Aerial Silk Artists Reach New Heights

Sep 6, 2016

Instructor Bridget Doran practicing aerial silk art above Kachemak Bay.
Credit Photo courtesy of Kammi Matson

Summer may be over, but fall classes at the Homer Council on the Arts are just beginning. Three “circus art” classes are set to begin this week.

To be clear, there are no clowns or high wire acts in circus art class. Aerial silk work is a type of performance art that uses long strips of fabric suspended from the ceiling. Performers wrap themselves in the fabric, creating a makeshift harness.

Homer resident Kammi Matson is one of the class instructors. She’s been practicing aerial silk arts since 2011.

“It’s a beautiful art form where you’re climbing and you’re wrapping. You’re wrapping your foot or your hand or your body in the silk. And then it’s surprising because from different positions you can go from the beautiful acrobatic suspended position that you’re in and you can roll and drop suddenly, one to three to five feet. There’s this element of control and grace and beauty, and then surprise and adrenaline and speed,” says Matson.

Because it requires both flexibility and muscle strength, aerial silk art can be a physically demanding activity. But class instructor Bridget Doran says that beginners gradually build upon skills as they learn.

Ireland and her brother Ethan practice partner aerial silks.
Credit Photo courtesy of Kammi Matson

“A lot of people feel intimidated when they see it, like ‘I don’t have the upper body strength for that. My arms are really weak.’ You can use different muscles in your body to actually climb. It’s not like doing a pull-up every time. It doesn’t have to be,” Dooran explains.

Homer Council on the Arts will offer three aerial silk classes this fall. A beginning class focuses on building strength and flexibility, while learning basic aerial silk movements. In the intermediate class, students further develop these skills and study more advanced techniques. And a new aerial conditioning exercise class focuses on building stamina and improving overall physical fitness.

Aerial silk classes start on Tuesday, September 6 and run on Tuesdays and Thursdays through October 14.

To learn more about the upcoming classes and register, visit the Homer Council on the Arts website.