Like the sound of swishing blades, they fly through the air, performing breathtaking stunts in performances as awe-inspiring as their gravity-defying skills — aerial silks hang 20-30 feet high to achieve the height necessary for aerialists to perform drops and turns while suspended in the air. Performers climb the suspended fabric without the use of safety lines, and rely only on their training, skill, and courage to ensure safety.
They use the fabric to wrap, suspend, fall, swing, and spiral their bodies into and out of various positions. Truly an art that seems scary and nerve-wracking, yet offers a different kind of thrill and wonder both for the performer and the audience.
Kat Lapuz, more popularly known as Acrokat was first introduced to the aerial arts just three years ago. Though she may seem to be a newbie compared to her peers today, just last year, joined her first international PPS Aerial Performance Tournament along with professional aerialists around the world and took home the first runner up award. Without looking back, she took it as a challenge to be even more motivated in her chosen sport, doubling her effort, giving more time and work in pursuing and training more.
Truly, hard work pays off. Last Nov 18-19, 2015, Acrokat bagged the gold medal at the PPS Aerial Performance Tournament 2015, Professional Silks Division held in Hong Kong, performing against seasoned competitors coming from countries such as Italy, Japan, Russia, and China. A remarkable victory for her as she poured endless hours of training both on the ground and in the air to prepare for her upcoming competition. “Who would have thought that a girl with no dance background and flexibility three years ago would be able to win a competition?” Kat says happily of her recent triumph.
To excel in the aerial arts, one must have amazing feats of strength and flexibility in every harmonious expressive movement that exudes power under control, all while suspended high in the air. Certainly, it is no joke for Kat to be an aerialist, training her way to the top to produce jaw-dropping performances. One would hardly notice just how much focus she exerts in controlling each precise movement and all the effort it takes her to grip, twist, and climb the silks, manoeuvring her body into beautiful shapes and positions while onstage.
While Acrokat had already competed in the same tournament in 2014, in many ways this year’s PPS Tournament was a completely different experience from last year. For one thing, she was amazed to discover that several of her competitors, including some from the amateur division, not only recognized her, but expressed their love for her art. “They’d say, ‘Hey, you’re Acrokat! I love you so much. I watched your videos a lot of time,'” Kat shares, which was both gratifying and nerve-wracking for her. “So much pressure!” she says laughingly. Acrokat is certainly carving out a name for herself in the international world of the aerial arts onstage and by sharing videos and photos of her training regimen as well as her various performances, she is an inspiration for aerialists and dancers around the world.
Today, she’s on a par with many of her own aerial idols – one can only imagine the hard work she exerted, the extra hours she put into training her absolute hardest to make it to the top and the determination she’s put into becoming an aerialist. Rather than being discouraged that she was starting from the bottom, unlike most aerialists who already have dance or gymnastics backgrounds, she turned it into her motivation. “It’s never too late to set a goal or a dream,” she shares. “Continue dreaming and work on achieving that dream, because everything is possible if you really want it and work hard for it.”