Night Owl Circus Arts

ETSU Summer Circus! w/ Caroline
Tomorrow 2:45 PM at South
4 spots open
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Youth Aerial Apparatus w/ Gracie
Mon 7/15 4:30 PM at South
12 spots open
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Duo Acro and Pyramids w/ Samantha
Mon 7/15 5:30 PM at South
9 spots open
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Beginner Silks w/ Gracie
Mon 7/15 5:30 PM at South
1 spot open
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2-hr Teen Aerial, Hour 1
Tue 7/16 4:30 PM at South
11 spots open
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2-hr Teen Aerial, Hour 2
Tue 7/16 5:30 PM at South
11 spots open
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Triple Trapeze w/ Samantha
Wed 7/17 6:30 PM at South
5 spots open
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Intermediate Silks w/ Rachel
Wed 7/17 6:30 PM at South
3 spots open
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Contortion w/ Samantha
Wed 7/17 7:30 PM at South
5 spots open
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Strength and Flexibility w/ Caroline
Thu 7/18 4:15 PM at South
4 spots open
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Low Flow Pole w/ Mindy
Fri 7/19 4:30 PM at South
4 spots open
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Aerial Rigging Fundamentals - Part 2

Online Zoom class with Craig Lewis

This 2-3 hour class expands on the topics covered in Aerial Rigging Fundamentals - Part 1.

Upcoming Class Dates:

A $15 discount is available for people who have taken the class before, and would like to retake the class. I'm constantly making improvements!

NOTE: If you are a beginner aerialist, then I very strongly urge you NOT to rig at home, or practice aerial arts without a professional aerial instructor. It is absolutely imperative, as a beginner, that you find a local reputable aerial studio to train at. Aerial arts are extremely dangerous. Some of the dangers are obvious. Many more are not. If you are signing up for this class because you want to rig at home as a beginner aerialist, you will certainly still learn a lot from this class - but you will be disappointed by what you learn. There is simply no safe substitute for training by a professionally trained aerial instructor.

This class is a safe space to ask any questions, and is taught in a non-judgemental way for students of all backgrounds and levels of knowledge. There are no stupid questions!

Course Pre-requisites:

This class assumes a very basic understanding of:

Who this class is intended for:

Course Topics:

Fundamentals Review:

A diagram of a single purchase fly system.


Battens flown out in a fly system.

Fly Systems:

A photo of some unsafe aerial rigging, including misuse of chain, and a triloaded carabiner.

Who's the expert?

A photo of much better, safer aerial rigging.

Aerial Rigging: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The risk management matrix.

Risk Management and Liability

What this class will, and will NOT teach you:

This class WILL teach you to recognize common red flags of unsafe rigging. You WILL be able to do certain basic reconfigurations of existing setups, at least under the supervision of a more experienced rigger. You WILL know how to do routine basic inspections of common equipment.

2-3 hours is only enough to scratch the surface of aerial rigging. You WILL NOT be qualified to configure your own rigging systems from scratch. You WILL NOT be an "aerial rigger" at the end of this class. If you are rigging aerial equipment, you need to hire a professionals - both a professional aerial rigger, and a structural engineer. If you're a beginner / intermediate aerialist who wants to rig for yourself at home, you are likely to be disappointed with what you learn in this class. But you WILL learn some things!

Class cost: $45. You MUST sign up online in advance! Space is limited to 25 students.

For now, this "Part 2" class will not be offered in recorded form. It's ONLY available as a live class. A recorded option will likely be added for purchase in the future.

Please email Craig Lewis at with any questions.

A recorded version of the class is also available for $55 - but the live class is a better experience, and strongly recommended.

This class is officially advertised as being two hours, but may extend up to three. We'll keep going for as long as it takes me to cover the material!

See also: Aerial Rigging Fundamentals - Part 1

About the Instructor:

Craig Lewis was first introduced to aerial arts through San Francisco Circus Center in 2009. Coming from a previous lifelong background in rock climbing and caving, he was immediately drawn to the rigging and safety elements of this art form. He has trained as an aerialist primarily on silks since 2009, completing the majority of his initial training at Aerial Space in Asheville, and acting as a rigging assistant at Asheville Aerial Arts.

In 2013, Craig founded Night Owl Circus Arts (NOCA) in Johnson City, TN. At the time, NOCA was just Craig teaching one silks class per week, but today it has grown to become a larger aerial studio with 20 instructors, two locations, and over 70 classes per week. Today NOCA is over 10 years old, and has taught over 10,000 total classes for over 3,000 students.

As NOCA's grew, Craig continued to further his rigging knowledge through many avenues. Dr. Delbert Hall is a mentor of his, and Craig trained extensively under him, both as a regular student in his classes, and as an assistant on many rigging projects. He has also trained under Todd Spiering, Brett Copes, Jonathon Duell, Eric Rouse, and Todd Gorham. In 2021, Craig spent two months touring with A Magical Cirque Christmas as their acrobatic rigger, overseeing aerialist safety and also acting as a Butterfly Lift Operator in 46 different proscenium theaters around the US.

Craig has been an organization member of American Circus Educators (ACE) since 2020, and now serves as a member of the Safety Committee. He also serves as the Festival Site Director for the International Jugglers Association. He remains active in the caving and rock climbing community through the Campus Recreation department at East Tennessee State University, where he is on staff as a group fitness instructor, and a certified belayer. He attends Old Timers Reunion (OTR) annually, and maintains NSS and TRA membership.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced nearly every aerial studio in the US to shut down. During that time, many desperate aerial students started rigging at home, and, in many cases, doing so in ways that were unsafe. This inspired Craig to offer an accessible class to cover the basic fundamental information that these aerial students desperately needed to know about rigging in order to stay safe. Over the three years that followed, Craig taught over 50 of these classes to over 400 students, including students on every continent except Antarctica. In 2022 he and Dr. Delbert Hall collaborated on two cotaught "Aerial Rigging for Prosceniums" classes, and in 2023, he created a "Part Two" to build on his fundamentals class.

Craig has also taught an in-person version of the class at various studios around the US, including Buffalo Aerial Arts in Buffalo, NY and Challenge Aerial in Atlanta, GA. He also routinely offers consultation services to aerial studio owners on rigging, as well as the business aspects of running an aerial studio.

Craig believes you should always keep learning. One of his favorite things about teaching is when he gets to learn something new himself during a class! He is passionate about helping aerialists, instructors, and aerial studio owners learn about safety, and he strives to help raise the bar of safety across this industry.