Aerial silk classes require certain types clothing to get the most out of your time spent practicing. By wearing the appropriate dancewear, you can minimize injuries like silk or rope burn. Skin burns can happen at the back of the knees, under the arms, and on the stomach or back if you are not properly suited up. That is why it's essential to always wear the correct clothes while performing aerial silk moves, no matter what your level of advancement.
You will want to completely cover your stomach or back to prevent any burns or chaffing on the torso. A gymnastics suit, dance leotard, unitard, or full body suit will do the trick quite well. You can also get by with a long tank top that can easily be tucked into your tights or leggings. Also, remember that you'll need a long-sleeved shirt handy to prevent any silk burns under the arms.
It is important to ensure that you are comfortable as you learn new moves and tricks. Comfort during practice goes a long way toward how quickly you progress. For maximum performance in aerial moves, always wear tight fitting and flexible clothing. The perfect pants for the occasion are tights and leggings. Never wear baggy or wide legged pants because they can get entangled in the silks, causing major obstacles and safety hazards.
Many advanced aerialists recommend wearing two layers of tights to avoid leg abrasions, especially for slack drops where you can burn the back of your knees. One of the best solutions for minimizing such friction burns is to use a microfiber, cotton, or lycra /cotton blend for the layer directly against your skin. Cotton is much less likely to burn your skin than a synthetic fabric. It also helps grip the silk just right. The one downside of cotton is that it generally does not have great show appeal. This is where the top layer comes in handy. For the top layer, spandex works well and looks nice. Alone, spandex can be a bit slippery, but with an extra layer underneath, it creates the perfect balance for optimum grip and aerial aesthetics.
Aesthetics and beauty are some of the most important aspects of aerial silk dancewear to keep in mind when transitioning from practicing in class to performing live. Of course, comfort and safety are prerequisites, but the outfit you choose for a performance has a great impact on your overall presentation and appeal during a show.
Double layered tights work great for performances, with tights underneath and a costume unitard on top. For the costume, think colorful, exotic and exciting! The type of costume you choose will greatly affect your performance. Stretch velvet works well for the costume layer because it has a nice amount of grip against the aerial fabric, although it does get worn down over time.
Experiment with your own personal silk, because the best type of fabric for the outside layer depends on your individual silk fabric. Silks have different types of weaves and thicknesses, resulting in some being more slick than others. Be sure to try out various fabrics for your outside / costume layer prior to your performance. It's important to make sure your dancewear has the perfect combination of comfort, safety, and show appeal!