The UMO School of Physical arts seeks to inspire creative possibility and recognize students’ creative force by giving them a safe place to learn and a variety of tools based on UMO’s dynamic physical theatre.

To serve this mission, UMO School currently has 3 areas of focus. The following is an overview of our program and the progression within each focus:

1. Aerial Training

Aerial training begins with Creative Movers (ages 3-5) where young students learn to play and cooperate and how to focus their bodies in motion. With jungle stretches, balancing exercises, imaginative, skill building play, we will foster self-expression through movement.

Aerial Tumblers (ages 6-8)

In Young Aerial Tumblers, we’ll work mostly towards gaining the body awareness, focus and behavior required to move on to a higher level tumbling or aerial class. We will also work on strengthening basic shapes like hollow body, and plank, and developing some active flexibility. Each week we will start the class off with a warm up, then work on tumbling basics on the mat (straight, tuck, pike, and straddle jumps, forward and backward rolls, kick ups, and cartwheels). We’ll finish the class with work on the aerial sling, and then condition and cool down. 

Intro to Aerial A and B (ages 8-10)

We will learn some fun basics on aerial sling and tissue as well as gaining the strength, active flexibility and mental focus required to move on to aerial 1. Students will work on conditioning their bodies specifically for aerial through learning body shapes like plank, hollow body, tuck, pike and straddle, as well as how to safely hang and invert. We will learn the basic aerial silks climb, and footlock and practice fun skills on sling and tissue.  

Aerial 1, 2 (ages 10-12)

We will build on the skills from Intro to Aerial. Students will continue to work on Strength and flexibility. The warm up routine becomes more challenging, more abdominal and upper body strength and endurance exercises. There is more focus on control and technique, no longer just moving thru the skills but doing them with form and grace. (Pointed toes, straight legs, extended lines) Students are introduced to different apparatus; trapeze, rope and hoop. By the end of at least 2 series of sessions in Aerial 1 or 2, students learn endurance by building a series of moves together in a routine. 2 classes per week are recommended as well as Strength Training or Modern Dance for advancement.

Aerial Performance (ages 12+)

Aerial Performance is the ongoing training session that is offered to students who have mastered basic aerial skills and are ready to study with a serious commitment. Students are encouraged to work and master at least one apparatus, build a routine(s) around a theme. Creativity is key at this level; to this end, Modern Dance, Strength Training and Open Gym are all added at this level. 3-4 days a week are recommended for serious aerial students. Aerial students at this level are also encouraged to mentor younger students by assisting Intro classes.

Aerial Open Gym, (ages 12+)

This is for the advanced students to train and create on their own. This class is by permission.

To Progress to a higher level in any aerial class, students must show focus and a lack of distraction and distracting behavior. They should also demonstrate a very good ability to distinguish a dangerous situation and remove themselves safely from it. They should have strong verbal skills and be able to communicate clearly with the teacher if something is unclear, or unsettling for them. On top of this more mental skill set, students should show signs of increased body awareness, strength and active flexibility as well as a willingness to try skills which may be difficult without too much stress or complaint while following verbal cues from the teacher with control. In addition, at each level, students will have a set of skills that need to be completed before progressing to the next level.

2. Circus Gymnastics from tumbling to advanced adult handstands

Circus Gymnastics, begins with Creative Movers (Ages 3-5). See description below:

Circus Gymnastics 1 (ages 6-9)

We will work on the foundations of handstand and tumbling, while engaging in a fun playful environment.  

Every class will include strengthening basic shapes like hollow body and plank and working on fundamental skills such as cartwheels, handstands, and forward and backward rolls.

Circus Gymnastics 2 (ages 9-12)

We will work on the foundations of handstand and tumbling. Every class will include strengthening basic shapes like hollow body and plank, developing active flexibility and perfecting fundamental skills such as cartwheels, handstands. Throughout the session we will work on more advanced skills such as round-offs, dive rolls and front handsprings.

Teen Acro (ages 13+)  

This extension of the Circus gymnastics programming includes handstands, flips and a progression and perfecting of the skills in Circus Gym 2. The sky is the limit with this group. The instructor will take them into professional level skill tricks, based on their personal ability.                                                                                                                                                            

3... and more!

These encompass student initiated physical learning pursuits; that don’t necessarily fit into specific categories, but serve the students in unique ways and in some cases, support other areas of training. Currently this includes Creative Movers, Stretch and Condition, Parkour, Modern Dance, Aikido and Story to Stage featuring physical theater techniques.

Creative Movers (ages 3-5)

All UMO school classes begin here! With jungle stretches, balancing exercises, imaginative, skill building play, we will foster self-expression through movement, music and character play.

Stretch and Condition (ages 10+)

This class focuses on flexibility and strength training needed for aerial, gymnastics, parkour or just about any physical life pursuit, taught in a fun and engaging atmosphere.

Parkour

Parkour is the art of navigating the space between the sky and the ground with grace. Through practicing Parkour students become stronger, more agile, more confident, and able to do amazing superhero feats. We believe Parkour has something to offer everyone. We believe students learn best while having fun.  Parkour teaches the art of overcoming obstacles, challenges and fear while instilling a practice of safety. We also incorporate creativity, movement, exploration and play into all of the parkour classes. All the classes teach movement elements along with psychological skills.

Parkour Games (6-8 years old)

Students learn the basics of parkour through obstacle courses; skill tracks that include balance and free running while doing it in the context of games.

Parkour Basics 1 and 2 (ages 9-10, 11-12)

Students learn physical skills as in balance, vaulting, jumping, landing, running, climbing, rolling and some inversions. Students learn mental skills like focus, control, working with fear, path finding, vision and fun.

Parkour Advanced (ages 13+)

Students continue to advance in the course difficulty by introducing flips and more advanced physical conditioning to achieve more challenging tricks. Students are also encouraged to mentor younger students at this level.

Modern Dance (ages 9+)

In this Modern Dance class, Aly explores a full physical range of dance moves that are geared toward students who may have never taken a dance class before and who are interested in exploring how to move creatively and gracefully on the ground. This is a great companion class to any aerial training program.

Aikido (all ages)

Aikido is a martial art that encourages us to remain calm and maintain our integrity in the face of conflict and adversity. In our classes, we'll explore efficient, powerful movement, staying grounded and centered, speaking up for ourselves, and having fun! Students and families are encouraged to take this class together.

Story to Stage (ages 9+)

In this class, students will decide the stories they want to bring to stage and what elements they will use to present them. They will be learning and exploring the tools of the physical theater creation methods as developed by the UMO Ensemble. These elements may include theater games, clowning, characters, musical elements, use of masks or puppets. The emphasis will be discovering what their stories require to come to life. Guest teaching artists will join, depending on the emphasis for each specific group. The class will be broken up into 3 sections; writing, physical theater exercises and putting it all together. A final showing will happen in the last class of the session.