What did I get myself into?!
You bought your first class and you’re ready to fly… Congratulations! Be warned, trapeze can become an addicting (and exhilarating) habit. Don’t fight it. Trapeze isn’t just a bucket-list activity, you can JOIN THE TRAPEZE HIGH CLUB and do trapeze all the time! Get in the best shape of your life, while having the most fun you’ve ever had doing a fitness activity. On your first day, you can hang upside down by your knees, back flip and even attempt a “catch”!! This guide will help you know what else you are in for…
Is it safe?
Safety is the number one priority! Trapeze High offers the highest level of professional trapeze instruction and safety for your protection.
A minimum of 3 fully trained staff operate the rig, and you will be harnessed in safety lines and swing above a safety net at all times. Trained staff assists flyers every step of the way. While learning to “fly” is very exciting and fun, the risks involved are mostly emotional.
It is an extremely controlled environment, hurting people is bad for business. It’s important that you listen. The rules are for your safety. A few scrapes or bruises, as in any activity, sometimes occur. However, rest assured every precaution is taken to make sure that each participant enjoys a safe experience.
What is the Flying Trapeze experience like?
Your session begins with a brief run through of the safety guidelines and basic take off position during “Ground School”.
Climbing the Ladder:
With a safety harness on, you will get hooked into the belay to climb the ladder. At the top, you will step onto the platform where the instructor awaits, and your lines will get switched to the safety lines.
You will then jump from the platform and fly through the air with the greatest of ease as you swing gracefully (we hope) on the flying trapeze. An instructor known as a “Line Puller” will be holding your safety lines from the ground. He or she will be giving you simply worded instructions in a loud voice every step of the way till your feet are once again on the ground.
You’re going to learn a bunch of trapeze lingo and be told a lot of stuff in a short time. We do this so that you can get you up in the air and having fun ASAP. Here is some of the trapeze lingo that you might hear on your first day, together with their meanings.
“Listo” – Spanish for ready. The instructors use this word to communicate with each other that the flyer is preparing to leave the platform.
“Ready” – English for ready but trapeze for bend your knees and pick up the trapeze.
“Hep” – The trapeze action word. In other words, GO!
There will be at least two and probably three experienced trapeze professionals helping you climb the ladder, attach safety lines, and get ready for your takeoff. Four if you count yourself. You jump off the platform and swing back and forth and the coach yells encouragement. The crowd will cheer when you complete your swing and land in the net.
You Don’t Have To Yell!
Actually, we do. You’re 20 or more feet away from the person holding your safety lines. He/she will yell instructions to you. How to swing properly, land safely in the net, get out of the net and remove your safety lines. Later, we will also yell commands for your first trick. If we talk in a normal voice the flyer does not hear the instructions. We will yell in a loving manner.
Actually, you can scream any words you like. We have heard them all – in many languages. But there’s one word that we will not tolerate. That word is “can’t.” You can! We believe in you, even if you don’t. If you think you can, YOU WILL. If you think you can’t, YOU WON’T… Whatever you think, you’re right! So you’ll just have to trust us. In fact, you’ll have to trust us for a lot of things and you can expect to fly, learn a trick and even swing in the hands of a professional trapeze catcher all on your first day. But if you say “can’t,” then you will be right and you won’t have nearly as much fun. The more positive you are about what you are doing, the more you will succeed. We have seen this time and time again.
The Knee Hang
Back at ground school, you will practice hanging from your knees. You will need to learn some new commands, because trapeze is all about timing. There is a time to put your legs up (when you are weightless) and a time to take your hands off and put them back on. Then it’s back up the ladder to try it in the air. Fact: it is actually easier to do a knee hang while flying on the trapeze than in ground school. After a few attempts, the catcher goes up and you will fly to him/her. The last part of the knee hang is letting go with your legs and swinging with the catcher.
In the last segment of our regular classes, a catcher will ascend the rope up to the other bar (known as the catch bar) on the flying rig. He or she will pump up his swing and hang upside down. The catcher sets the timing for your trick and calls you when he/she is ready. You jump, pick up your legs, bend your knees around the trapeze bar, let your hands go (all with helpful commands from the ground) and look for your catcher. He or she will grab you on your wrists, you will squeeze back, let your legs straighten off your bar and you’re a trapeze artist. It’s not easy but it’s more fun and exciting than anything else in the world. After a few catches, the catcher comes down and initiates you into the Catch Club with a sacred, secret trapeze handshake.
For some, this is the end of their trapeze career. They retire knowing that they challenged themselves, overcame fear, used strength, agility and timing and succeeded. Others will want to do it again. Some will become fanatical. But don’t worry. We have a program for every level of ability, desire and addiction. Flying trapeze is the healthiest high in the world and there are an unbelievable and challenging variety of new tricks to learn. Join us!
What do I need to bring?
1. Liability Waiver
ALL participants must fill out and sign our liability waiver. If Participants are under 18, the Waiver must be signed by a parent or the legal guardian.
2. Appropriate attire
Work out clothing that you can move in, tights, stretchy pants or leggings at least capri length, soft soled dance shoes, water socks, gymnastic shoes or thick old socks for your feet. More coverage for skin is optimal and be mindful that you will be hanging upside down. We strongly recommend a t-shirt that covers your shoulders while you are learning to land in the net. Slippery mesh fabrics and baggy clothes are not recommended. Long hair should be pulled into a pony tail. Leave your jewelry at home, especially your rings. You will always receive extra points for sparkly circus outfits and colorful socks.
3. Water and Fuel Food
Flying Trapeze is a sport and requires both effort and energy. It is important to stay hydrated. This is especially important in summer months, as it can be very hot. In addition to water, you may consider bringing an energy bar, nuts, fruit, or something of the sort, to help you keep your energy up. Eat something supportive of activity before you arrive so you have the energy to do well.
4. A Good Attitude
With few exceptions, everyone’s first flying trapeze experience is scary. But it is also more fun than you could possibly imagine! Being afraid of heights is normal and human. All of our instructors were afraid of heights in the beginning of their flying career and continue to have a healthy respect for heights. Bring your best can-do attitude and understand that we are here to keep you safe and happy.
5. Friends and Family
That’s right! Bring your friends and family – after all you are about to run away and become a high-flying trapeze artist for a day! Nothing adds to the enjoyment of a good day of flying like a little friendly competition and support. So bring the wife, bring the boyfriend, bring the whole slew of second cousins (but not the dog! – sorry no dogs allowed) and get ready for the experience of a lifetime!
6. A Camera
You’ll want evidence of your high flying adventure. Don’t forget to email us your picks, or at least post them on our facebook page!
Who can participate?
Almost everyone has the ability to participate in our activities, regardless of size, ability, previous experience or strength. It is most appropriate for ages 7 and older. One of our very best flyers is 85.
Do I need to be strong?
No. Because of the timing involved with the flying trapeze, first time flyers can learn several basic tricks without much upper body strength. Of course, the more you practice, the stronger you will become. Flying trapeze is a great way to build strength and get into great shape!
Are there weight restrictions?
A good rule of thumb for anyone is that you should be able to hold your weight (meaning hang from a bar and holding on with your hands) for at least 20 seconds. This becomes increasingly important if you weigh close to 200 lbs or over. Please be able to hold your weight from a low-bar for 20 seconds to ensure your safety on the high trapeze rig. (Just hang from the bar – no pull ups).
Physical, Health & Medical Restrictions:
- If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will not be allowed to go on the trapeze. Please save the drinks for celebrating your accomplishments AFTER the class
- If you are pregnant, or think you might be pregnant, flying trapeze is not for you.
- If you have back, neck or shoulder injuries or have had surgery on these areas you should forgo trapeze.
- As with any exercise or physical activity you are advised to check with your doctor if you are uncertain about your capabilities.
- You will need to hold your weight hanging by the bar from your hands, and you will need to be able to climb the ladder to the platform. Please call to ask about specific concerns or accommodations.
- Vision and hearing impairments can be accommodated. People with other disabilities may be able to fly if they are able to climb the ladder with minimal assistance, and hang from the bar with their own hands. If you have questions, concerns or would like more information, don’t hesitate to ask.
- You must be at least 7 years of age or older due to our insurance requirements.
MORE FLYING TRAPEZE DEFINITIONS
LISTO: Means ready in Spanish.
BOARD: Platform that the flyer takes off from
BISCUIT: The board worker taking care of you on the platform and serving the bar
LINE-PULLER: The person you want to be really nice to since they are saving your life by holding the safety lines attached to your belt.
GOOD TAKE OFF: the correct position to leave the board to maintain swing height
TRICK: Maneuver that you do on, or off the bar to the catch
DISMOUNT: The last trick, done to the net (by catcher or flyer)
BREAK: When the flyer kicks their legs backwards before a trick.
NET TRICK: Maneuver that you do after bouncing once in the net
CATCH: The catcher grips you by the wrists from your trick to swing together.
SWEEP: The motion used during the swing with the lower body to maintain height and power.
SET: Final position like sitting in a chair for a breaking trick.
DRIVE: The final point after the break in which you need to elevate your body into the air to complete your trick.
‘NO LINES’: To fly on the trapeze without safety lines and safety belt.
FLY BAR: This is what is used to fly on the trapeze and weighs 3-8 lbs, Usually a stainless steel bar.
CATCH BAR: The bar that the catcher swings from
RETURN BAR: The bar that is timed and tossed to the person returning from the catcher, back to the platform.
NET RASH: This is when your body slides across the net and gets abraded. Clothing helps prevent this!
RETURN: When you perform a trick to the wrists of a catcher and return back to the fly bar.
‘NO BAR’: Yelled by the people on the board if the return bar will not be on time. You should prepare to dismount to the net.
RISE: A bar used on the platform so that you can take off from a higher point
‘NET…CLEAR!’: Called out as both a question and response to make sure there is no one on or under the net