I was contacted by Cheetah of Aerial Essentials about a bar tape they’ve developed, asking if I was up for reviewing it as I’m such a vocal, picky bastard about how my lyras are taped.
To which I of course heartily agreed. I promptly received a couple of rolls- black just like I’d asked for.
My own Aurora had been given a lively retaping in Newbaum's a few months back, and at the high price tag and the lengthy life expected of that tape, I didn’t want to get her all nekkid unceremoniously early. So I called my good friend and local badass Maia Adams who owns the Aerial Artique in downtown San Francisco, and with her go-ahead, decided to give this tape the harshest possible gauntlet to run through: seeing how it performed on a classroom hoop.
I never do hoop with rings, zippers, anything that can damage the tape. I treat my equipment as a partner- so not a very harsh mistress to the tape. But students on the other hand...students come up in here wearing freakin zippered jumpsuits, wedding bands that don’t come off, razor blades on their palms (ok not really, but you get the idea). I knew that if a tape was going to stand up to abuse, we would know after a few months of giving class on it.
Also, the Aerial Artique is deliciously warm- it traps heat like a greenhouse; great for the body, hell on tape. I was sending this tape on a quest to rival Indiana Jones.
So lemme tell you about this tape- the reason it’s special is several-fold:
It is purported to be:
- Affordable at $6.50 a roll
- Available in 9 different colors (so far)
- cover an entire hoop with one roll
- Able to be performed on IMMEDIATELY
If you’re an aerialist, you know that last claim is BFD; I put off retaping my hoops as long as possible because I hate, loathe, and otherwise despise the sticky awfulness that is a newly taped hoop, even with loads of chalk rubbed into it. It takes weeks to achieve the perfect combination of usable tackiness and natural slide necessary to comfortably perform on without ripping out chunks of skin.
|Exhibit A: Lizard Back|
So with Maia’s blessing I took down the hoop with the most badly damaged tape (tape that melts into loose, open pockets is even worse than ripped sections). Just FYI, at the bottom of this post is a series of pictures to illustrate my best method for taping the top of the hoop with athletic style bar tape. You know, for you nerds.
I put it back up. I DIDN’T chalk it. I fought the compulsion to chalk it and won.
Then I warmed up and ran my whole act on it
And it performed like a freakin dream. Hallelujiah I say, and can I get an amen, it actually did what it said it would do. I lost no skin, I did not get stuck.
I see no reason to buy any other type of athletic style bar tape ever again.
So that was April 4th 2017, and here we are heading into the studio June 29th- by now the tape should have been thoroughly put through the ringer so in addition to it’s dreamy qualities right off the bat, let’s see how it holds up to the test of longevity......
..PAUSE FOR DRAMATIC EFFECT...
BOOM. With the exception of one small repair the tape has held up excellently even after months of abuse- I’m sold. It’s not trailing threads, back-curling, melting or pocketing. If you want to see a dumb video of me checking the tape out it’s here:
For super long life, your best best is still Newbaum’s or Velox, which frequently last into the years-long time frames. It’s expensive and you do have to get used to the grip if you’re using it for the first time, but it lasts. However if you prefer the feel of athletic style bar tape in my opinion this is as good as it gets. Thank you Aerial Essentials for being rad and for solving this problem in 9 different colors.
Now for you nerds. Taping around the Tab.
Step 1: get hoop nekkid
Step 2: tape a strip under the tab
Step 3: tape both back and forward faces just under the tab
It should look like this from the top
Step 4: finish taping as usual
As promised, less than one roll for my 38" hoop.
Alright go forth and use the good stuff.
ps. if you were on my email list, you would have gotten all this plus news on happenings, templates for resumes, contracts, and deadlines that I don't announce here. Just saying.