A Noordhoek mother has recently returned from competing overseas where she represented her country in as a silk aerialist.Gabriela Sissons was the 2nd runner-up in the Airstars Asia-Pacific Championship in China and 1st runner-up in the APPA Russian Aerial Championship held in Vladivostock. She also won the International Aerial Performance Championship in Hong Kong last year after only a year of doing the sport. Aerial Silks is a type of performance in which one performs aerial acrobatics while hanging from a special fabric. Performers climb the suspended fabric without the use of safety lines, and rely only on their training and skill to ensure safety. They use the fabric to wrap, suspend, fall, swing, and spiral their bodies into and out of various positions. “A friend of mine suggested trying a class as she thought it would be right up my alley, and she was right – I was hooked after my first class,” Sissons says. “The combination of dancing high up in the air combined with adrenaline and flight tugs at the very core of my heart strings! I feel alive up there; I get to put my heart and soul on a plate while I am performing.”Sissons choreographs her own routines and designs her own elaborate costumes. “I feel that it was my choreography and performance ability that gave me the winning edge. I love performing to an audience. I leave my heart up there when I fly.”When Sissons is training for a competition, she tries to get as many hours of practice in as she can. This is usually about four to six hours a week, and is a combination of climbing drills, stretching, weight training and “a bit of Crossfit”.A photographer by profession, as well as a wife and a mother of two boys, Sissons says finding time to practice her passion can be difficult. Sissons plans to compete in – and win – the next international performance championship in Hong Kong.