Aerial Silks

Urban Evolution is one of the few places in the DC Metro area where you can learn Aerial Silks!

Aerial Silks is a challenging gymnastic workout focused on the upper body and core.  Learn new and diverse techniques for climbing and moving the body on vertical silks! It includes strength training, core skills and beginning level tricks (and those with experience will learn advanced moves).

Interested?  Start by taking one of our Intro to Aerial Silks classes, then join our ongoing Aerials program!

Click here to find an Intro Aerial silks class at our Alexandria location!

Click here to find an Intro Aerial silks class at our Baltimore location!

Click here to find an Intro Aerial silks class at our Manassas location!

Introducing the New and Improved Aerial Acrobatics Program!

Aerial Dance, Aerial Arts, and Aerial Silks all stem from a Circus and Modern Dance. I’m sure you have seen High Flying Trapeze in the Circus; this was just the beginning of an art form that has grown well beyond the first Acts in the early 1900’s. Today, men, women, and children demonstrate a unique combination of strength and flexibility while utilizing long sheets of silk fabric to climb, hang, and fly through the air.
Urban Evolution currently offers Aerial Silks classes for Kids, Exercise Enthusiasts, and Teen & Adults who wish to master this unique combination art and exercise form.

How do I get started?

We’re glad you asked! All students above the age of 6 years old, regardless of their fitness background, can come in to take our Intro to Aerial Silks classes. During this 1 ½ hour class you will learn Aerial Silks foundation skills to prepare you for Aerial Silks – Level 1.

What do I wear?

During these classes you will be challenged with skills where you will hang from your knees, arm-pits, and hips, so we recommend form-fitting running pants, capris, or leggings with T-shirts that cover your underarms. Loose shorts or flared pants may get caught in the silks, so they are not recommended.

What else do I need to know?

Classes do start promptly, so we suggest that you try to come in a couple minutes early to sign and waivers that need to be completed before your class time.

Because classes are very strenuous, we strictly enforce a late policy. Teachers will not allow students into the class after the first 10 minutes, this is to allow each student ample time to warm-up before Flying High!

Bring water. We like our students hydrated!

What happens in Intro to Aerials?

The 1½ hour Intro to Aerial Silks Class is designed to give you an idea of what silks is really like. In this class, you will do a warm-up and some light conditioning, followed by instruction on basics climbs, wristlock moves, how to do a footlock, and finally, some slipknot skills. The class ends with some flexibility and “therapeutic” stretches (the latter designed so that you can actually get in and out of your car after class without crying). You may begin class with no aerial knowledge or skills, but by the end we’ll have you upside in a beautiful pose!

How to sign-up?

Click here to find an Intro Aerial silks class at our Alexandria location!
Click here to find an Intro Aerial silks class at our Baltimore location!
Click here to find an Intro Aerial silks class at our Manassas location!

Intro to Silks is $40. After that, normal classes are $20. For more details on rates, please see {…} The same rates that apply for our other UE classes also cover silks!

I would like to work on a one-on-one basis with an UE Instructor; do you offer Private Lessons?

Private lessons are available at each location, contact UE to set-up a time with an instructor.

The cost for private lessons is $60/ hour.

I’m worried that I’m not strong or flexible enough for aerials. Are there any requirements to begin taking classes?

Absolutely not. It is Urban Evolution’s philosophy that anyone, at any fitness level or no fitness level at all, should be able to walk into our gym and succeed. While some students do have a pre-existing gymnastics, yoga, or dance background which translates well for silks, we also have students who begin with very little strength and flexibility. Our program is designed to build the student’s capabilities slowly, beginning with reasonable expectations and working up to more challenging requirements. Instructors are glad to work with all students, even those with physical injuries and limitations.

Does UE offer an Open Gym for silks? How does it work?

UE is proud to offer Open Gym for any student Level 2 and over. We consider this to be a great opportunity for students to work on their physical conditioning and to review skills they’ve mastered. Level 3 and 4 students can also work on personal routines and develop new skills. The following rules apply to students doing open gym:

Must be in Level 2  to do open gym.

Sign in at the front desk as you normally would.

ALWAYS have a crash pad beneath you.

(At Manassas) Do not climb more that 3/4 of the way up the silks unless absolutely necessary.

Be respectful of the needs of classes: if the area or crash pads are being used for parkour, tricking, gymnastics, or another scheduled class, you need to wait until the class no longer needs the space and pads before you can begin.

Do not attempt moves that you have not mastered (i.e. received an instructor’s stamp of approval).

If you need to work on a new move, demonstrate that move for an instructor during class time for special approval to practice it outside of class.

At Level 3, you may practice skills at your own discretion.

I already have a background in aerial silks. Can I skip Level 1? Can I begin doing Open gym?

We’re happy to work with you and get you into the correct level! Please contact us at least five days ahead of time to schedule an assessment. Our Level 1 skills are very basic and should be fairly easy for an advanced aerialist to complete, even if you are not wholly familiar with a few of the moves. After you demonstrate capability to complete these skills you can move on to Level 2 (or above, depending on your assessment!) and begin doing open gym.

Is Leveling up/testing different for Kids and Adults?

Nope! Our Level up system is designed to work for children and adults alike, who will cover the same skills in roughly the same period of time.

What is the Regular Class like?

The regular class follows the below timeframe (these times vary somewhat according to class size):

Warm-up – 10 min

Conditioning – 15 min

Skill review – 20 min

Routine review – 15 min

During Skill review, instructors go over a certain set of skills for the day and sign off on those moves that students demonstrate capability in performing. During Routine review, students go over their instructor-developed routine. At the end of class, students are encouraged to perform an independent flexibility and therapeutic stretch.

Level-Up Aerial Program

Whether you have taken Aerial Silks classes at another facility or have gone through our Intro to Aerial Class, you now have the opportunity to test-up to the highest level of Aerial Silks at Urban Evolution! Depending on previous experience, students have the ability to go through each level at their own pace. We have designed our rolling curriculum so that students can begin classes at anytime. Depending on how many classes a student takes per week, it should take 2-6 months to get through each level.

Student must schedule their Level 1 to Level 2 or Level 2 and up test by emailing atleast 5 business days in advance. Testing is free for members and $40 for non-members. It is non refundable. If a member fails their first attempt they must wait  30 days before scheduling the second attempt or more.

The Aerial Silks Program follows a three week rotation covering the different, but equally important, concepts which make up the curriculum. The Core Curriculum in the next section separates skills by week. However, any skill can be taught in another week as long as the instructor feels that fits in with the concepts of the week.

  • Week 1: Strength and Technique

  • Week 2: Knots and Footlocks

  • Week 3: Inversions

Week 1: Strength and Technique

The curriculum associated with Week 1 includes wristlocks, climbs, and free work which almost universally build strength. Many of the wristlock and free work skills also build technique. However, instructors should reach for skills from other sections of the curriculum in order to improve student technique.

Week 2: Knots and Footlocks

It may seem as though Week 2 is disproportionately large compared to the other sections. This is because the possibilities in a knot or footlock are virtually endless. Aerialists continue to come up with new ideas on a regular basis. We have attempted to compile a list of the most common, easily executable skills for students to do for experience,  for fun, and for performances. This list is not exhaustive, of course; there are variations on these poses and other skills not listed, and more be added in the future.

Week 3: Inversions

Inversions and drops play a crucial role in the aerialist’s career. Our goal with L1 students is to provide them with the foundational knowledge of how to perform drops and dives before they try these drops, and new drops, on their own in open gym. Likewise, students should be able to demonstrate strength and technique in a well-executed, safe invert before attending open gym. In L2 students will focus on learning drops and inversion skills which may be too complicated or physically demanding to perform during L1.

Level 1  (ages 6+)

Week 1 – Strength and Technique / Form:





Week 2 – Knots and Locks

Single Footlocks:

Single Footlock, Single Fabric:

Double Footlocks:



Week 3 – Inversions





Level 2 (suitable for kids & adults age 6+)

Week 1 – Strength and Technique / Form


  • Candy Cane

  • Bicycle

  • No foot Climb

  • Big Russian Climb


  • Figure 8 Double Ankle Hang
  • Weaving Double Ankle Hang
  • Assisted Iron Cross


  • Walkovers

  • ½ Angel

  • Full Angel

  • Half Skin the Cat

Week 2 – Knots and Locks


  • Van Loo

  • Full Montey

Single Foot Locks:

Double Footlocks:

  • Rebecca Split Variations
    – Flamingo
    – Seahorse
    – Candlestick
    – Knee Drop
    – Starfish
    – Half Scorpion

  • Crossback Straddle to Spread Eagle

  • Crossback Straddle Dive

  • Crossback Straddle Knee Hang

  • Crossback Straddle double ankle hang

  • Flag

  • Mermaid

  • Crossback Straddle Entry
    – X Entry
    – Georgia Twist
    – Ginger
    – Split Roll-up
    – UE Entry

  • Split Roll-up to Coffin

  • Chain footlock

Slip Knot

  • Amazon
  • Crochet to Plank
  • Pike Dismounts
  • Pike Entry
  • Rock and Roll


  • Crossback Straddle
  • Rebecca Split
  • Crochet
  • Twisting Inversion

Week 3 – Inversions


  • Hockes Climb
  • Same-Side Thigh Lock Climb
  • Hip-key Climb
  • Crochet Climb


  • Windmill Hipkey
  • Iron T
  • Crochet Thighlocks
  • Peter Pan Drop
  • S- Wrap
    – Arabesque
    – Dip & Scoop
    – Tick Tack
  • Sumo


  • Hipkey thread through dive
  • Hipkey thread through knee drop
  • Spool Drop
  • Knee Drop
    -Same Side Thigh Lock
  • Falling Angel
  • Dive-star
  • Star and a half
  • Double Star
  • Half Pencil
  • One and Half Pencil
  • Lotus  Slack Drop
  • Slack Drop (same side, opposite side)
    – Same Side
    – Opposite Side
  • Waterfall
  • Reverse Superman
  • Ginger Drop
  • Weaving Drop
  • Cloud Swing
  • Big Mama


  • Windmill Hip Key Descent

Level 3 (suitable for kids & adults age 6+)

Week 1 – Strength and Technique / Form


  • Twisty Russian

  • Spider Climb


  • Double Ankle Hang drop

  • Meathook

  • Iron Cross

Week 2 – Knots and Locks:

Double Footlocks:

  • Split with no hands

Week 3 – Inversions


  • Spider Climb

  • Circus Climb

  • Tear Drop Climb


  • Paperclip


  • Tic Toc


  • Wheel Down

Level 4 (suitable for kids & adults age 6+)

Level 4 study is entirely self-directed.