January 20 – 21

Rigging and Risk Management for Aerial Acrobatics, Circus and Dance: Aerial Rigging Basics (Session 1)

About this Immersion

Aerial Rigging Basics will cover principles, theory and practices for many typical scenarios (14 hours). This intensive hands-on, participatory workshop will focus on principles and practices of rigging and risk management for circus, acrobatic, and aerial dance performance. It is suitable for riggers, performers, coaches, studio/facility/theatre managers, and others involved in executing or overseeing aerial performance.

Both Session 1, Aerial Rigging Basics, and Session 2, Advanced Topics, will feature practical demonstrations using computerized load-cell technology, and will provide access to an array of skills and techniques for safe and effective performance rigging. Topics to be explored include dynamic loads and forces (including shock loads with live performance demonstrations), strength and properties of materials and hardware (including destructive testing), design factors and determination of allowable loads, use of non-rated and invented apparatus (including bungee), risk assessment and risk management, inspection and retirement protocols, emergency planning, manual performance rigging techniques using mechanical advantage and counterweight, touring considerations, and rigging math. While we will touch on the basic principles underlying automated performer rigging systems, this is not an automation class and will not deal in any depth with specific systems, design, or operational considerations. The workshop will also address the provisions of the American National Standards for Performer Flying (ANSI E-1.43 2015).

The workshop is led by experienced aerial rigger and trainer Jonathan Deull. ETCP Renewal Credits are available for participants with ETCP certification.


$395 each session
$770 to do both Session 1 and Session 2

JSD Productions (Jonathan Deull)

16 and up.

12 – 9 pm daily with meal break



Since 1997, Jonathan Deull has been deeply engaged in the study and practice of rigging and risk management for live entertainment, with a particular emphasis on aerial performer rigging for circus, aerial dance, and theatre. His work includes design and execution of rigging systems and productions in the USA and internationally, including design of the performance rigging for the Big Apple Circus and Omnium Circus. He is an ETCP Certified Rigger (Theatre), and an ETCP Recognized Trainer. He serves as a voting member of the ESTA Rigging Working Group that formulates rigging standards for the entertainment industry, and is one of the Task Group members for the revision of the ANSI E1.43 standard for Performer Flying Systems. As a Safety Consultant and Safety Committee Member for the American Circus Educators Association, he helps lead the effort to develop safety and risk management guidelines and protocols for circus performance training programs and facilities. Since 2007, when he and Elsie Smith presented the first rigging training specifically oriented toward performers, he has created and led workshops for performing arts riggers, performers, directors, choreographers, and technical personnel. He has taught for universities, production companies, circus schools, IATSE locals, and other organizations around the USA and abroad, including many years teaching at NECCA. He co-led the Jay Glerum Rigging Master Class on two occasions, and in 2018 undertook an extended engagement in Hangzhou, China as rigging trainer for Cirque du Soleil.

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