This fall, we challenged Aerial instructor Kyla Ranney and Pole instructor Daniel Darling to quite literally “Own Their Unknown” by taking each others’ classes and explore what it’s like to try the opposite apparatus. Not only did they each have a ton of fun, they explored a different range of movement and even found ways to strengthen their practice on their native apparatus. Check out their diaries below to see what it’s like to venture outside your comfort zone and try the “other” apparatus. We hope this inspires you to do the same!

Kyla’s Diary 

Pole Level 1 Class #1 with Daniel Darling 

After a good, juicy warm up we started class with a little improv moment with the pole. This is a great time to get a quick second to check in with your body, start moving the way that’s best for you and prepare to add your own flavor into today’s moves. I think this is really important for students and professionals alike. We all have different ways our body likes to move and we should learn what that is and practice it regularly! I loved this and will probably adopt it into future fluidity classes. Once we got into learning the day’s pole moves we started with dip turns and pirouettes. This is pretty different from any aerial moves, we don’t often get to spin ourselves around our apparatus. It’s refreshing to move on an apparatus that’s stuck to the floor! After perfecting our turns we moved on to working on climbs and sits. I definitely felt like my aerial background helped with pole climbs, and I believe it would be the same the other way around. It also helps me think of how I’m engaging different muscle groups in any type of climb and helps to better understand cueing for climbing silks. After climbs we worked on sits. We don’t often get to rely on mainly the squeezing of our legs to hold us up in aerial, so it’s great to work on and build those other muscles.

Pole’Ography with Daniel Darling  

In Pole’ography we reviewed dip turns and pirouettes and then added some more floor work and heel work. This was such a great class to get a chance to review moves that have been previously introduced, and see how we can sequence them together. A great thing about sequencing on pole is you get the chance to do more floor work. Sometimes the floor can feel scary when you mostly train aerial, so pole is a great chance to work on your floor moves while still getting to use an apparatus. You can then take some of the movement you discover and use as transitions from floor to air. Again, I’m all for finding the best kind of movement for your own body!

Pole Level 1 Class #2 with Daniel Darling 

We started with another wonderful review of dip turn/pirouette! I love to review moves so I can really work on perfecting them. We then added in a goddess turn. Even though it’s a different type of move than I’m used to training, I could tell my body adopted things it knows from aerial to help find the right position to turn. We then moved on to reviewing climbs. I like training climbs on pole, I can really feel how all the various muscle groups need to work and it’ll help my other climbs become stronger. We then reviewed sits and learned wrist sit. Wrist sit is my new favorite move. You can do a similar thing on silks, but because the pole is static you can feel more specifically how your muscles need to engage in order to find success. I’m also inspired to play with more wrist sitting positions on various aerial apparatuses. Stay tuned to see if I find any aerial magic inspired by pole! Can’t wait to keep taking class and see how it helps progress my ever continuing aerial journey.

Daniel Darling’s Diary 

Silk Level 1 with Kyla Ranney

 We started class with five conditioning exercises. The first exercise was with split fabric and we worked shoulder shrugs to properly engage our shoulders, keeping a hollow body form and to also work grip. The second exercise we worked mermaid leg lifts with split fabric to target low abdominal engagement. The third exercise, with split fabric and starting with a shoulder shrug, we worked straight arm press to prepare for straight arm inversions. The fourth exercise, with the option to have the fabric tied into a hammock, we worked inversions. Options to enter with bent or straight legs.The last conditioning exercise, with the fabric tied into a hammock, we worked front balance flows to properly engage our core and peel up through a hollow body position. All exercises prepared us for class skills. Our flow for the day began with basic climbs up the silks, with the silks together. Splitting the fabric, we entered into a single knee hang. From our single knee hang we used a flamenco grip to pull up and through the fabric ending in a cross-back crucifix position, exiting back through to our basic climb position.

Hammock Fluidity with Kyla Ranney 

We began class with four conditioning exercises.The first exercise, with the hammock wrapped around our backs like a backpack, we conditioned shoulder shrugs. The second exercise, gripping the hammock shoulder width apart, we worked incline row pull ups. The third exercise, with the silk around our backs, we conditioned crunches moving through a hollow body position. We had the option to do these with bent or straight legs. The last exercise, in an inverted position, we worked straddle crunches. Our class flow for the day was to start by entering the hammock by sitting on a pointed foot with the opposite foot flexed and on the bottom loop. From there, we took a stand to an inside foot press into one side of the hammock to invert onto a straddle. After, we hooked our top leg onto the free fabric to enter into a kite position, ending in a slack drop.

Hoop Level 2 with Kyla Ranney 

We began with three conditioning exercises. The first exercise, with forward facing grip on the bottom bar, we worked shoulder shrugs followed by a 5-second dead hang.The second exercise, in a pull up position with knees bent and tucked into our chests like a ball, we worked on maintaining our position while levering back and forth ending in our starting position. The last exercise, we work front balance flows to engage from our core and peel up through a hollow body position. Our class flow began with a lay back split on the bottom bar. In our layback split, we trapped the front leg with the inside arm, and went through a trapped leg hip roll, ending in a hip hold. Rolling out to the side of the hoop, our flow finished with a back balance.


 Aerial classes focus a lot more on working from your core, maintaining solid form when working through many skills. Unlike pole, emphasis is placed on conditioning exercises at the beginning of class to prepare for the skills that lie ahead. Increased strength, stamina, and pain tolerance are some of the benefits one can get from cross training on aerial apparatus.