Two fabric straps, cotton or nylon, that are wrapped around the wrists for aerial work. For the most part straps is a gymnastic discipline where the artist demonstrates his/her (usually his) unbridled physical power within the confines of a strictly limited aerial vocabulary. There's crossover with gymnastic rings, and though the grip is different many of the same movements – and the ring gymnast's heavy emphasis on upper body strength – can be seen in work on straps.
For strength training, it's a useful method. Artistically it's all but dead, and it seems the difficulty of the discipline fully pushes out style and individuality. Generally you can expect to see straps artists: snapping from meat hook to side planche, over and over; rolling up the straps one of two ways; being lifted and flown around the giant circus ring / ice rink / sporting arena; exhibiting their bodies naked from the waist up (the male ones, anyway).
The programme for Migrations has as its centrefold a timeline of the history of diaspora, starting with the Phoenicians in Lebanon (c. -3000 BC), tracking the movements of the Huns, the Magyars and the imperialist British, and ending in 2007 with the arrival at Circus Space of the recently graduated degree students who are onstage tonight.