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 Silks Program!

Aerial Silks, also known as Aerial Tissu, Aerial Dance, or Aerial Fabric, is art form first developed by André Simard for Cirque du Soliel in 1995. A former Olympic gymnast, Arts Major, and long-time Cirque du Soliel performer and choreographer, Simard created a movement which combines strength and flexibility and challenging physical activity. In a short twenty years, Silks has captured hearts, minds, and bodies across the world, with gyms and studios opening on a regular basis.

Here at Urban Evolution, we’ve developed a curriculum accessible to raw beginners, including children and adults with minimal fitness backgrounds, which enables our students to develop strength, flexibility, and body awareness. Once students have mastered a broad range of foundational skills, they are able to move on to more advanced levels where they can learn a variety of drops and challenging sequences. We also host periodic Showcase events where new and advanced students alike can apply what they’ve learned into a performance routine of their own making. If you’re curious, come to our next Showcase and see what our students can do!

How do I get started?

We’re glad you asked! All new students above the age of 6 years old, regardless of their fitness background,would 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.
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!

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!
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!

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 our pricing page.  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 Urban Evolution participating Aerial Silks student Level 2 and over (students must have taken our Level 2 test and score a 90% or above to be eligible for Open Gym). 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 and Urban Evolution participating member and in Aerial Silks Level 2  to do open gym.

• Sign in at the front desk as you normally would.

• ALWAYS have a crash pad beneath you.

• 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.

• Only practice skills you are comfortable performing without assistance.

• UE will not be held responsible for any injury, and does not guarantee your safety when practicing skills which have not been mastered.

I already have a background in aerial silks. Can I skip Level 1 and begin doing Open gym?
Open silks privileges are only available to participating members of our silks program who have matriculated to Level 2 and earned open silks privileges. We don’t offer unsupervised silks practice to non-members who have not been through our program.
The only other option available to non-members who want to practice at their own level would be to purchase private lessons which would be supervised by an instructor and customized to the student’s needs. Private lessons cost $60/hour and require at least 1 week’s advance request for us to secure an instructor.
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?

A regular class includes a 5 minute warm up, about 15 or 20 minutes of conditioning, 30-40 minutes of skills, and a 5 minute stretch/cool down. Classes are designed to be fun while building strength and flexibility. Students are encouraged to scale exercises up or down depending on their current fitness level, and we maintain a positive, supportive environment for everyone who joins us.

Level-Up Aerial Program

All participating Aerial Silks students have the opportunity to progress at their own page and test-up to the highest level of Aerial Silks at Urban Evolution! 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 & up test by emailing at least one week in advance. Testing is free for members. There is a $40 non-refundable fee for non-members wishing to take the test. If a student fails their first attempt they must wait  30 days before scheduling the second attempt or more. Students must take our Level 2 test and score a 90% or above to be eligible for Open Gym.

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.