Hola! My name is Keira, and I am a flying trapeze instructor visiting Extreme Circus from Seattle, WA. I’ve been doing and teaching flying trapeze for over 5 years across the US, but I still remember my very first class as if it were yesterday. I walked into a trapeze school in Boston with a mix of fear, excitement, and complete uncertainty about what to expect in the next two hours. If you are considering taking a class on the flying trapeze, read on because I will fill you in on what to expect if you come fly with us at Extreme Circus!
First off, plan to arrive for your class at least 10 minutes beforehand so you have time to meet your instructors and fellow students, get your safety belt on, and say hi to our resident puppy or kitten. Usually there’s anywhere between 2-10 students, and classes are for all levels of flyers from brand new to more advanced students. Make sure to bring water with you, wear pants that cover the backs of your knees, and a shirt that covers your belly. Sunscreen is great to have on, but try to avoid having any on your forearms, hands, or backs of your knees! Once all of the students have arrived, we will put safety belts on everyone then start a brief warm-up and stretch while we go over the rules of flying trapeze and a few safety pointers. After we get those shoulders and legs loose, one of your three instructors will begin “ground school” with anyone who is brand new to trapeze. During ground school, your instructor will explain how to climb the ladder, how to take off the platform (with assistance from an instructor), and how to do our most basic tricks: the knee hang and the backflip dismount. You’ll even get a chance to practice your takeoff and your knee hang on the ground before you get up in the air. Ground school concludes with one of the instructors doing a demonstration of the knee hang and backflip up in the air so you get to see exactly what you are going to try to do!
Ground School: Practicing the take-off
Now it’s your chance to try! Before you climb the ladder, you will chalk up your hands to help absorb sweat and make sure you get a good grip on the bar. Then we will hook you into a safety device and you will begin climbing the ladder. From the moment your feet leave the ground, until the moment you dismount the net and return the ground you will be attached to a safety device, so no need to be scared, you will be completely safe! When you safely arrive at the top of the platform, you will be greeted by one of your instructors who will attach you to your safety lines, and assist you with your takeoff. I highly recommend taking a minute to look around and enjoy the view while you are up there- the ocean behind you full of kite surfers is a sight to remember! Once your instructor positions you for take-off, he or she will put the trapeze bar in your hands then say “Ready….hup” which means jump off the platform. Your first jump will be the most terrifying, exhilarating, awesome couple of seconds of your life! Before you know it you’re flying through the air with the greatest of ease!
Taking off from the platform
Once you are in the air swinging back and forth, your instructor on the ground (who is holding on to your safety lines) will give you commands for when to do your two tricks. You will learn to hang upside-down by just your legs on the trapeze (knee hang), and how to do a backflip when you let go of the trapeze and fall to the net. If you learn the knee hang successfully in the first half of class, you will even have the opportunity to make a catch at the end of class with an instructor. That means, one of your instructors will hang upside down swinging on one trapeze, while you hang upside down swinging on the other, and your instructor tries to grab you by the wrists so you can leave your trapeze and swing with him/her. In my opinion, this is the most fun part of trapeze!
The Knee Hang
Before you know it, your two hour class will be over, and you will leave with a sense of accomplishment, lots of good photos/videos to prove you did flying trapeze, sore hands, and new friends! But the fun doesn’t have to end there…. If you come back for another class there are dozens of different tricks you can learn once you master the knee hang and backflip, so every class is different! When class is over, I strongly recommend visiting one of the many bars along Kite Beach for a good mojito to help bring you back down from your adrenaline rush, and to ice your hands! Now you know everything you need to know, so go book your flying trapeze camp with us!