Just what is an Aerial Silk Performance?
November 12, 2013 at 9:26 PM
Aerial Silk performances involve a variety of artists performing acrobatics and manoeuvres while suspended from a special fabric. Performers climb up the fabric without the use of safety lines, relying only upon their skills and training to keep them safe. Aerial ribbons are used by the performers to swing, fall, suspend themselves, wrap and spiral through a variety of movements. Some performances involve the artists flying through the air while holding a specific pose.
The fabric used for Aerial Silk performances are an extremely durable stretch polyester lycra blend which can be used in a variety of widths, depending on what the particular performance is. The fabric is usually quite long because it provides the performer with two strips of fabric to be used for rigging and the performance at the same time.
A performance is a combination of the three main tricks being drops, climbs and wraps. Drops can be dramatic as the artist is wrapped in Aerial Silks, high above the performance area and then releases themselves to a lower position by rolling or rotating as they come down. Drops are the most dangerous of the tricks and require a great deal of skill.
Climbs are generally the route that the artist uses to reach the top of the silk and move on with their performance, but it can be a very elegant trick as the performer may use a series of poses as they move up the silk. The French climb and the straddle climb are two types of climbing methods that can be used to reach the top.
Wraps are poses where the performer does not move. Once the performer has wrapped themselves in the silks, they may even release their grip from the Aerial Ribbons and hold a pose as they spin through the air by their feet.
Aerial Silk performance artists start off with low stretch fabrics when they train and move up to medium stretch fabrics once they know how to manage the limitations and their relationship to the proximity of the ground. Most artists use a compound called rosin on their hands to improve their grip as they perform.
The entire performance of artists with aerial ribbons can be singular or it may involve a few performers acting out a story or a play. The performers working together often must have impeccable timing as one artist releases themselves from the safety of their aerial ribbons and is relying upon the other performer to catch them.
Aerial silk performances require an incredible amount of strength, courage and flexibility. The artists possess incredible body strength and spend a great deal of time practicing to ensure that they get the routines down so that the performances for live audiences are flawless. When you are watching these performances, the artists make the movements look easy and seamless, but they are complicated and calculated movements that have been practiced thousands of times before their performance.