Click on a class below to read descriptions:
All of the classes labelled as "Aerial Silks" are open to all skill levels
. Craig works individually with each student and adapts to their level of strength and comfort. In this class, you will learn many movements in the silks, and in doing so, increase your upper body strength. We work over an 8-inch crash mat at all times, and all beginner moves are done low down to the ground. The core goals for this class are to be safe, and have fun! Open to ages 12+. For more info, check out the New Student Handout
All of the classes labelled as simply "Aerial Silks" are open to all skill levels
. However, some people may feel more comfortable being in a group with only other beginners. If so, the Saturday class is for you! This class is currently taught by Colleen Early. Open to ages 12+. For more info, check out the New Student Handout
The Monday night class is reserved for intermediate / advanced students. If you're not sure if you qualify as intermediate / advanced, the general guideline is, if I've started you working on any drops, then you can take this class. Open to ages 15+. For more info, check out the New Student Handout
Aerial For Kids
Aerial Silks are a great way for students to increase strength and dexterity while having tons fun! They will get to climb, spin, hand upsidedown, and noodle around in the silks, all while learning new skills. We work over an 8-inch crash mat at all times, and we stay low to the ground. The core goals for this class are to be safe, and have fun!
This class takes place on Sundays at 12:30 PM. Open to ages 7-14. Children MUST be signed up online at least 12 hours before class starts, and anyone arriving more than 5 minutes late for the kids class will not be permitted in class. For more info, check out the New Student Handout
Open Gym is a time for students to come in and practice moves that they've been working on in class. An aerial instructor will always be present to oversee safety, and provide spotting if needed, but they will not be teaching during this time. Students are prohibited from teaching each other during this time. If you want to use the aerial equipment during open gym, you must have taken an aerial class within the last month, or have special permission from an instructor. A trapeze and corde lisse are also available, but since we don't offer classes for these apparatuses, instructor permission is required. Open to ages 12+. Children under 16 must be supervised by a parent. Open Gym is $9, and it takes place on Mondays, 9:00-10:30 PM. All aerial class packages come with one free open gym.
Juggling class has been informally merged with open gym, and takes place by special request. Just sign up for an open gym, and ask Craig to teach some juggling! Juggling is a great way to build coordination, and I can promise that you'll find yourself laughing hysterically a lot during this class! This class involves a lot of partner exercises which really help ease the learning curve. Upon request, Craig will also teach other object manipulation arts, including contact juggling, poi, devils sticks, diabolo (chinese yo-yo), etc. This class is very informal; if you would like more formal, structured juggling training, private lessons are available. This class costs $9, and takes place on Mondays, 9:00-10:30 PM. All aerial class packages come with one free juggling class/open gym.
Private lessons in aerial silks or juggling are available for $60 per hour, or $30 per half hour. This can be split by up to 5 people. Past 5 people, each additional person adds $10. Call me to talk about your class goals, and scheduling before you purchase private lesson credits.
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Aerial Silks FAQ
I want to take a silks class, but I have no upper body strength! Is that ok?
I get this question ALL the time. You're not alone. And yes, it is completely ok! The vast majority of new students that I get in my class don't have a lot of upper body strength when they start out. We start off with easy moves that don't require a whole bunch. I keep my class sizes very small, so that I can personalize my lessons plans for each student, and everyone can progress at their own rate. I know a lot people are intimidated by the idea of trying out an aerial class. But I promise, you can do it!
I want to take a silks class, but I'm scared! Is it safe?
My class has a very strong emphasis on safety. All students work over an 8-inch crash mat at all times. All beginner moves are done very low to the ground. As you become more advanced, we will slowly start taking moves higher as you get comfortable, but I never push anyone to do this before they're ready. I also always encourage students to be an active player in their own safety. That means, if I ask you to do something that you don't feel safe doing, then don't do it, and talk to me about it. If you are halfway through a move, and find yourself feeling unsafe, then come on down. That's always OK in my class! It's also always acceptable to wait for me to come and spot you before you do something. I typically walk around the room throughout the class spotting everyone one at a time, so if you don't want to do it by yourself, just wait and I'll come around and help you. There are certian moves where I'll specifically ask everyone to wait for a spot. I keep my class sizes very small, so that I can personalize my lessons plans for each student, and everyone can progress at their own pace, and I can spend a lot of time with each student.
I'm afraid of being embarassed. Everyone's going to be better than me, aren't they?
First of all, I get this question a LOT, so any other new students in the class with you are probably thinking the same thing. I work with each student individually, so it doesn't matter at all if people are at different skill levels. I strive to create a non-competitive, judgement-free, positive environment in my class. Never compare yourself to other students; everyone learns at a different pace, and that is completely OK and normal in an aerial class! This is exactly the reason that I keep all my classes on a drop-in basis instead of a series; it allows each student to progress at their own pace, and not worry about "keeping up" with the other students.
I'm overweight. Is that ok? Will those silks hold me?
Another question we get all the time! Let's get that second part out of the way: Yes, they will hold you. The silks themselves have a breaking strength of around 3,000 pounds. So no, there is no "weight limit" on our classes. Now, that's not to say that being overweight won't affect how quickly a person is able to progress in an aerial class; the class is inherently and unavoidably more difficult for anyone who is overweight. Because of this, if you have a BMI over 45, or a body weight over 300 pounds, I might recommend against taking aerial classes. That being said, we keep our class sizes very small so that we can work individually with each student, and everyone can progress at their own pace. The best advice I can give you is, just come try it out and see if you like it! The moves we do in the first few classes, while I don't want to say they're "easy", they are intended to be attainable for just about anyone with some practice and determination.
What age ranges can take your class?
I'll start with the lower end, because that's an easier question to answer. My kids class is open to ages 7-14. My adult class is open to ages 12+. Students in the range of 12-14 have the option of ethier class. The majority of the students in my adult classes are in their 20s or 30s.
Now, as for the upper end of the age range. As a general guideline, I don't encourage people over 60 to take my class, but I even say that with caution; there can definitely be exceptions. It largely depends on the condition that your body is in. If you have a lot injuries, osteoperosis, or severe arthritis, my class is most likely not for you. But if you're very healthy and fit, you can start my class at any age! You'll definitely want to talk with me about any injuries you have. For more info regarding injuries, see the next question:
I have an injury, medical condition, or disability. Can I take your class?
The short answer: Call me, let's talk. (423) 782-6479
The long answer: I definitely try my best to work with people who have injuries, medical conditions, or disabilities. I'm not a doctor, so if you ask me whether it's safe for you to take your class, the answer is, I'm not qualified to answer that question. You should ask your doctor. But, pending their approval, come try it out! Definitely talk to me about your injuries first though. In some cases, if you call me, I'll set up a time when we can meet privately at the studio, and I'll give you a little 10 minute "free preview" of some of the stuff we do in class, which can really help with evaluating whether the class is for you.
How long does it take to get "really good"?
I get this question a lot. It's really difficult to answer, mainly because everyone is different. Also, everyone's definition of "really good" is different. There are two main factors that tend to largely determine how quickly a student will progress in aerial arts. The first factor is how frequently they take my class. I typically recommend students start out with once a week in the beginning, and progress to twice a week fairly quickly once they start to get comfortable with things. If you come to my class once a month, you're very likely to find progress extremely slow. You'll find yourself having to re-learn a lot of basic moves each time you come in. On the other hand, if you come in twice a week, you will progress much faster. The second major factor in how quickly a student progresses is whether they condition and exercise outside of my class. Things like yoga, pilates, CrossFit, weight lifting, rock climbing, and martial arts are excellent ways to build strength, flexibility and endurance - but not the only way! I'll show you some exercises in class that you can do at home without any equipment, and if you can even dedicate 15 minutes a day to doing these exercises at home, that will make a huge difference! My conditioning class is also a great way to build strength, and will help you progress much faster.
I'm a man. Aerial Silks is for girls, isn't it?
Silks are for everyone
! I'm a guy, and I'm the instructor! If anything, men tend to actually learn more quickly than women, because in many cases they start out with more upper body strength (there are, of course, exceptions to this!). Now, if you're picturing in your head that stereotypical female silks performance, where they're all sensual and feminine and beautiful, and they show off their amazing splits, please know this: Silks does NOT have to have that aesthetic!
Do a YouTube searh for "male aerialist"
and you'll find tons of strong men doing incredible acrobatic aerial performances, all while looking manly and awesome. Some men end up transitioning eventually from silks to an apparatus like aerial straps
, chinese pole
, or corde lisse
. While I don't offer classes in these apparatuses here, you can still start out with the silks and you'll be able to make the transition very easily down the road at another studio, because the skills are extremely similar. So yes, my class is great for men. Come try it! [b]NEW:[/b] Aerials for Men class, starting on April 10th, Fridays at 2 PM!
What are the class rules?
What should I wear for class?
Most of the guidelines for clothing are optional, but there is one important requirement: No metal parts, such as zippers, buttons, clasps, etc. Very small piercings are ok, but larger piercings must be removed because they can get caught. If you have an exposed surface piercing, you should wear a bandaid over it.
Other than that, skin tight clothing is definitely recommended. Most people prefer to have clothing that covers the backs of their knees and armpits, but this is not required. Tights, yoga pants, or unitards work great. As you become more advanced and start working on drops, you will need to avoid clothing made of synthetic materials, which can melt. This is not an issue for beginners, although I do find that cotton clothes tend to give more friction on the silk than synthetics, which is good for beginners; but again, that's personal preference.
Do you offer any discounts or promotions?
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Not very often, but I do occasionally. Keep an eye on my Facebook
; any special deals will be announced on there. I have occasionally
been known to do various work-trades, so if you have something to offer, don't be afraid to make a proposal! But don't be offended if I say no.
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Aug 30th - Oct 4th, Sundays, 8:00 - 9:30 PM
This is a fun intermediate/advanced level 6-week series focused on act creation for aerials. By the end of the 6 week series, we will create a group performance that integrates fun, experimental uses of the silks, including swinging, spinning, partnering, mirroring, and creative new ways of rigging the silks. The class will also challenge students to invent their own aerial moves, and experiment with transitions. We will go over character development, and improv exercises.
This series is highly recommended for anyone interested in performing in The Night Owl Circus, but also open to other intermediate/advanced students.
Instructor: Craig Lewis
|Package of 4:||$65|
|$16.25 per class|
|Package of 8:||$120|
|$15 per class|
|Package of 16:||$200|
|$12.50 per class|
|Package of 8:||$65|
|$8.12 per open gym|
|Package of 4:||$200|
|$50 per private|
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- All class packages come with one free open gym / juggling class.
- Purchased credits never expire!
- All classes are drop-in; you can start at any time.
- Advance payment and online registration is strongly recommended. You can always show up to class without being registered in advance, but you're not guaranteed a spot if it fills up.
- Online payment is done via PayPal, but you do NOT have to have a PayPal account. If you prefer not to use PayPal, I can also do credit card over the phone, or you can come to the studio before or after one of my classes and pay by cash, check or credit card.
- All payments are non-refundable.
- Cancellation policy: If you don't show up, or you cancel within the last 24 hours, you will forfeit your paid credit for that class. This does NOT apply to open gym / juggling since there is no size limit.
- Private Lessons: Privates are $60 per hour, or $30 per half hour. They can be shared between up to 5 people. After 5 people, it costs $10 per extra person.
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All JCCA classes take place at ATG in the Boones Creek area of Johnson City, TN:
Apalachian Tumbling and Gymnastics
1777 Old Gray Station Rd,
Johnson City, TN 37615
Appalachian Tumbling and Gymnastics is located about 10 minutes from East Tennessee State University (ETSU).
The Night Owl Circus
Friday, October 30th, 2015
7:30 PM at ATG
Saturday, October 31st, 2015
7:30 PM at ATG
The Night Owl Circus is a student showcase that gives students the oportunity to perform in front of an audience! My students have put a lot of work into learning and perfecting these skills - come see what they can do! This time around, the show will be Halloween themed!
Online ticket sales open September 18th
If you are interested in performing, take a look at the Performer Packet, which includes an application:
Night Owl Circus, Performer Packet
Massage Therapy Discount
If you have taken any JCCA class within the last 21 days, then you are eligible for a 10% discount off a massage or pain relief product at Pure Massage of JC
As an aerialist, it's very helpful to have a massage therapist that understands the unique stresses that aerial arts can put on the body. Laryn Hurley, LMT at Pure Massage has worked with many aerialists, and is very used to working with our unique aches and pains!
Give Laryn Hurley, LMT a call at (423) 213-3016.
The JCCA Apprentice Program is a teacher training that allows JCCA students to work towards teaching on their own! It's a three stage program that starts with working as a Teacher's Assistant (this is free), then teaching supervised classes (you get paid for this!) and eventually teaching your own class. The pre-reqs for starting this program include at least 50+ aerial silks classes, and 70+ total training hours with JCCA or equivalent from another studio. This program typically takes about a year to complete, but can take more or less depending on the student's commitment and learning pace. For a full list of requirements, take a look at the apprentice packet:
JCCA Apprentice Packet
Circus classes make a great Christmas or Birthday gift!