured so that students must master certain skills before moving up to the next level. It may require many classes in the same level before you are physically and mentally ready to level up. Students must master the prerequisites (listed in the class descriptions) AND receive their instructor’s permission before they can register for the next level.
  • The material you are learning is challenging and may push your limits, both physically and mentally. We ask that you listen to your body, celebrating its accomplishments and respecting its limitations, and refrain from negative self-talk.
  • Your instructors, while amazing in other ways, are not able to read your mind. If you are struggling in class, please VERBALLY ask for help. We are here to support you!
  • Please support your fellow students; pay attention to them while they take their turn in the air and respect their practice by keeping your focus on class. Clapping, cheering, compliments, and positive feedback are all strongly encouraged!
  • All Aviary students must be able to listen to and follow the directions of the instructor and/or staff. Aviary instructors have full discretion to dismiss from class any student whose behavior is disruptive or whom they deem unsafe to participate for any reason. If the problem persists, a meeting with the student, the instructor, and the studio owner will be scheduled to discuss this policy. Students who are dismissed from class for behavior problems will not be refunded or credited, nor can their payment be transferred to another person.

What If the Class I Want to Take is Sold Out?

If your desired class is full, you can always join the wait list by clicking “waitlist” on the CircusDB class schedule. When a spot becomes available, you will receive an email but you will NOT be automatically added to class. You must log in after receiving the email and sign up. Signing up for the wait list does not take away from your class credits.

What If I’m the Only Person Signed Up For Class?

Classes with less than 3 students signed up are subject to cancellation at the instructor’s discretion.

  • If you are registered for a class which is cancelled with 24 hours or more of notice, you will receive an automated email from CircusDB.
  • If the class is cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice, you will receive a text or phone call from your instructor. The credit for the cancelled class will be returned to your CircusDB account.
  • Your instructor may offer you a private lesson or a shorter class to avoid cancellation.

I Want to Bring a Friend to Class, How Do I Register Them?

All students must have their own separate account in our online scheduling system. This account must be created and the included waiver signed by the student themselves or, if under 18, the student's parent or legal guardian. If the student is under 18, a parent or legal guardian MUST be present at their first class.

We can link family and friend accounts so that you only have to remember one password to sign everyone up and you can share credits between linked accounts. Please contact us once all accounts have been created) to be linked!

May I Bring a Guest or My Child to Watch Class?

Guests who are not participating in class are welcome to observe from the hallway, and may join you inside the studio for up to 10 minutes, but must pay the class registration fee to remain inside for a longer period of time.

Please do not bring children to adult classes. No one under 18 may participate in adult classes and The Aviary does not have childcare on site. Children may observe up to ten minutes of any class in the studio and all of class from the hallway, as long as they are accompanied by an adult who is not participating in class.

Children may not wait unaccompanied in the hall.

May I Observe My Child's Class?

Parents/guardians are welcome to observe the entirety of their children’s classes from the hallway. Parents may join us inside the studio for the last 5 minutes of class or when invited by the instructor . If the parent becomes a distraction or cannot follow the teacher and/or staff’s instructions, both the parent and the child may be dismissed from class.

Can My Child Attend Adult Classes?

Children may not attend adult classes. Only those 18+ may register for adult classes, regardless of their physical condition and/or previous experience . We believe that playing is an essential part of happiness and health, one which is often left behind as we age. As there are many opportunities for young people to be challenged and supported in a playful, creative, and physically active environment, we ask that you respect our studio policy and our mission to provide adult only spaces for play. Please do not ask us to make an exception for your child.

What is Play Flight and How Do I Sign Up?

Play Flight is open gym time for established and an opportunity to hone skills you have learned in class, condition, work on sequencing, get feedback from your fellow students, practice an upcoming routine for LIFT OFF, and have fun!

  • All students must have approval to participate, please check with your instructor to see if you are ready to fly solo.
  • Visiting students from other studios are welcome, but you will need to attend at least one group aerial class or private lesson in order for our instructors to determine if you have the experience and skills necessary to practice without guidance/spotting before joining our unproctored open gym time.

    • This does not include Aerial Boot Camp, which is a conditioning circuit class.
    • Please be sure to arrive 5-10 minutes early and alert the instructor before class begins that you wish to be assessed for Play Flight clearance. Open gym time is a privilege granted to those who have been approved by an Aviary instructor to train unattended according to our studio standards, no exceptions will be made. Thank you for respecting our commitment to safe training practices.

  • Professional performers and instructors, please contact us with a link to your website to be cleared for Play Flight.

Do I Need to Bring My Own Yoga Mat, Blocks, etc?

The Aviary provides yoga mats, blocks, Therabands, bolsters, etc for your convenience, and they must be wiped down and replaced after use. You are also welcome to bring your own props, as long as they leave with you at the end of your training session.

May I Take Photos/Videos in Class?

The Aviary does not allow students or observers to record video or take pictures during class unless permission has been expressly granted by the instructor . The taking of videos/pictures during class is entirely up to the instructor’s discretion.

If you are recording video/taking pictures during open gym time, DO NOT film your fellow students (or anyone else) without their consent! Please be aware of your surroundings and who is in the background of your shot.

Aviary staff may record video and take photos during class. We will not email these recordings or photos to individual students; they will be posted to our social media for you to copy/download. It is our policy to never tag students in these photos, in case you want to keep your circus secret, but we strongly encourage you to tag yourself and show your friends and family all the amazing stuff you can do!

What if I Miss a Class?

It is your responsibility to attend the class(es) you have registered for and cancel the ones you will not attend. If you are going to miss a class, please cancel your reservation in CircusDB at least 24 hours before the start time of class.

We will not credit your account for no shows or late cancels. All early cancels will be fully credited to your CircusDB account.

Workshops are non-refundable.

What is the Aviary's Cancellation/Refund Policy?

All sales are final, with the exception of workshops cancelled by the Aviary and Youth Summer Camps.

Group Classes & Private Instruction : It is your responsibility to attend the class(es) you have registered for and cancel the ones you will not attend. If you are going to miss a class, please cancel your reservation in CircusDB at least 24 hours before the start time of class. We will not credit your account for no shows or late cancels. All early cancels will be fully credited to your CircusDB account.

Workshops : A2A is pleased to offer specialized workshops taught by instructors traveling from all over the world and can only be held once a minimum number of students have registered. There is a custom price package set for each individual workshop or series of workshops and that package cannot be applied to ongoing classes. As such, we are unable to offer account credit, pro-rating, or transfers of any kind. If the workshop is cancelled by the Aviary, you will be refunded via PayPal.

Private Parties : We work hard to coordinate studio and instructor schedules to insure that your private party is fun, safe, and unforgettable. As such, we require full payment to make a reservation. Events cancelled with two weeks’ notice are entitled to a full refund, events cancelled with one week of notice are entitled to a 50% refund, and no refunds or credits will be issued with less than one week of notice.

Camps : Individual days missed by a camper are non-refundable, and cannot be credited, pro-rated, or exchanged. Cancellations/refund requests submitted 30 days or more before the start date of the camp session will be refunded via PayPal minus a $50 processing fee (per camper, per session). Cancellations/refund requests submitted 14 days or more before the start date of the camp session will be refunded via Paypal minus a $100 processing fee (per camper, per session. No refunds, credits, pro-rating, or exchanges will be issued for cancellations/refund requests submitted less than 14 days before the start of camp.

Aviary Performances : We commit ourselves to delivering a stunning performance for your event. As such, we require a financial commitment of 25% of the total performance price to hold the date for you. At four weeks’ prior, a payment of 50% of the total price is due, and the remaining 25% is to be paid on the day of the performance. Checks are accepted, but there will be a $25 per day fee if funds are unavailable until the outstanding balance is paid in full.

What Happens If the Aviary Cancels a Class or Workshop?

If the Aviary cancels a class with more than 24 hours’ notice, you will receive an automated email from CircusDB. If the cancellation occurs with less than 24 hours’ notice, you will receive a text or phone call from the instructor.

  • All classes cancelled by the Aviary will be fully credited to your account.
  • If the Aviary cancels a workshop, you will be notified in the same way as when a class is cancelled, but your payment will be refunded via Paypal. Only workshops cancelled by the Aviary will be refunded.

How Can I Schedule a Private Lesson?

Please see Private Instruction and Private Events for more information!

What is LIFT OFF?

Featuring performances from our wonderful students, LIFT OFF is our quarterly showcase of their hard work and talent. A new theme is chosen for each event and unique routines are created to convey what that theme means to the performer. All students are invited to participate! Audiences can expect amazing displays of their achievements in dance, circus skills, and the aerial arts. Please see LIFT OFF Student Showcase for more information!

What is Aviary After Dark?

Aviary After Dark is a semi-annual cirque-lesque showcase of the saucier side of circus! Featuring aerial and dance performances on the silks, trapeze, lyra, and pole, these 18 and up only events explore themes of sensuality, experimentation, and empowerment. Please see Aviary After Dark for more information!

Can I Hire the Aviary to Perform at My Event?

Yes, we offer performance on the aerial fabrics, static or dance trapeze, lyra, rope, contortion, hand balance, tight wire, hula hoop, and more! Please see Aviary Performances for more information!

Does the Aviary Host Private Events/Parties?

Yes, we do! Please see Private Instruction and Private Events for more information!

How Do I Contact the Aviary If I Have a Question That is Not Covered Here?

Please contact us via email and we will respond within 2 business days (but probably much sooner). You are welcome to drop by the studio and observe class from the hallway, but the Aviary does not have a front desk or receptionist onsite. The studio is only open while class is in session and the instructors cannot interrupt class to answer questions.