Introducing the Remote Teacher Assessment Program


Remote Teacher Assessment Program

A unique service for teachers brought to you by



Many teachers struggle to transition into the role of teacher from that of performer or aerial enthusiast.  This service is meant to help you become a more confident aerial teacher through direct consultation with experienced aerial instructors Julianna Hane and Elizabeth Stich.  Our goal is to help teachers not only talk the talk, but walk the walk, demonstrating and verbally explaining skills with safety and clarity to help your students find success in your classes.


What are the benefits of a teaching consultation?

  • We can affirm for you what is working well in your classes.
  • We can answer your questions on a range of issues including classroom management, learning styles, safe practices, lesson plans, body language and delivery, and other challenges.
  • We can make recommendations for more extensive training options to take your teaching to the next level.
  • Taking advantage of this service gets you one step closer towards becoming a Verified Aerial Teacher if you are not already.
  • If you are already a Verified Aerial Teacher, our service can be listed in your teacher directory listing at Your listing will be updated to reflect that you have completed the remote teacher assessment program.


What makes this consultation special?

Both Julianna and Elizabeth are Certified Laban Movement Analysts, meaning they will not only analyze what you are teaching, but how you are teaching it through your body language.  You will receive tips to help you become more connected in your movement and presentation so that you can more clearly communicate and express ideas to your students.


How will I receive feedback?

The most basic option is to receive a personal written assessment.  A consultant will watch your video and give you personalized feedback based on your interests from the questionnaire.

The second option is to receive a written assessment followed by a one-hour Skype conversation with your consultant.  This real-time discussion uses the written assessment as a starting point to address your deeper questions and concerns about teaching.


How does it work?

  1. Film yourself teaching a 60-90 min. class of your choice.  Be sure your voice is audible, and that both you and the students are visible in the video.  We’ll be able to give you the most accurate feedback if we can adequately see and hear your class in action, so you may want to have someone film you. Make sure to obtain permission from your students prior to filming them. Let them know that it is for feedback and will remain confidential. We will not use your video outside the purposes of this assessment unless we ask permission to do so.
  2. Send your video to There are a couple ways to send your video. Gmail has a new feature that allows to directly send large files. You can also use a dropbox or send us a link to your video on youtube or vimeo.
  3. When you send your video, make sure to attach your teacher questionnaire (see below).  This form will help us give you relevant feedback that supports your needs and goals.


When will I receive feedback?

We will send written feedback within 1-2 weeks of receiving the video.  If you choose the Skype feedback session, you will receive an email to schedule that conversation at your convenience.


What does it cost?



Teacher Questionnaire:

1.  What is your teaching/training background in aerial arts or other movement areas?

2.  Why are you interested in receiving feedback?  What are your goals?

3.  Please circle topics below that are most relevant to your teaching needs.

  • Learning styles/teaching styles
  • Classroom management
  • Lesson planning
  • Facilitating creative lessons
  • Safety procedures such as spotting, etc.
  • Working with specific populations
  • Body language, use of voice, delivery, etc.  (How you’re presenting your lesson)

4.  Do you have any specific questions for your consultant?  Please list them here.



Elizabeth Stich Bio

When Elizabeth Stich’s older brother catapulted her off a makeshift teeter board and into the hospital at the tender age of 8, she never imagined it would foreshadow a distant career in the circus.  A childhood ballerina turned college modern dancer turned aerialist, Liz has been an aerial instructor and performer for over 5 years – first with Revolve Aerial Dance and then Aerial Arts of Utah.   She has taught aerial dance courses and master classes in higher education settings such as Weber State University, Snow College, and Brigham Young University.  She has also taught a variety of dance technique and theory courses as an adjunct instructor at Weber State University and Utah Valley University and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Utah.  In addition to her love of teaching, Liz is a passionate performer, most recently battling wind and water in over 200 shows of Cirque de la Mer at Sea World San Diego.

Liz holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Modern Dance from the University of Utah, a Bachelor of Arts degree with a minor in Dance Education from the University of Georgia, and a Certificate in Laban Movement Analysis/Baretenieff Fundamentals from Integrated Movement Studies.  She has co-presented on the creative application of Laban theory to aerial dance with colleague Julianna Hane at the Motus Humanus Roundtable.


Julianna Hane Bio

Julianna Gaillard Hane, a native of South Carolina, traded life on a cotton farm to be a dancer and aerialist.  Julianna’s first experience in aerial dance happened at Winthrop University (where she received a B.A. in Dance) when she performed in two rope & harness works by Mary Beth Young.  She then continued her study of aerial work at New England Center for Circus Arts with Elsie Smith, Serenity Smith Forchion, and Aimee Hancock. She has also studied with Bay Area artists Joanna Haigood and Elena Panova.

Julianna holds a M.F.A. in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. During her graduate study Julianna founded Revolve Aerial Dance, a school and performing company specializing in aerial fabric, trapeze, and aerial hoop.  Through the company she co-produced aerial concerts, performed in corporate events, and set an aerial dance work on the Snow College Dance Company in Ephraim, Utah.  She wrote her master’s thesis on aerial dance choreography under the guidance of Donna White, Eric Handman, Abby Fiat and Tandy Beal.  Julianna has written an aerial dance curriculum for her studio and a teacher training course to mentor new aerial teachers. She also co-authored the Aerial Hoop Manual Series (Volume 1 is out and Volume 2 is going to be out soon) with Rebekah Leach.



A Comparative Look at Teacher Trainings Across Various Movement Industries

Since I am launching my first ever Aerial Teacher Training Program this year (, teacher trainings have been on my mind more than ever. A recent concern in the aerial industry the past few years has come from people who have taken a few classes of aerial and then turned around and started teaching with only a few skills under their belt. Those who have done this have come under criticism from more experienced teachers who know that the aerial arts involve much more than a few tricks. But the question has been raised: If someone wants has taken a few classes of aerial (say one month’s worth and they are a quick learner), and this person decides that they would like to teach it, what would be the fastest acceptable route to become a teacher? It’s a big, wide open question that will ultimately be decided by the actions of the industry at large, but I feel discussion is important. I decided to take a look at other industries, and see how they have answered that question. If I wanted to become a yoga/Pilates/gymnastics/ballet teacher, how fast could I become one?


YOGA ~ 2 Weeks – 1 Month
You are probably already familiar with this one. In fact, you may already be a registered yoga teacher! This one is a well known 200 hour program that allows you to register through Yoga Alliance ( Yoga Alliance “certifies” the schools, and then schools offer the training. The instructors then apply for membership to Yoga Alliance. Yogis must keep the registration current each year by paying dues to Yoga Alliance and continuing to complete contact hours from qualified yoga teachers. Yoga teacher trainings often attract anyone who wants to deepen their practice. It is not necessarily just for those who are going to teach. A typically program runs around $2000. Travel is on top of that.


PILATES ~ 4 Months – 1 YEAR plus prior experience
Pilates is somewhat complicated by the fact that there are mat and equipment classes.  In addition to mat, the comprehensive program includes the reformer, trapeze (not aerial trapeze), cadillac or tower, chair, and barrel. You can get a mat certificate after about 40 hours. However, if you want to go for certification, you must go for it all and complete a comprehensive program. The hours for the full comprehensive program are similar to yoga, with levels of 200-500 hours. Costs for a course of intensive study covering mat work and equipment training can run from $2,500 to $10,000, with the higher numbers including the full repertoire. The certifying agency for Pilates is Pilates Method Alliance (PMA), the “only third-party certifying agency for Pilates teachers in the United States.”


Here’s a nice blog on a new teacher’s journey into getting trained. The blogger completed a teacher training that included a series of weekend modules. The weekend modules are a combination of learning the teaching skills, practice of the movements, practice teaching, and discussion/lecture. Students generally take between four months to one year to complete their hours of observation and student teaching required outside of the weekend workshops.(This is very similar to what I am wanting to offer through my own teacher training program.)


My Reflections
I find it important to reflect on the fact that in the early days of both Pilates and yoga, a student of the method would work as an apprentice with a mentor for many months, even years, before teaching clients. That was the usual path to becoming an instructor, just as it often was in other mind-body disciplines such as martial arts and gymnastics. Nowadays, it is common and in most cases required to obtain formal training and certification before teaching Pilates or yoga. In turn, teacher training courses are more ubiquitous. The one consolation I have is that many reputable certifying bodies still require students to accrue practice-teaching and observation hours before receiving a teaching certificate. I think that this is one aspect that should never be under-estimated in preparing a new teacher for teaching.


Here’s a blog that gives insight into how the gymnastics industry encourages their new teachers:

The attitude of this blog reveals that experience and mentorship is valued in place of teacher training courses. While teacher training courses are available via the USAG, it is only a supplement, and a small one at that. In some ways it makes sense that in a competitive sport, coaches take on the aire of “been there, done that” and that gives them the credibility to take someone to a competition. It is recommended by the industry and common for a coach to have more than 10 years of experience prior to entering full time coaching. A Pilates instructor writes the following: “You cannot teach something you do not know and you cannot know it unless you commit to ongoing practice.” I find it interesting that with sports such as gymnastics, it is more common to find teachers not engaged in the practice, and that’s when they are called “coaches.” The word coach has a different connotation than teacher and to me, implies that they are done with the sport themselves, and now they are turning a new leaf to coach.

While aerial dance is just as athletic as gymnastics in my opinion, I feel that it is leans in a different direction in the way. Gymnastics seem to wreck your body and then you’re done (while admitting there are always exceptions to the rule!). Circus seems to be more of a lifelong activity. You’ll find plenty of people in their 50s, 60s, and up still engaged in the fun of the circus, where aerial dance has its roots. It’s more of an ongoing lifelong activity, and so instructors are just as much engaged as their students. Rather than coaches who no longer do the sport, aerial instructors are going to be just as much engaged as their students, so it makes sense that the way that they progress into teaching is going to be very different. There’s no such thing as someone taking a 2 week teacher training course and now they are going to coach a gymnastics student to the regional competition. You have to live and breath the industry for years. Simple as that.


My Reflections
I found this interesting: There is a Junior Professional Membership for coaches who are of age 16 or 17, and the instructor membership (for USA Gymnastics) is available to individuals starting at age 14.   Instructors of this age are teaching the young kids and acting in assisting roles, but still, it is rare to see someone so young teaching yoga or Pilates, etc. I think that this helps create the environment for mentorship, and a culture of the older coaches passing on their expertise to the up and coming coaches. I would like to see this concept carry over into the aerial industry, and welcome kids who are 15 and older to act as junior instructors. I have seen it at some circus schools, so it is not something that is far out there. I don’t think students under 18 should be taking teacher training courses per say, but I do think we should welcome their help in our studios and mentor them so that when they are older, they are ready.


BALLET ~ 9 DAYS (plus being an expert and nothing less) OR 5 years OR no training

ABT (American Ballet Theater) is well-known in the world of Ballet. Did you know you could become certified in ABT Ballet? As long as you meet the necessary skill level, you can get certified in as little as 9 days. This prepares you for teaching children ages 3 and up and you can be as young as 17 years old. A 6 day course prepares teachers to instruct intermediate and advanced ballet students age 11 – 13+. And another 6 day course prepares teachers to instruct advanced and pre-professional ballet students ages 14+. May I emphasis the skill level which allows someone to do this is not beginner, not intermediate, barely advanced. The skill level required to enter the program is advanced and professional.

Ballet is similar to gymnastics that the most respected teachers don’t necessarily perform any longer. It is part of the culture of ballet to have a teacher who is older and has lived a full life of dance. It is normal and common to have a teacher only verbally cue in class, and never demonstrate, just as a gymnastics coach is likely to do as well.


As far as governing bodies go, the Royal Academy of Dance was the best I could find. The RAD was created with the objective to improve the standard of ballet teaching in the UK and, in pursuit of that goal, a new teaching method and dance technique was devised for the Academy by a group of eminent European dancers. The RAD is one of the largest dance organizations in the world with over 12,000 members in 79 countries, including about 7,500 who hold Registered Teacher Status (Wikipedia). However, if you wanted to teach dance at a local dance studio, no one would ask if you were a part of this or any other organization (at least not in the United States).

In the United States, it is very common for dance teachers to receive a masters degree in fine arts from an accredited institution. This degree typically takes about 5 years or more and typically costs anywhere from $40,000-100,000+ depending on what college you attend. Many dance teachers go on to teach at dance studios or in the public or private school system, at levels ranging from elementary school PE to high school dance teams to college dance companies (or being a professor of dance). It is an interesting mix to say the least. Within the same dance studio, you may have someone with no college experience (qualified simply due to natural talent) teaching next to someone with a masters degree. The main thing that the local dance studio cares about is that the teacher can dance and they can teach. Credentials are great, but experience is valued even more within dance studios. In the school system, you absolutely must have your masters degree in order to teach, so that is why so many dancers receive theirs. It keeps doors open for job opportunities.

10,000 HOUR RULE

It is certainly a hard question to answer: What is an adequate length of time to train a teacher? Those who value their art form of teaching may cringe at the suggestion of two weeks. How can someone conquer the art of [fill in the blank with any art form] in 2 weeks if it wasn’t already in them? I remember Debbie Park (my aerial mentor) once telling me that it takes 10 years to become an expert at anything. I have also recently encountered the 10,000 hour rule.

The 10,000 Hour Rule is the idea that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill. For instance, it would take 10 years of practicing 3 hours a day to become a master in your subject. It would take approximately 5 years of full-time employment to become proficient in your field. (hmm…sounds like gymnastics coaches perhaps?)

It really is experience more than anything that will make a teacher blossom. I think that a solid teacher training program includes many hours of practice, as well as time for the teacher to grow to a place where they are confident in the skills. It is likely that a teacher may begin teaching while they are still a student of the craft themselves. It is not practical to require every student be practicing their art for 10 years prior to considering teaching. They simply must be a few steps (of course the more the better) ahead of their students, in recognition that it is all one big continuum of learning at the end of the day.

A wonderful yoga practitioner had the following to say on the subject at hand, “I believe people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. I care because this practice, this community cares for me. This same care will lead me to the [knowledge I need]. .. I am a student forever, hopefully well beyond 10,000 hours, but today I teach by the minute.”



Do you think the aerial dance industry should have teacher training programs that are so common they become necessary part of the industry? What is the ideal length? How long should a teacher be practicing in the aerial arts before they take a teacher training? Lots of room for a million opinions!