Remember in Dirty Dancing when Baby was super uncoordinated at the beginning, and she wasn’t getting anything right, and she wasn’t looking Johnny in the eyes, and her timing was off?
That’s what a lot of my trapeze experience was like. But in the end I landed the catch, just like she landed the lift.
Last summer, I bought a Groupon for TSNY Los Angeles. It was a good deal and sounded like something totally different from anything I’ve ever done. That’s pretty much all it takes these days for me to sign up for something.
We randomly chose today to follow through. We being my neighbor K and I. We headed to the pier this morning a little nervous and a lot excited.
I was more than encouraged when one of the first things they told us was that strength and flexibility were not necessary ingredients for a successful trapeze run. It turns out timing and listening are the most crucial elements. After a 10-minute discussion on the ground we were ready to head up the ladder. I was fifth in line.
As I stood there waiting to chalk up my hands, I started listing in my head all the crazy things I’ve done that should make this a breeze. I’ve run off a mountain (paragliding in Cape Town). I’ve jumped off random rocks into freezing water. Neither of those events involved me being attached to a safety harness. (Which here I was.) This should be a breeze!
I ended up getting six turns. The first jump off the platform was the worst, but at least I got my legs up. My third run was horrendous. I won’t be including those pictures here. I will, however and for your enjoyment, admit to the time I instinctively grabbed for my nose as if I were jumping into water instead of a net suspended in the air. A moment not missed by the spotter who asked K (who was in line behind me) if that was what I was doing. I have no rational explanation. I knew there was no water down there. But I can’t recall ever jumping through air like that, so I think it was a reactionary thing.
Side note: I only reach to hold my nose when jumping into water from really high things.
But seriously, no excuses.
As you’ll soon find out, there’s no video. Unfortunately they don’t shoot video, they only take pictures. Ideally we would have had another person there to do pictures and video and now we know for next time.
Without further ado…
Look at that determination! And form!! After I had an issue with my jumps from the platform, the instructor described it in a way that helped me nail it and thus gain enough momentum to complete the run. The key is to picture yourself standing on the backboard of a basketball hoop, and when they yell “Hep!” jump through the hoop. If only they would have described it that way from the start!
Also, one of the guys pulled my safety belt tighter than a corset. Which is clearly why my hips and thighs look so big in comparison.
This is probs my favorite picture. It was my fifth run, and the run where everyone else was doing their catches. I – along with a 10 year old child – had been deemed not yet ready. So this was my last chance. If I nailed the timing, they would let me do it one more time and try a catch. I didn’t want to leave without doing the catch.
The trick to hitting the marks is keeping your eye on the bar. Which involves keeping your eyes open. Which apparently I wasn’t doing all the time.
It really was super fun.
The important thing is I hit my marks on my fifth run. Which meant it was my turn to try the catch. Ryan (the flyer who we ladies referred to as “Muscles”) yelled “Hep!” and off I went.
Here’s where I get all metaphoric about how it’s scary to let go, but you have to let go, and then before you know it, someone says “I’ve got you,” and holds you tight as you swing through the air. And it’s awesome.
I had a great time. I’ll admit I got discouraged when the third run didn’t go well, but I knew I had to flip my script in order to make the rest of them go better. Meantime, K ended up being some kind of trapeze artist savant. The instructors were super impressed with her form and skill and had her doing Level 2 tricks her third or fourth run. I told her if the whole teaching thing doesn’t work out, there’s always Cirque de Soleil.
As for me, I definitely think I’ll do it again. It’s a good date idea or thing to do with tourists or friends. Or dates, tourists, AND friends.