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Get off to a flying start. Originally confined to the circus, but now becoming more and more popular as a form of fitness, aerial silks performances are a fun way to get active. Not as easy as it looks, climbing the silks and performing wraps, swings and falls will give your muscles a thorough workout – in addition to improve your balance, posture and poise. Just one quick warning, though – you’ll need proper fitness silks for this, so your granny’s chintz curtains are definitely out of bounds.
Aerial silks are special fabrics designed to support the weight of performers during a workout. The silks are suspended from the ceiling using specially designed aerial rigging, and are available in a variety of colours to add an attractive visual element to classes or shows.
During an aerial silks class, you’ll be taught a variety of different moves, from the basic French Climb to advanced wraps and falls. Although a professional silks performance looks graceful, it actually requires a huge amount of muscle power and coordination – so if you’re a beginner, it may take a while to master certain techniques.
Aerial silks performances take place without a safety net or harness (although there will be crash mats underneath in a class environment). It’s therefore important to make sure you always listen to your instructor’s advice, and don’t attempt anything too advanced – you don’t want to come literally crashing back to earth.
A certain degree of fitness is required in order to really get the most out of an aerial fitness class - meaning that this activity is unsuitable for the ill or injured. It’s also unsuitable for pregnant women, as it involves strenuous activity and even turning upside down. However, if you’re looking for a challenge and quite fancy copying the stars of the Cirque du Soleil, this might be an ideal hobby for you – why not give it a go and find out!
André Simard, who invented the concept of performing using aerial silks, has been quoted as saying ‘I fly a lot in my dreams’. We’ve got to admire a person who turns their dreams into reality...