Two lengths of fabric that can be climbed and split for more complex tricks. As a discipline silks is fussier and poncier than its cousin corde lisse, but is widely used in giant/glossy spectacles for the dramatic effect of the flowing (high-visibility) fabric. It's this popularity for fabric aerial as a distraction at corporate events and car launches and mall openings that's caused silks to penetrate public consciousness – it probably has the highest recognition of the static aerial disciplines (people tend to assume that trapeze is flying trapeze).
There's a burlier, usually male, style of tissu that transposes the roll-ups from straps vocabulary, but for the most part silks performance is ruled by the 'aerial dance' subset: dancers who switch over to aerial without really training into the discipline, placing the emphasis on posing and flexibility rather than, perhaps a little ironically, actual movement.
Following the collaboration in 2007 with Improbable on Philip Glass’ Satyagraha, the ENO have now turned from puppetry and devised theatre to circus, bringing in Daniele Finzi Pasca (Cirque du Soleil and Éloize) to direct a staging of Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin.