As you inch your way up the 23 foot ladder for your first swing on the trapeze, your heart will pound, your knees will shake and your hands will sweat. You might wonder why you ever thought this was a good idea. But once you get to the platform, grab hold of the bar and fly through the air, adrenaline will take over and you will be eager to climb back up and do it again.
Trapeze School New York (TSNY) Chicago teaches classes on a rig set up at Broadway Armory Park in Edgewater. After some initial instruction on the ground, experienced flyers will coach you through your first trick called The Knee Hang.
Wearing a safety belt hooked up to lines controlled by an instructor on the ground, you will receive prompts to jump off the platform, swing your legs up and hook your knees over the bar. You'll then let go of the bar with your hands, leaving you to hang upside down from your knees.
After a few practice rounds, the class will end with the added component of a catch. As you dangle by your knees, you will reach up over your head to lock arms with one of the instructors, as shown in the photo above. In a quick blur of motion, you will find yourself dangling from another human being instead of the bar before you drop to the safety net.
Trapeze is open to all abilities. Even those who fear they don't have the upper body strength to pull it off. Trapeze relies heavily on momentum and timing, so listening to the instructors' prompts is key. Other requirements include wearing form fitting clothes and socks.
Bruises, scrapes and upper body soreness are to be expected. Should that only fuel your interest in learning more complicated tricks, all-level drop-in classes are available throughout the week and weekend. TSNY Chicago also offers 10-week IFWs (Intensive Flying Workshops) where students work with the same instructors and fellow classmates each week. At the end of each IFW, you'll be able to impress your friends and family with a show, where costumes (subtle to outrageous) are encouraged.
The Broadway Armory is located at the corner of Thorndale and Broadway, just off the Thorndale stop on the Red Line. Other classes TSNY Chicago offers include Lyra, Silks and Static Trapeze. Summer sessions are held indoors at the Armory, as well as outside at the Belmont Harbor.
For more information and to sign up for classes, go to TSNY Chicago.
Photos courtesy of TSNY Chicago.