Last night, for Alaska Day, the Sitka Sound Slayers Roller Derby team had a bout against Wrangell Betties. I was there as a TV cameraman for the local TV station. I enjoyed the roller derby, but what really struck me was the half time show, a performance by the Sitka Silk group. It was a spellbinding display of aerial silk.
Aerial silk is a form of aerial acrobatics performed on “Silks” hanging all the way from the ceiling to the floor of the gym. The silks look like huge, colorful scarves which, according to Wikipedia, are sometimes silk and sometimes synthetics. Think of it as an aerial ballet consisting of climbs, wraps, and drops. When performing a “Wrap” the artist/athlete is wrapping the body in the scarves of silk, performing turns, poses and graceful movements while suspended above the gym floor. It is both slow and breathtaking, heart stopping really: athletic, graceful, sensual. The spotlights created large projections on the back wall of the Hames Center Gym doubling the visual impact, in front the colorful silk, in the back the outsized silhouettes of the performers in black and white. It was the perfect complement to the bash ‘em high speed action of roller derby.