Blog By Joe Summers, Visiting Instructor For Flying Trapeze
So, you’ve signed up for your first Flying Trapeze class and you may be wondering, “How does one dress for the Flying Trapeze…?” We’ve all seen the pictures: star studded leotards, women with giant hair and gloriously overdone makeup, men in skintight spandex. I don’t know about you, but I most definitely did not own any of those things when I signed up for my first class. The thing with Flying Trapeze is that there aren’t a ton of reference points for how one should approach their first experience except for those videos online from the glorious grandstand shows. Well, if you are feeling equally lost, look no further, for I have put myself in the air in enough embarrassing attire to give you a good list of how to properly prepare yourself for your first class.
Let’s start from the top down, head to toe:
No hats: They will fall off. Trust me; I have tried.
Glasses: No. Most schools will have a protocol, but if you have contacts it will save you a lot of hassle to just wear those instead.
Shirt: Obvious yes. Even if you are the most rippling Adonis, no one likes the girl or guy that shows up just to show off their sweet six pack. A shirt is always a good idea, but more than just for modesty, it will protect your skin from any “net burn” you may experience from falling into the net. You will want a breathable athletic shirt that allows you to move freely without being in your way. You standard Under Armour or Nike workout shirt is a great reference point.
Hands and hand guards: For your first class these will most likely not be necessary, but you may notice some of the more advanced students wearing little strips of leather on their palms. These are called palm guards and they do just that: guard your palms. They are very useful, though not everyone chooses to use them. When our hands are rubbing around on the bar for long periods of time, the skin tends to get very raw, which can lead to “hot hands” or, worse, rips. These can be class ending injuries, so they are something to be considered. If you are a person with particularly thin skin, you may find these to be a good idea. I will include a link to a company who sells them at the end of this article. Be sure that you pay attention to the sizings!
Pants: These are also an obvious yes, however the jury has declared that they definitely need to cover the backs of your knees. The very first trick you will likely learn on the trapeze is the Knee Hang, so needless to say, you will be hanging from your knees. Most trapeze bars are wrapped with either athletic tape or medical gauze, both of which very quickly lead to chafed knees and sore skin. I have seen this cut enough first classes short, so it is best to avoid this. Now, I have seen everything from jeans to knee pads, so really just something that covers those knees is a good option. You will want to pick something that allows for freedom of movement as well. I always suggest that yoga pants or tights are the absolute best choice for your first class.
Socks: These are dependent upon the school at which you are participating. Some schools have a very strict must-have socks policy, some have none at all. It all comes down to injury prevention. When we fall to the net, we can run the risk of catching our toes in the net itself. Depending on how your body is moving it can tweak your toe in the wrong way and potentially break it. I have seen it before, though not more than once or twice. If the school does not have a policy then it is up to you. For your first class I would say they are a yes. If the school has a policy, but you’d rather not, then wear fun socks! The circus is based around costumes, so your teachers will always appreciate fun clothing when possible.
That covers most of the body (pun intended), so feel free to follow this advice. Like I said in the last point, the circus is all about costuming. If you show up to your first class as an athletic pirate you will be a staff favorite very quickly. Trapeze is about having fun and there is no better way to do that than by dressing up! Don’t forget to have fun!
P.S. here are a few links to good websites for circus/dance apparel that I have found most helpful: