With every quivering muscle in your aching arms, you heave yourself towards the forty-foot ceiling with nothing but a fistful of silk fabric. As you climb, you meticulously loop the two silk strands around your thighs and waist in just the right order. One wrong loop could result in paralysis. When at last you are secured, swaying high above the concrete floor, there’s only one thing left to do: let go. Your stomach drops with a rush of adrenaline as you spin wildly towards the unforgiving ground. Then, at the last possible second, the silk pulls tight and snaps you upright as your feet brush the ground less than twelve inches below.
This, friends, is the art of aerial silks, my newest and first semi-athletic obsession. It all began two weeks ago, when a friend of mine attended a beginner aerial silks class for kicks and suckered me in with this too-good-to-be-true $5 new member deal. “I’ll go to just one class,” I told myself skeptically. “As if climbing up an oversized swatch of fabric will actually do anything for me.”
Oh, was I wrong.
The next day, after just a one-hour beginner class, my shoulders and back felt as if I’d given Bonnie Grape a piggy-back ride.
Of course, the scenario above describes a drop, a stunt exclusively for experienced silks acrobats. The beginner class consists mostly of striking adorable, Instagram-able poses, doing the splits upside down, and attempting feebly to climb up the silks at all. The higher the stunt on the rope, the more experienced the climber.
I’ve attended roughly four or five one-hour classes now, meaning I have a decent feel for how to twist myself into the silks without spinning into a cocoon. That being said, last week my instructor apparently felt it was time for us to move on to the inevitable, unbelievably nerve-wracking next level: drops. After one brutally failed attempt in which I smacked the right half of my face into the disappointingly-unpadded “padding” on the floor, it happened. I completed my first drop.
Although this is without a doubt one of my proudest moments of the year, you may be interested to see someone who looks less like a flailing fish gasping for air and more like a graceful ballerina. If that’s the case, then check out this YouTube performance below.
Impressive, no? The only downside to all of this is the horrific-looking bruises that will pop up all over your body and make your family question your life-choices. If you’re not okay with looking like a domestic-violence victim, then this sport isn’t for you. If you’re looking for something original to spice up your dull, ordinary existence, however, I highly recommend taking the plunge and signing up for an aerial silks class. Sure, you could get pretty banged up. Sure, you could be paralyzed. But no one will ever say you didn’t live life to the fullest, and isn’t that worth something?