Have you ever thought of joining the circus to become a trapeze artist? When I discovered that a local circus and trapeze school offered a 1 1/2 hour beginning trapeze class, I began fantasizing about flying with the greatest of ease. Turns out…not so great…not so easy.
A Day at Trapeze School: A Circus-Style Aerial Class
I suckered my mom into coming with me to be the designated photographer and drove to the Trapeze Arts School in Oakland, about an hour away. We arrived to the trapeze school just as the last class was finishing and had the opportunity to see beginners and intermediate students attempting their tricks. I was thoroughly relieved to see the large safety net, but still hoped the 10 foot drop didn’t sting.
Most of the students seemed to be having fun, except the one young newbie so terrified for her life that she couldn’t let go of the bar. My only hope was that that wouldn’t be me.
There were only two beginners in the trapeze school class, me and an ex-gymnast…no fair! We were given about a 5 minute instruction on terminology and other random technical information; for example, when they say Ready…Hep! This means lean forward, bend your knees and take a small jump off the board and Listo will signify to the catcher that the flyer is ready to go.
Ok, got it!
We were lead to start the steep climb up the 20-rung ladder. This was the most frightening part of the lesson considering this area lacked the comfort of the safety net. With the 3 of us standing on the 6′ x 4′ platform, I tightly held on to the rail until I was securely latched on. We started by just hanging onto the bar, swinging and letting go (or in my world a face plant). Next, we hooked our legs on the bar, hung upside down and then unhooked our legs to let go…face plant again…damn!
Lastly and in essence the trapeze school “graduation” trick of the class, we hung upside down and the instructor on a different trapeze caught our hands and we released from our bar to be suspended.
I prayed for success on the first attempt because my arms felt like jelly and I was sure they wouldn’t have allowed me to try again. I was amazed when I executed this trick “almost” flawlessly! Thank goodness! Done…I called it quits and considered my experience a huge triumph and check off my bucket list.
As fun as the experience was, don’t be fooled, trapezing is flippin’ hard. I wasn’t able to stretch out my arms or laugh for over a week without severe muscle pain! My best advice is to start working out with heavy concentration on your abs, at least a month before you go to the lesson!