Kiara Kanzic

Ethan Tabarejo, Staff Writer

With her head in the clouds, a performer hangs elegantly suspended in the air by two lengths of cloth. Kiara Kanzic is a 16-year-old junior who has a rather unique way to spend her free time. Rather than spending her time in conventional ways, she’s elegantly suspended in the air on her pair of purple silks.

Aerial silks is a type of performance that takes place in the air with the performer suspended by two lengths of surprisingly stretchy fabric. The performer twists the long, silk “ropes” around different parts of the body to suspend it above the ground. This unique type of modern dance is a breathtaking and gravity-defying display that requires high full-body strength. There are multiple holds, movements and poses when it comes to aerial silks; Kanzic is one who is quite well versed in the matter.

Kanzic said she was inspired to try aerial silks after coming across a video of a Cirque du Soleil street performance in 2018.

“I Initially wanted to do contortion or acrobatics, but when I found out that there was an aerial studio near me, I decided to try it,” Kanzic said. 

After being star-struck with the graceful-yet-powerful Cirque performance, she decided to take a leap of faith into a new hobby. Since then Kanzic has honed her balance, muscle engagement and overall body control to the utmost precision while learning some of her favorite moves; her favorite being a double-ankle hang into what she likes to call a donut: being suspending horizontally to the floor while grabbing one’s ankle or foot behind the back to form a circle.

One of the harder moves–which Kanzic admits she still cannot perform well–is the “inversion,” where the aerialist straddles the silks and moves from a vertical position feet down, to a vertical position feet up.

“It takes a lot of core muscles,” she said. “Some people start on the ground, but others start in the air. It’s really hard.”

Kanzic has found great enjoyment in aerial silks. She likes the feeling of “being in control of being out of control.” 

When performing drops, she’s given this sense of freedom. 

“I have to set myself up for it, and when I let the silk go, there’s a moment of free fall. [It] feels like being out of control but because I’m prepared for it, I’m still in control.” 

Kanzic said her hobby helps her deal with stress.

“I love to dance and aerial is another form of dance, just in the air,” she said. “It’s nice because it’s exercise but it’s nice.” 

Kanzic enjoys the adrenaline rush, and leaves the studio energized and more relaxed.
This mood-uplifting exercise can be challenging to come by, Kanzic said. Balancing time for school and aerial practice is difficult for her because her studio, Noe Noe Hawaii, is on the windward side–the opposite side of the island from her home in Salt Lake. This cuts out practice during weekdays, leaving her with mostly early morning classes on Saturdays, as there are no classes on Sundays. When it comes to any breaks or holidays, Kiara makes sure to attend class.

“My favorite part of aerial is performing and creating. When playing around with pieces (skills) I’ve learned, I might accidentally find a pose or even mini drops,” Kanzic said. “I especially like the control aspect. As difficult as it is, making choreography look effortless–which it isn’t–is satisfying,” she said. 

Kanzic follows her own flow and continues to glide through the air on her silks purely “to have fun.” She has performed twice at Noe Noe Hawaii with the focus to simply enjoy the flow of performing. 

“If you have the opportunity to try something new, do it,” Kanzic advised. “Explore interests, learn new skills.”