by Elaine Eason April 22, 2018 5 min read

What are Aerial Silks?Aerial silk is a type of performance in which one or more artists perform aerial aerobics while hanging from a silk fabric. In this type of performance, artists climb the suspended fabrics without the use safety lines, rather they rely mainly on their skills and training.  They use the fabrics to wrap, suspend and swing themselves into and out of various positions. Performance artists use Aerial Silks to dance through the air and they stake poses and figures while flying.

Woman Hanging on Red Aerial Silks Belay

There are three main categories of tricks employed by an aerialist during performances; these aerial tricks are – climbs, wraps, and drops.  Climbs are practical and efficient to get into the air and are the start of many poses. Building a strong climb is crucial to advance safely in aerial silks. Wraps are generally static poses that can be done from the ground or in the air. The fabric can be wrapped around your foot, leg, arm, waist, or full body to create a variety of poses. The complication of the wrap affects the force of fiction directly on the fabric. Drops are the most advanced aerial tricks. The aerialist secures themselves through wraps to prepare for a drop. Then by releasing some wraps, the aerialist can drop or flip through the air in a variety of stunning movements.

The difference between Aerial Silk and Aerial Yoga

Aerial silk is a combination of dance and gymnastics suspended from the air using medium stretch fabrics. The moves in aerial silk are systematic in other words they are built on top of each others. They usually start with a foundational concepts and proceed to a more advanced concepts. No experience is required for a beginner in aerial silk, rather a continuous practice in dancing, rock climbing, gymnastic, yoga and pole will go a long way in aiding a beginner in anything involving aerial. While the aerial yoga uses the ground and the support of a soft hammock to transform a traditional yoga into a wide range of experience.  Aerial yoga is based off the flow of the mind or body philosophy of traditional yoga.

Reasons why people practice aerial silk at home

  • Convenience:One of the reasons most aerialists prefer practicing in their house is because of the convenience they enjoy while at home. There can swing and drop the way they like at their own pace. They can put in practice, any latest skills they have acquired at classes.


  • Affordability:Studio time for aerial is expensive and it is more affordable to get a fabric silk to be able to practice your aerial skills at home. This will enable you to practice continuously without a strict schedule at an affordable and cheap price.


  • Ability to practice anytime of the day:Another advantage of practicing aerial silk from home is the flexibility of aerialists to practice anytime of the day without interruption. This will make beginners to become experts and experts will become professional. Just having silks in the house will inspire you to play and condition on a regular basis.


Aerial Silks Tips for beginner

  • Stretch:It is important for every beginner of aerial silks to work on his/ her stretching skills. This is essential for injury prevention and motion range increment through the joint and muscles. Stretching becomes more valuable as the beginner begins to learn some advanced move I aerial skills for beginner. Key places to stretch are; shoulders, upper, middle and lower back, hands and forearms, hip flexor, hamstrings and toe/feet.


  • Forearm strength and Endurance:Every beginners of aerial silks always need to develop their forearm so as to endure the various grips, poses and wraps that the will undergo in the aerial silk. The challenge of most aerial silks beginners is often due to their forearm inability to endure the wraps and pose. Burpees, pushups, and pull up variations will build aerial strength.


  • Eat well:People that want to be good aerialists must eat very well so that tor bod can move in the air like a fine tune machine. They should eat much of fresh, natural and unprocessed fruits, vegetables,  lean meat and plenty of water. This will give the body needed flexibility to fly in the air.


  • Rest:Aerial silks beginners always come with a lot of excitements and eagerness. Beginners often want to train continuously during and even after classes. Though this training is good and will perfect their aerial silks skill, it is important for them to take time to rest. The muscles need rest to grow and acclimate to the feel of the aerial silks. 

Safety tips for Aerial Performers

The safety of performers is an important consideration to look into during aerial silks performance. This is due to the fact that most acrobats do not use safety nets or spotting in their performance; they rely completely on their training and skills. In view of this, safety is paramount in all aerial silks activities.

The safety tips for Aerial performers is generally divided into three categories  - Before a performance, during a performance and after the performance.

Before Performance (or even practice at home)

Rigging:It is important for aerialists to always ensure that the  right rigging equipment for aerial silks are properly installed. This is the first safety precaution that must be taken before the actual aerial performance.  Most times, professional companies are always called to install these equipment to ensure the reliability of the equipment. If you're practicing at home, always hire a professional rigger to hang your silks.

 Stretching: This is one of the recommendation during aerial silks for beginner to advance. Proper stretching is essential for warming up the muscles there by preventing pull tear.

Safety Mat:It is important for safety mat to be spread on the floor beneath the aerial silks equipment. This will be an injury preventive measure should a wrap or pose goes bad, the performers will not fall directly on the hard floor. Thicker gymnastic crash mats are required for poses in the air.

During performance

Spotting:As a safety precaution, a performer can request for a spotter especially when making some tricky moves in the air. There is no shame in requesting for a spotter this is because it is better to be on the safer side than sorry. Always practice with a friend nearby to help if you find yourself stuck in a pose.

Take your time:Aerial silk poses should never be rushed. It is important to always say easy and calm, follow the standard procedure and don’t be in the rush to impress the audience at your own risk.

After Performance:

Equipment Storage: After every performance,  aerialists must ensure that the equipments are properly stored and are being prevented from  damage. This is important so that the equipment can be used for the next performance.

Keep Stretching:It is important for aerialists to keep stretching even after their performance. This will make their body to be free and flexible, also they should always hydrate themselves after each performance.

Aerial silks is an interesting performance on stage, but always follow the safety tips whenever you perform.

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Elaine Eason
Elaine Eason

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