Disclaimer: the trapeze lesson occurred before everything shut down due to Covid-19.
Have you ever seen a Cirque Du Soleil performance or Kristin Finley flying through the air and thought “Wow, I would love to give trapeze a try?” If you have, then we are on the same page. I’ve tried silks and Lyra, so it’s only natural to want to try trapeze. It’s only fair.
An Intro to Trapeze
Trapeze Las Vegas holds lessons for, you guessed it, trapeze. For this lesson, I really didn’t know what to expect. I love heights, so when I saw this extremely tall ladder leading up to the starting platform on the trapeze rig, I didn’t even bat an eyelash. Being up there, however, is a completely different story. There were about 4 or 5 rounds, and with each round, those participating in the class got to add on a new skill. It was pretty surprising to find out that we would be learning as much as we did.
Climbing up that ladder the first time was a bit nerve-wracking and so was standing on the platform. The platform is 25 feet off the ground, but you’re only 15 feet from the net when you start flying. You don’t really realize how high up it is until you get up there. Everyone participating in the lesson is equipped with a harness for safety. A belay is used while climbing up the ladder and safety lines are used when you’re swinging. The safety lines allow an instructor on the ground to direct your movements. We were also told the different commands that were going to be used such as “Hep” which pretty much means you’re ready to start flying.
Watching the instructors demonstrate each move was fascinating because they did it with such ease. The class had a mixture of students at different levels, so it was also cool to see how people advance while taking trapeze lessons and the type of skills you can learn. It’s interesting to hear how people started taking lessons in the first place. Everyone was very encouraging and informative which created a welcoming environment. That’s always nice to have when you are trying something new.
Getting The Basics Down
As I mentioned before, standing on the platform for the first time is nerve-wracking. Your adrenaline is pumping and your heart is beating fast but you have to get back on the ground somehow. There were two other instructors standing on the platform to help with making the switch from the belay to the safety lines. With the first flight, I was directed to put my feet slightly off the front of the platform and to square my hips so that I could grab the stationary bar in front of me with my right hand. With my knees slightly bent, I hesitated to fly off the platform for a second which did not help my takeoff. The instructors had helpful tips to help make the move off the platform more smooth. One note I remember getting is making sure that I jump straight down instead of leaping forward.
The first flight was a pretty simple one that consisted of swinging on the stationary bar and falling onto the net while landing on your butt. You then move off the net using handy dandy handles that allow you to front flip onto the ground below. After the first try, I realized I got more comfortable with the space between the bar and the net below.
The first trick that was demonstrated was a “knee hang.” That is where you bring your knees up to hook onto the bar and your torso hangs down. During the lesson, the instructors emphasized that timing is very important. They call out the commands to you so that you know exactly what to do and when to do it. The commands were extremely helpful. Everything happens so quickly once your feet leave the platform.
I liked the “knee hang” even though I was a bit hesitant about being able to do it. It’s easy to overthink things when trying something new. The movements became a lot more fluid when I simply listened and reacted to the commands.
Once the “knee hang” was good to go, it was time to move on to the somersault. If you can’t do a somersault on the ground then don’t you worry. It turns out it’s a lot easier to do one on a bar. The guidance from the instructor controlling the safety lines really came in hand for this move too. My first attempt wasn’t that bad, but my timing was a bit off. On my second attempt, it all came together, and I completed a somersault in the air! I was so excited. It really makes a difference when you don’t think about it as much.
The grand finale for the lesson was the release and catch. With the catching portion of this trick, the instructors specified that you have to have a firm grip on the underside part of the wrist or else the hold will slip. Considering the instructors are professionals and some are actual performers, it’s amazing to see how easy it is for them. They can literally just jump on the net and catch the bar with ease. The “catch and release” starts with a “knee hang” since your hands kind of, you know, need to be free. Then, listening to the commands, the catcher catches you and you release your knees. For some reason, I could only grip the catcher’s fingertips but it worked out.
I Think I May Have Found My New Hobby
I 100% recommend trapeze lessons to anyone who wants to try them. It’s such an amazing experience and you feel yourself smile after attempting each move. Word on Style Exploration is that I’m looking for a hobby, and I think trapeze might be it. I enjoyed it so much to the point where I thought “This is something that I might actually want to commit to and be consistent in.” That’s how you know I’m serious. I understand why Ms. Finley fell in love with trapeze so much.
Share your acrobatic experiences in the comments below!