The Daring Young Girl: My First Trapeze Lesson!


On Thursday, I went to trapeze classes.

It was over brunch on Saturday that Molly & I started discussing switching up our regular exercise routines. I love my trainer (hi Donovan!) but sometimes I just want to throw something else into the mix. Molly does aerials regularly, & as we were talking about circus arts, I remembered: trapeze! I LOVE trapeze! I’ve done it once before, in Melbourne, Australia. It was truly intoxicating, & I managed to do a catch! Pretty good for a rookie! (I just searched my entire site for my old video of it, but alas, it is nowhere to be found!)

The following Tuesday was rainy & dreary — perfect for doing a spot of concentrated internet research. I started looking into trapeze classes, & after considering checking out The Trapeze Loft, decided that ultimately, geographical proximity was probably going to be one of my most important factors. Around noon, I found Trapeze School New York, & watched their commercial.

“Danger definitely makes me feel more alive. I’ve always felt like that, & that’s why flying makes everything more complete. You have to trust yourself, & I think for a lot of people, they have the fear of that. They don’t want to. … Forget fear, worry about the addiction.”

…& with that, I signed up for an open trapeze class at Trapeze School New York. (Advertising works!)

Two days passed in record time, & before I knew it, I was standing nervously on the floor of TSNY, looking way, way up at the rig & wondering what, exactly, I had gotten myself into.

No surprises though: I loved it just as much as last time.

In the span of two hours, I did multiple tricks. Tricks! Me! Tricks!

Here’s how it works. Someone straps a harness around your waist, gives you a crash-course (on the ground), then points at a ladder. You clip safety lines onto the side of your harness, you stick your hands in a big bag of chalk, & you start to climb the ladder. Look, it isn’t just any old ladder. It is an Extreme Ladder. It is like, THREE ladders, end on end. It wobbles violently as you climb. Somehow, you manage to maintain a zen-like state. All you’re thinking about is putting one foot in front of the other.

You make it to the top of the ladder, & climb out onto a board. A friendly dude undoes your safety lines, & clips the lines for the trapeze onto your harness. Your left hand is holding onto a rack, & you take little, shuffley steps towards the edge of the platform. You place your feet wide apart, & before you know it, your toes are over the edge. The man who is up there with you grabs the back of your harness & he says, “Push your hips forward & grab the bar.”

With your right hand, you hold onto the bar. You feel completely off-balance at this point. You kind of want to go to the bathroom, but you can’t, & it’s now or never. You grab the bar with your left hand.

“Ready?!” You bend your knees.
“Hup!” You jump up & forward.

You’re flying through the air, theoretically with the greatest of ease, but mostly you feel like a sack of potatoes! As you get to the end — this is where the line ends & from there, you go backwards — the person below yells, “Legs up!”

With this command, you lift your knees towards your chest & then hook your legs up over the bar. By the time you’ve swung back to the other end, they yell, “Hands off!”

You take your hands off the bar, arch your back & look out the window. Hello, outside world! Then you put your hands back on the bar, let your legs down, & fall fall fall into the net below.

Hello, exhilarating!



Then you add more to the mix. Before you know it, you’re swinging your legs forward-back-forward, then tucking into a ball & doing a backwards somersault dismount!

Et voilà… la pièce de résistance. A CATCH. After doing your fancy legs-up-over-the-bar, hands-off, stretch-&-reach, someone swinging on a trapeze at the other end of the net will grab your wrists & pull you off the bar — which, I mentioned this, right?, you are hanging onto by your knees. Got that?

It looks something like this. Notice the look of shock on my face!


Doing a catch is awesome. I did two, & each time, when I felt the guy’s hands around my wrists, I gasped! It is always a surprise — a pleasant one, definitely, but still gives you quite a jolt! You swing back & forth together, & then you make like you’re going to sit down, & he drops you into the net. Boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing.

Sure… My manicure is looking a little worse for wear. My hands feel like they’ve been sunburned. But I had an amazing morning. Talk about the perfect escape from the day-to-day!

I’ve never been to another trapeze school, so I have very little basis for comparison, but my time at Trapeze School New York was truly wonderful. Everyone was friendly, helpful & extremely patient. They were really keen for us to improve, giving constant pointers & tips.

Each class is made up of people of varying experience levels. As you’re down on the ground, you watch the other people do tricks — it was so inspiring. There were women doing amazing things up there. I want to be able to do that too!

In summer, TSNY take over an entire rooftop by the West Side Highway, & you can swing to your heart’s content with a view of the Hudson River. I can’t think of anything better!

I had the best, best, best class. If you’ve ever considered giving trapeze lessons a go, I URGE you to give it a shot! I do not consider myself to be coordinated, athletic, strong or particularly physically brave, so if I can do it, you DEFINITELY can!

I am so sore today, but looking at the photos of what I was able to do up there kind of blows my mind! It feels so good to challenge yourself just because you can. I hope you’ll take up the challenge too!

Happy swingin’!

Photos of me taken by the Trapeze School New York. (Thanks guys!) Photo of the inside of the tent taken by me, using Vignette.

Disclaimer: This was not a promo for TSNY! I paid for my own class & decided to write about it for fun. (Just in case you were wondering!)

Reminder! Did you enter my sparkling light-up tutu giveaway yet?! If not, HURRY! I’m picking the winner tomorrow morning! (Good luck!!!)