Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review: The Aerial Hoop Manual Volume 1

Aerial dancer and instructor, Rebekah Leach, just released her latest addition to her aerial manual series, "The Aerial Hoop Manual Volume 1."  This manual was recently made available for pre-order on her website The manual is co-written by Julianna Hane who is also an experienced aerialist in multiple forms of aerial apparatus.

The book is very well put together.  Aesthetically, the book is very pleasing to the eye.  The front of the manual shows a picture of Rebekah dancing with a single point hoop on a high gloss cover.  The colors of the book are themed with shades of purple- from the front cover and throughout the content with Rebekah and Julianna's outfits in their featured pictures.  The overall layout of the content is easy to read both literally and visually. The main content of the book begins with a disclaimer about the risks associated with aerial work, a specific table of contents, and a detailed note from the authors. 

The content of the book initially begins with the introduction.  I found this to be an important piece to the manual and worth reading for both instructors and students.  I find a lot of times there is an eagerness to skip through the book to get to the good stuff. Doing this would not benefit the reader in any way.  You must crawl before you walk, therefore it is important to keep in mind every bit of information from the introduction to the appendix is important to your progression as a student and instructor.  Just my opinion if you want to get the most out of this manual.

The introduction lays out how to best utilize the manual followed by terminology and movement theory.  The first chapter starts off with essential basics that are very similar to Rebekah's Beginner Aerial Silks Manual.  Important body positioning is introduced and for the reader familiar with the author's previous manuals, also includes extra information regarding conditioning and progressing from the ground to the air.  I found the text to be interactive, not only with the material being presented but the additional information provided such as where you can reference for further information on certain exercises for conditioning specific muscle groups.  I really liked this aspect and I did take full advantage of the suggestions. 

Another feature in this manual that really stood out and impressed me was the addition of introducing spotting technique.  As an instructor, I know the importance of spotting, however I find there is a lack of resources and education out there for proper implementation of technique.  This manual introduces the practice of spotting in resourceful ways that will benefit both student and instructor.  I would like to see more implementation of spotting within the aerial community as it is growing.  This is a safety standard highly experienced and trained aerialists have been implementing for years and with the addition of aerial arts in non-circus trained facilities, from my own observances, I feel like this is something that has become neglected.  This manual emphasizes starting with your hoop as low to the ground and gradually progressing as your body becomes ready.  With any aerial work, it is important you know your body and know your limitations.  I think this manual does an excellent job highlighting this concept.  

Overall, I think this manual is another wonderfully articulated piece full of information that really targets proper technique and progression.  I think this manual is a great tool for every aerialist's collection and highly recommend it.  It can be purchased at  The website also offers a sneak peek download of the index, table of contents, and a few random pages of moves.  Currently the paperback version is only available, however the website states there will be a pdf version of the manual in the future. Thank you Rebekah Leach and Julianna Hane for your hard work and dedication in putting this manual together.  I personally am grateful to have this information in the manual as I know it will benefit me and my future students greatly. 


  1. Wow! I just ran into this blog. Thank you so much for your review. It is awesome! Just want to mention that videos are now available that go along with the books at And we show spotting in some of the videos as well to show spotting technique when the spotting is other than obvious.

    1. Thank you Rebekah! I can vouch that your videos are amazing on the site! Thank you for creating such an amazing online site/community.