Kimberly Kern is an Aerial Silk artist. She trains, performs and teaches aerial arts; preferred apparatus is aerial tissue (silk), and also Lyra, Hammock and Cube. Kimberly is located in the Orlando, FL area and she is available for performance work. Kimberly is also a graphic designer, specializing in print design. She writes a humorous blog, life-withdogs.blogspot.com and a weekly column for twodaymag.com.
Interview by Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.
Welcome to OpenBeast. Tell us about yourself?
I’m a Florida girl, born and raised in Clearwater. I grew up playing on the beaches with my older brother, Travis, and active in sports mainly gymnastics. I have been in Orlando about seven years now. Exercise has always been a huge part of my life. When I discovered aerial silk, I felt reawakened. It fueled a passion I had long been missing. I am currently an aspiring aerialist who trains at Orlando Circus School and aspiring writer.
What is Aerial Silk all about?
Aerial silk (also known as aerial tissue, aerial chiffon, aerial fabric, aerial contortion or aerial dance) is a fabric hanging 20ft or more in the air that aerialist performs on. They climb, wrap, drop, contort and pose using a combination of strength, flexibility and grace. Previously one would have to seek out a circus to see these magnificent acts. However in the past few years’ aerial training has become more mainstream and accessible to anyone desiring to learn. There are gyms in most major cities as well as spin off activities such as aerial yoga found throughout the US.
How did you get into aerial arts and talk to us about your training?
I saw an aerial silk class in a news segment for alternative fitness out in California. I Googled for a local place several years before I found my gym, Orlando Circus School. I was actually their first student. I was so out of shape I couldn’t even climb for weeks but I kept coming back. After a few months I switched from groups class to private lessons with one of the owners Irina Roubleva. She is a fourth generation circus performer and has mastered many disciplines. Her training is intense but I didn’t take lessons to be mediocre. I like train as much as possible and am always active, jogging/stretching/etc. on days I am not at Circus School.
Describe your experience on your first performance?
My first performance was terrifying. Well, the anticipation was terrifying. The silk was higher than I’ve ever been, was swinging more than I had ever experienced and I was pretty shaken after the run-through. At show time, the thrill of performing for thousands was utterly exhilarating. Over entirely too quickly, it was instantly addictive!
So do you teach?
After I trained a couple years, I was asked to sub teach an aerial silk class which led to me helping out at workshops, kids camps and parties. I ended up with a few regular classes however due to some minor health problems I took some time off recently. I am hoping to be back to my own training within a week or two.
Talk to us about your graphic design skills?
I have been working in graphic design for almost four years now. I specialize in print design but have basic web design and SEO knowledge. I see my writing as a compliment to my designing and am back at school seeking an English degree.
What is your best achievement or performance thus far?
To me my greatest achievement was my first professional performance. That I was talented enough to get paid to perform was huge. It reinforced that I earned it. I still have a photo of my first check; it inspires me. Also securing my weekly column, Kimmie on the Prowl, on twodaymag.com. When my editor tells me I wrote a great article or that my readership is growing it inspires me to write even better.
What are your leisure time activities?
Aerial training IS my leisure activity! I enjoy anything active like yoga and rollerblading. I have two large dogs and no yard so we jog daily. Writing is a passion of mine and I also love abstract painting. I’m going through a real industrial phase right now where I am fusing nails, bolts, screws, washers and anything I find at a hardware store with my acrylics and textures. Most of my leisure activities support my simple goals of aerial performing and writing in one way or another. My goals are simple but not easy.