ARE YOU READY TO FLY?
WHAT TO EXPECT IN A FLYING TRAPEZE CLASS...
So here you are at our Flying Trapeze rig and you’re ready to fly… Yahoo! Beware, engaging in Flying Trapeze can become a truly addicting habit. Once you start, you’ll want to fly all the time! On your first day, you can expect hang upside down by your knees, back flip and even attempt a “catch”!! Before you put on a belt and climb the ladder to the platform for the first time, you will be taken through trapeze “Ground School”.
Your lesson begins with a brief run through of the safety guidelines – an important first rule being to never walk under the net! On the low practice trapeze bar, you will be shown the basic takeoff position, and how to hold the bar and jump off the platform. Your first trick will be the Knee Hang, and it’s just as described – you hook your knees over the trapeze bar and then release your hands so that you end up hanging upside down from your knees. You don’t need to have a lot of upper body strength to try Flying Trapeze, if you follow the instructions you will be bringing you legs up at a point in your swing when your body is quite weightless, and it will be easy to lift your legs up to the bar.
Next you will be ready to put on your snug fitting safety belt, get hooked into the belay system to climb the ladder and then try your trick in the air. At the top of the ladder you will step onto the platform where the instructor awaits, and your lines will get switched to the safety lines.
What can you expect once you reach the top of the ladder and step onto the platform? Most likely you will be nervous, but don’t worry! You will be guided through each step by the friendly instructor working on the platform. Follow their directions and remember they will always have a firm hold of you via your belt from behind. Trust us, the Knee Hang is actually much easier to do while flying on the trapeze than in ground school.
The instructor will ask you to step to the edge of the platform, and to stand up straight, looking out directly across the net. Try to resist the urge to crouch or look down into the net. The trapeze bar will be passed to you, and you will need to grip it with both hands. Don’t be afraid to jump – the Line Puller below is controlling your safety lines, and even if you were to let go, they would be responsible for bringing you safely to the net. Here are the cues you will hear from the platform instructor:
Listo - Spanish for ready. This indicates that the Flyer is preparing to leave the platform.
Ready - When you hear this, bend your knees and prepare to jump.
Hep - The trapeze action word. In other words, GO!
As soon as you jump off the platform you will be given a series of short, simple commands from the Line Puller instructor on the ground. Listen carefully and try to follow them exactly and promptly, as the commands are timed to specific parts of your swing. For the Knee Hang, you will first be told to ‘hook your knees” (over the bar). Stay in this position and keep looking at your knees, until you hear “hands off”. At this point, you will remove your hands from the fly bar, stretch them over your head, and arch your back up to look way over at the far side of the net. Next you will be asked to “put your hands back on the bar”, and to “release your legs”. Hanging from the bar, with your legs together, and toes pointed, (pointed toes look SO much nicer than flat feet!) you will hear the command to give 3 quick kicks – “forward, backward, forward” and then “release the bar”. This will cause you to automatically do a super cool back-flip and the crowd will cheer when you land in the net!
While this may sound complicated, you don’t need to remember it all ahead of time. You will be given cues as you need it, and even if you mess up, the Line Puller is there to make adjustments and bring you down to the net safely.
Once you can confidently perform the Knee Hang, it is time to try a catch! A Catcher will ascend the rope up to the catch trap on far side of the trapeze rig, start swinging, and then hang upside down to await your trick. Making a Catch is probably one of the most exciting moments in Flying Trapeze, the rush of adrenaline will make you want to come back again and again!
For a catch, you will be listening for commands from the Catcher as well as the Line Puller on the ground. When the Catcher calls out “Listo”, you should bend your knees and be ready. It is very important to wait until you hear the Catcher call “Hep” before you jump off the platform. After you jump, listen for the cues from the Line Puller to perform your Knee Hang. This time when you release your hands and arch your back, you will see the Catcher reaching for your wrists. Once you are “in hands”, you have made the Catch! To complete the catch, you will to let your legs straighten off the bar and then swing with the Catcher up to the front of the net and back again, before you are released to fall on your back down to the net.