Kevin Holland expresses his love for aerial silk (video)

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Kevin Holland expresses his love for aerial silk (video)

Rachel Sun

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Suspended in mid-air, relying on a single silk fabric to keep him from plummeting to the ground is what keeps sophomore Kevin Holland on his toes. Holland has been doing aerial silk for over a year, and he was first inspired to try it out when he attended a Cirque du Soleil show in Los Angeles.

“Aerial silk is a fabric that hangs from the ceiling and you do routines with it. You climb up and then you start doing the [circus] tricks,” Holland said.

Aerialists perform aerial acrobatics in mid-air while hanging from silk fabrics. Performers do various tricks on the fabric, with no attached safety harness, relying only on their physical strengths and skills. They use the fabric to transition in and out of different poses.

“I just think it’s really pretty and when I first saw it, it really inspired me and I felt really touched, so I do it because I like to have the same effect on other people who feel the same way,” Holland said.

Currently, he takes classes at Airealistic Circus and Flying School. Most of his routines include different positions and tricks.

“There’s flips and drops and slack drops and a whole bunch of different drops and just poses in general,”Holland said.

Despite the risks, Holland didn’t find it scary to begin aerial silk. At first, Holland found it difficult to build up his arm strength, but it gradually became easier for him as the class progressed.

“It was difficult in the beginning because I couldn’t do what everyone else was doing, and so when I was just starting out, I could barely hold a handstand,” he said.

Although Holland hasn’t been in any aerial silk competitions, he has been in a couple of shows in the last year. His best performance so far, in his opinion, would be his most recent one because it was his first show at Airealistic Circus and Flying School.

“I’m happy when I’m doing [aerial], but during a routine, I try to express different emotions; there’s not one I can really pinpoint,” Holland said.

Before each show, performers undergo preparations and warm-ups because “the last thing you want is to mess up.”

“I practice my routine, I run through it a couple times and then I listen to the song I’m doing and I count it out in my head and I stretch because I want to be extra flexible for it,” he said.

When it comes to aerial silk, there’s bound to be injuries, ranging from minor burns and sprains to more serious ones like broken bones or even paralysation. In the year that Holland has done aerial silk, he hasn’t come across any injuries that would have prevented him from practicing, but he has gotten a few burns from hanging on bars and silk.

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To Holland, the most difficult part of aerial silk is the commitment it requires.

“The most difficult part of it is the commitment you have to make because you have to build up the flexibility and the strength to do more advanced things,” he said.

The beauty of aerial art is also what makes it dangerous, but Holland encourages everyone to try it out.

“They should just try it because you’ll probably end up liking it,” Holland said. “And if you don’t like it at first, it’s good to just stop then and not keep going until you get really committed, because you have to be really committed to be able to do it.”

Video Credit: Kazu Koba/The Foothill Dragon Press

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