Immediate disclaimer: I am petrified of heights. I hate that feeling where your stomach drops out, I don’t like flying, and I almost cried when I climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
So when I say that everyone should try a trapeze class as least once in their lives, you can be certain it’s legitimate advice. And I do truly believe that everyone should try it once. It was one of the scariest and most liberating experiences of my life, but I am telling you…take the leap.
I joined a class with Trapeze School New York in Chicago at their Belmont Harbor location, but the company has schools across the country, including the Big Apple and Los Angeles. Classes usually take place in a group of 5-10 people, with 3-4 instructors. It was nice to be part of group, and it certainly provoked a sense of camaraderie, which our instructor, Pete Erickson, said is only natural.
“You’re learning and doing this with someone who don’t even know so trust is big […] Your walls definitely come down.”
This support and trust between yourself and your instructors is crucial, as they throw you right into the class with a leg tuck on your first jump. This is when you wrap your legs around the bar, and let go, swinging upside down in the air. I managed to successfully do the maneuver on the first try, but to everyone in our group did. The instructor on the ground coaches you through the whole process, from the moment you jump off the platform, through every move in the air, to when you let go and (hopefully) gracefully land in the safety net. I truthfully do not remember much about my time in the air. I think I blacked out a little bit in fear, but so long as you concentrate on the instructions, and do exactly as you’re told by the instructor, you’ll land safe and sound.
“Listening is also key,” Erickson said over and over, and it’s true! But he also stressed pushing yourself to learn something new, even outside of the trapeze, and being active and healthy in life overall. It’s all about overcoming fears in an active way.
And it certainly can be scary! The worst part for me was waiting at the top of the platform (over 23 feet high!) before my turn to go. The waiting and anticipation was much scarier than the actual flying to me. Once I let go – literally – is was exhilarating and I was surprised at how quickly I could do tricks!
Overall, it was an amazing experience and actually a very good work out! I’ve heard of trapeze work out classes before and was dubious, but this definitely works your arms and core.
However, be prepared to wake up the next morning sore in places you didn’t even know you could work out, and maybe expect a few blisters and calluses too. Because even if you flew through the air with the greatest of ease, you still did FLY so there’s bound to be some after effects.