Face your fears, they say. Try new things. Battle your demons. So when I got chance to try out the flying trapeze, I jumped at the chance!*
*I didn’t. I’ve always been afraid of heights and especially of jumping from them. To my mind, this isn’t an irrational fear. If you jump from a height you may very well hurt yourself. Keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground makes a lot of sense to me. Maybe that’s why I’m a runner…
But then I saw Bianco, a show by No Fit State Circus that kinda blew my mind. I hadn’t been to the circus in a long time and expected damp straw, creepy clowns to fuel my coulrophobia and possibly some dodgy stilt walking. Seems like things have moved on. The performers were stunningly, thrillingly athletic, and it seemed to me that there must be something in their training that would be great for runners. So I decided to run away to the circus. Well, for a few hours anyway. No Fit State do workshops, courses, all manner of professional training, kids parties and hen parties and stag dos (yes, really – how much fun would that be?!) I did a taster session on the trapeze, a pretty good place to start my new career as an aerial specialist, I thought.
Anna led the lengthy warm up (it needs to be long – you work hard up there). She’s a yoga teacher who also performs with the company doing rope (as in hanging from one v high up in extremely complicated positions), hula hooping (about 9 at a time), that kind of thing. That is to say, she really knows bodies and how to get them in ready for punishment.
The trapeze teachers, Jani and Alex, were fab too – informative, patient and encouraging. I was shaking the first time I stood on the platform, leaning into the abyss. I couldn’t quite reach the bar (I’m 5 foot nothing) so edged a little further forward, warping my brain with adrenalin. I really didn’t want to do it but the only way not to would have been an ignominious U-turn and there was no way I was doing that.
So, wheeeeeeeee, all of a sudden I was flying!! And, of course, it was bloody amazing. Not me, I was rubbish, but it was fantastic. Cue any song you can think of with flying in the title – it’s wonderful to let go and obviously the first thing I did when I hit the ground was get ready to do it again. Which I did, again and again. I even did a twist (yay!) and I tried the hocks, where you hang upside down. I failed that though on account of, well, not being very good at trapeze.
I’d totally do it again – can’t wait, in fact. It’s an incredible upper body workout. I’d go so far as to say it reached some bits of me that no exercise has ever reached before! I had no DOMS the next day but , yow, day 2 hit me with creaking abs and zinging tendons in my upper arms. In a GOOD way.
I’m so glad I did it. Faced my fears, battled my demons, learned to fly. Not a bad way to spend a Friday evening… 😉
If you want to know how the professionals do it, check out the video below. And if you want to see the real thing, Bianco’s on the road again from the end of May. Though you’ll be disappointed to hear that I’m not in – yet… 😉