Ever had that feeling when you're standing at the edge of a cliff, where a pit forms in your stomach and your palms become unbearably clammy? Well, I had that same sensation learning to swing, hang and flip at the Cincinnati Circus Company, the Queen City's very own trapeze school. Positioned at the entrance of Burnett Woods, in the heart of the University of Cincinnati's campus, rises a formation of wires, cables and nets, daring you to face your fears.
My friend Erin organized a group of girls plus one of our brave male friends to try our first-ever class. Growing up, I loved gymnastics or anything to do with tumbling, but it seems as I grow older, my fear of heights increases with my age. Nonetheless, I was determined to put aside anxiety to conquer this trapeze class with my comrades.
After strapping harnesses around our waists, the instructors demonstrated the correct way to grab the bar and launch off the two-story-high platform. Secondly, we learned how to properly dismount (they yell "hep," which can mean release), land face up on the net, and gracefully flip onto solid ground below.
After mastering that first skill, we went on to try more death-defying acts, like hanging upside down from our knees and later, as a finale, attempting to perform an actual back-flip dismount. I was proud of my friends for being so talented and athletic -- I believe the recent Olympics inspired us all to strive for greatness and achieve our trapeze goals!
All kidding aside, the most intimidating part to me was ascending the narrow ladder to the platform above, then peering over the ledge to the net below. Luckily for all of us, safety comes first -- you will be secure in the harness at all times should you prematurely lose your grip.
Now that I have had some time to recover from my sore muscles and reflect on my exciting day, I am ready to get back in the harness to improve my skills. I could see how this natural adrenaline high could become addictive!
A 90 minute session costs $45 per person, which allows plenty of time to learn several tricks before your arms are too tired to hold your body weight any longer. The good news is that they offer return buy-one-get-one-free discounts, or you have the option to purchase up to a full year pass if you really get hooked on flying.
A few tips before attending: Make sure to wear comfortable clothing that won't fly up or come loose when flipping upside down. You must fill out a waiver before participating, and they recommend wearing socks, although it's not required. Eating a heavy meal is not recommended beforehand, if you plan on keeping your food down.
Be sure to check out their website for more information. For rainy and winter days, the trapeze class moves indoors to Western Sports Mall. Be sure to call ahead for details.