What Is The Sport of Aerial Silks?

Aerial Silks

What is Aerial Silks? 

Aerial silks is a form of performance art where performers use long pieces of fabric to climb and move through the air. It takes strength, flexibility, and grace to perform the various moves associated with aerial silks.

To get started with aerial silks, you need two fabric pieces, each between 8-20 yards long. The fabric should be strong enough to hold your body weight without tearing or breaking. 

Quick History

The sport of aerial silks is thought to have originated in China, where it was used as a form of acrobatic entertainment. Silks were also used in Ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt for similar purposes. In the Middle Ages, aerial silks became popular in Europe to entertain royalty and noblemen.

During the Renaissance, it reached new heights as performers began using them to perform daring feats such as flying through hoops and rings. In the 19th century, circus performers took aerial silks to new levels with their death-defying acts.

Today, it is most commonly used in circus performances and dance routines. They are also becoming increasingly popular as a form of exercise and aerial fitness.

The Practice Of Aerial Silks

Aerial silks have become increasingly popular recently as more people have become interested in learning acrobatic skills. It can be practiced as a solo discipline or in groups depending on the type of performance desired.

Many different types of moves can be performed on aerial silks, such as drops, climbs, wraps, sequences, and combinations. Each action requires different skill and strength levels to look its best when performing for an audience. 

Benefits of Aerial Silks 

Aerial silks provide incredible physical benefits like improved strength, flexibility, and coordination. It also helps build confidence by providing an opportunity to challenge yourself while performing in front of others. Furthermore, aerial silks encourage creative expression as you learn new poses and choreograph routines.

And last but not least, it can be incredibly fun. As you progress into your practice, you will discover more challenging moves that will test your strength, agility, and creativity.  

Equipment Needed For Aerial Silks 

Beginner aerial silk practitioners should have access to a stable apparatus attached to the ceiling and aerial silks with a minimum breaking strength of 2000 lbs and a width of 3 inches. It’s important that the silks are long enough for their desired routines and fluid movements, often measuring from 65-70 feet.

Supports are also necessary for power moves such as drops or catches and must be durable, respected brands like Wece or Pearl Ocean. Beyond these necessities, optional items such as swivel fields or sewn-in eye screws that prevent tangling during multiple rotations in the air can heavily improve safety.

Tips For Success

Strong Body Awareness: This is because you will constantly move and shift your weight while performing tricks and maneuvers. If you are unaware of your own body, it is very easy to lose control and fall.

Strength: Many tricks and moves require a great deal of upper body strength to be executed properly. As such, working on strengthening your arms, back, and core muscles is important to succeed in this sport.

Flexibility: Many moves and tricks involve wrapping your body around the fabric to achieve different positions. If you are not flexible, it will be very difficult to execute these moves properly. As such, you should make sure to stretch and do some basic yoga or Pilates exercises on a regular basis to improve your flexibility.

Safety Considerations 

Proper warm-up exercises are essential before beginning any training session so that your muscles are ready for the movements required during practice sessions. Use safety mats underneath your silk apparatus to have something soft to land on if you slip or fall while practicing maneuvers.

It’s also important to have proper spotting techniques with experienced partners who know what they’re doing so that they can keep an eye out for potential danger while you practice your moves in the air.

Different Types of Competitions

Freestyle is the most common type of competition. In the freestyle competition, performers have a set amount of time to perform their routine, and they’re judged on their technical ability, creativity, and performance.

Other types of competitions include speed climbing competitions, where contestants have to race to the top of the silk fabric. Endurance competitions, where contestants have to perform for a longer period of time. And team competitions, where groups of performers compete against each other.


Arial silks is undoubtedly one of the most impressive performance arts out there, from its physical benefits to its creative opportunities for expression.

If you’re interested in trying out aerial silks, take all necessary safety precautions and find an experienced instructor who can guide you through your journey. It is worth trying if you are looking for a new way to fit in and have fun.