Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Controversial Aerial Hoop Segment on Live with Kelly

I believe there was a collective gasp heard all around the world from aerialists when they watched the recent aerial hoop segment featured on the U.S. morning talk show LIVE with Kelly.  A quick recap: New York based Crunch instructor Deborah Sweets lead a quick aerial hoop workout with host Kelly Rippa and LIVE's guest co-host Anderson Cooper.  As the segment progressed, it was clear there were MANY moments that the instructor was negligent in terms of assuring her two student's safety on what is a fun but VERY dangerous fitness activity.  Fellow aerialist and community blogger Laura Witwer broke down in a very detailed blog post EVERYTHING wrong in this segment here in "Anderson Cooper got on a Lyra and the Internet Lost its Mind."

I won't reiterate all the amazing points Laura has already made in her blog.  I don't think I could match her so eloquently written stance on the issue.  I do want to pose a question in regards to the issue of how the glitz and glam of the spotlight can and clearly have threatened the dynamic of safety? Yes, I understand it was a quick segment and the show's producers wanted an elaborate portrayal of this unique form of fitness in less than five minutes.  As an instructor, it is OUR job to be firm and say "Wait a minute. I refuse to jeopardize the safety of anyone under my instruction."  The act of having beginners invert on an apparatus alone is a huge red flag for safety.  I don't care if you assessed your students back stage to test their strength. They are beginners and require your hands on spotting at ALL times.  If your show producers won't give you the appropriate accommodations to make your instructional experience in front of a live audience safe, then adios!
Find a new gig that will.  We have to be diligent in knowing our limits and speaking up for our students and ourselves.  The pressure of the spotlight is no excuse when it comes to the lives of others.  This could have had a very different outcome that would have been detrimental to both Mr. Cooper and Deborah Sweets personally.  I'm not writing this to viciously attack Deborah. I don't know the circumstances she encountered and the pressure she was under to do this segment.  I feel like there is a back

story that we may not be aware of? Either way, it really doesn't matter.  This situation has proven to be a cautionary tale and a frightening reminder of the changes in the aerial arts industry as these activities move into mainstream fitness culture.  It is extremely important that everyone is educated on these kinds of issues and continue to advocate for changes that will ensure safe practice in aerial. 

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