As I mentioned before, I went to Trapeze School New York! It was AMAZING! A Cup of Jo blogged about her trip to the school earlier this year and I sent the article to my sister. Surprisingly, she was gungho to go. She was on the website and calling them to see if we could schedule a class while she was here. The schedule wasn’t up yet when she was first looking, but the moment it was up, she was on it. We had a class scheduled for 8:30PM on Friday, perfect for the sunset and as it turns out, perfect to beat the ridiculous heat of the day.
We arrived early enough to catch the end of the class before us and saw a girl pull herself up on top of the bar and jump through it to be caught by a guy swinging on the other bar with crazy abs. We knew we wouldn’t be doing that, but we figured we were way out of our league. My friend told me that you actually do more than hang from the bar with your arms and swing out. I guess because the Cup of Jo post, I assumed we didn’t do any more than than hang on for dear life. I was already a bit nervous about this little adventure, I knew there was a net to catch you if you fell, but my fear is falling. I can climb rocks and all as long as I am securely fastened in my harness and trust the person belaying. You can imaging my relief when they started fastening harness around our waist as tight as possible, or so that it was hard to breath, my ribs hurt. The instructor has you on a rope the whole time, so even when they tell you to release, they let you down slower than just falling into the net.
Once they harnessed us in, the six new people got a lesson on how this was going to work while the experienced flyers started swinging. The had us line up on an imaginary edge and practice reaching behind us to stay on the platform while reaching out for the bar with your toes over the edge. You basically keep your head and shoulders back, but reach your hips and chest as far forward as you can. Seemed easy enough on the ground, but when you get up there, it’s not so easy. The bar is much farther forward than you think and heavy. The instructor at the top is holding on to your harness so you can’t actually fall off the platform, and you know this, but it’s still nerve wracking trying to reach out over the edge for this bar. Once your pulling the bar back as much as you can with your hips as far forward as you can, the instructor below says, “Ready!” and you bend your knees, then “Hep!” and you jump out and off the platform holding the bar for dear life.
It was awesome! I think I screamed almost every time, but it was so fun. After just swinging out a few times, they pulled us newbies aside and explained how we would pull our legs up and hook them around the bar and release our hands. Just like before, they call out “ready” and hep” then as you are on the up swing, they call, “legs up” and you tuck your legs up into your chest and over the bar. On the back swing they call “hands off” and you hang from your knees until they say, “ hand up” and you swing your arms back on the bar, on “legs down” you drop your legs and are back to normal. The next trick you learn is to back flip off. Like swinging your legs up on to the bar, if you time it right gravity makes it really easy. We went through the knee hanging command and then when your back swinging by your arms, your body is rigid and your really trying to push your feet behind you. They tell you to swing your legs back forward and back again in time with where you are in the swing and then when you’re told to release, you tuck your knees into your chest while letting go of the bar and naturally back flip off. I will never be able to do another back flip in my life.
My sister and her friend were not having as easy of a time with all of this as I was. Caitlin is really terrified of heights, but she after being on the platform for a bit, she was able to jump off and was really working to get her legs up, but it just didn’t happen. She was much less shaky after the first few tries and eventually was more annoyed that she was having trouble getting her knees up than scared. They showed Kristen to start with her hands close together instead of far apart like originally taught and to swing her leg out and up to hook her knees outside of her hands. After a try or two she got her knees up and even back flipped off.
The final trick is swinging out, getting your knees up and then beginning caught by another instructor swinging from the opposite side, then release your knees. The instructor swinging out to grab you calls out your commands this time so you are in sync with him and you have to jump off the platform as soon as he says “hep!” Kristen did it on her first try, but her legs got screwed up the second time. I managed to pull it off twice. It was so much fun, although kinda scary to be trusting someone you don’t really know to catch you who is probably lucky if he is half your weight. At least his ab were somewhat reassuring.
Bottom line- you have to try this! If I had money- this would be my new favorite hobby. You may not be able to raise your arms above your shoulders for the next two weeks due to pain in muscles you didn’t know you had, and it may hurt to laugh for a few days. It is still totally worth it.