In 2001, years before there was Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube, Mistia Fallon began her aerial journey in Los Angeles. In an LA gymnastics facility, after hours, and with a handful of artists from Cirque du Soleil, a lifelong love of an art that defied the laws of gravity and challenged the stereotypes of conventional dance was born. Aerial Arts was a small industry then. A lot has happened in the aerial industry over the past 20 years. Now anyone can purchase a rig off of e-Bay and self-teach themselves from videos on Youtube, Instagram, or several online platforms that don’t accommodate, or vet, the student’s current physical capabilities before handing out skill pathways that can lead to serious injury.
At The Dragonfly Aerial Company, we know the responsibility we assume, in placing your precious cargo in our air space, and we don’t take that trust lightly.
At The Dragonfly Aerial Company, we bring in specialists in their field, to design and construct our structures while also continually educating our staff on how to continually make our program better and safer.
At The Dragonfly Aerial Company, we realize by assembling a team of expert-trained professionals and specialists, we can drastically mitigate the inherent safety risks that accompany aerial acrobatics. Since witnessing, firsthand, poor and unsafe rigging, teaching and practices in multiple studios and gymnastic facilities, the Dragonfly Aerial Company created the nation’s premier safety-focused licensing program in 2017.
At The Dragonfly Aerial Company, it remains our mission to come alongside studios, from coast to coast, to assist in launching safe aerial programs while creating national safety standards and that that makes us better here at home.
The Dragonfly Aerial Company was the first aerial company to march into the USAG Nationals and create a round table discussion with the conservative insurance companies to fight for proper insurance options for aerial acrobatic programs in gymnastic facilities. The USAG accepted the DAC as a professional member, recognizing us as a leader in the industry for our safety-focused aerial program. It is this safety-focused program, and approach, which has since launched in 13 gyms to-date, nationally, providing guidance from rigging to detailed curriculum.
The Dragonfly Aerial Company is the culmination of over 20 years of experience in the professional aerial industry. We’ve been teaching flying longer than many other studio owners have been out of grade school and are honored that the Dragonfly Aerial Company has launched so many aerial careers locally, across the United States, and around the world. We’ve done all of this while maintaining our little aerial school community atmosphere.
- Our structural trussing is installed by the manufacturer, who is fully insured specifically for rigging human loads. We utilize conical trussing, superior to bolted and plated trussing, in deflection and maintenance.
- We never use heart-shaped beam clamps as a permanent rigging strategy for classes at The Dragonfly Aerial Company. Heart-shaped beam clamps are designed for temporary emergency life safety practices and are negatively-affected by vibration and angles. We believe that heart-shaped clamps never should be paired with a safety lower-out system due to the lateral pull. In some of our gyms, we utilize specialty acrobatic beam clamps manufactured in France and designed for human dynamic loads and accommodate the lateral pull of safety lower-out systems. Proper hardware and equipment is costly, but what we are hanging from that hardware…is priceless.
- The Dragonfly Aerial Company utilizes a safety lower-out system designed by Vertical Art Dance and the ATS team. We’ve been installing this system in our gyms since 2017. This system allows us to adjust our aerial points to the students unique height, or adjust them for the learning of specific skills. Most-importantly, we can lower them immediately if a student is in distress.
- At the Dragonfly Aerial Company, we utilize a 2″ competition-grade gymnastic/cheer foam floor beneath our 8″ mats as a minimum safety requirement for our students. This way we not only have additional padding beneath the mat, but should a student roll off the mat, the student is still on adequate padding.
- Dragonfly Aerial Company Coaches receive continuous, weekly training sessions, on multiple apparatus, to ensure that they are receiving ongoing education on the latest techniques of coaching and spotting.
- The Dragonfly Aerial Company has a rigorous coach training program and an online resource platform to prepare and continue to support our coaches throughout their careers with us.
- At the Dragonfly Aerial Company, we execute recurrent and documented rigging safety checks.
- Dragonfly Aerial Company Coaches are CPR, Safety and First-Aid Certified.
- New Dragonfly Aerial Company coaches are background-checked.
- At the Dragonfly Aerial Company, our organization, property, rigging and specifically our coaches, are properly insured for teaching adults and youth with coverage specifically designated for the height of our studio. **(Many other studios / coaches are teaching with improper insurance coverage, i.e., with teaching insurance that restricts them to 12′ / 15′ or only a performance insurance that may not cover teaching at all).
- The Dragonfly Aerial Company follows the American Circus Educators (A.C.E.) guidelines for Aerial instructors.
- Class sizes at the Dragonfly Aerial Company generally have a 6:1 ratio, i.e., six students to one instructor, and average four to one. The majority of our classes, however, have two coaches per class, so we can provide individualized attention and elevated safety-awareness.
- Dragonfly Aerial Company coaches are progressively trained in anatomy, bio-mechanics and injury prevention. The higher level the coach, the deeper we dive into anatomy training. In fact, the Dragonfly Aerial Company has a partnership with Emily Scherb, “the Circus Doc”, for a portion of the anatomy education in our licensing program. Our primary instructor trainer and curriculum contributor, Mckell Anderson, is a MyFLEX course consultant, and offers valuable ongoing, in-house trainings for our staff.
The Dragonfly Aerial Company holds a strong respect for the aerial arts industry. Those of us making our living in this industry have a responsibility to give back and to continually improve the integrity of our industry. Our Director, Mistia Fallon, is a member of the American Youth Circus Organization, American Circus Educators and the Aerial Alliance. She is an A.C.E. Insurance committee member, actively contributing to establishing guidelines for safety and policy in studios nationwide. Mistia is also an A.Y.C.O. and A.C.E. studio director’s group member, actively participating in discussion groups on topics ranging from health and safety policies to sharing resources for social circus programs for at-risk youth. The Dragonfly Aerial Company is also a Patreon backer for C.S.A.W. (Circus Students Around the World) for their micro-grant program for Artists of Color. Dragonfly also provides in-house scholarships for students in need that display commendable dedication and passion for the aerial arts. With over two decades in the industry –performing professionally, across 45 countries, as a headliner on Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise LIne and Holland America Cruise line– Mistia Fallon will share with you that talent is nothing without proper work ethic and respect for those hiring, directing and producing and for our fellow artists. Therefore, at The Dragonfly Aerial Company, we value character equally to, if not more importantly than, performance quality. Dragonfly Aerial Company coaches are fierce, their character is solid and rooted in the growth mindset principles.
The owners of The Dragonfly Aerial Company, above and beyond all else, value our relationship with God. With Jesus Christ as our foundation, we believe the DAC will continue to grow, serve and bless others; Proverbs 16:3. We are a quirky and unconventional homeschool family who strive to create a peaceful and family-friendly aerial training space that is welcoming to all and grounded in love. Bullying and divisive behavior are not tolerated in our home and therefore is not tolerated in our business. We do not cultivate division by isolating people in the name of inclusion or adhering to lables. We spent over a decade on the road living and working with people of 60 different nationalities and many different ideologies and we were always hungry for the social and cultural education. The Dragonfly Aerial Company is not here because we wanted to start a new business….we already had one in full-swing. Dragonfly started as an outlet for a new mom retiring from a performance career who sought community in the transition. We are here because we love aerial and we love people.
Dragonfly is not a place to push agendas — political or personal. That does not mean we are not passionate about the issues of today, it simply means that in the studio we choose to focus on what unites us, our passion for aerial. Dragonfly is a place for our students to escape the noise, judgment, and turbulence of the outside world and focus on becoming better athletes, better artists, and better human beings.
So, Come Fly with Us!