I pass through Regent’s Park frequently, especially in the summer.
The smells, the sounds and the sights of the park are a delightful reminder of how pleasant the overly crowded capital can be. On this day however, something had changed; something was different.
Where there usually sat couples kissing, and children playing frisbee, instead there were people nonchalantly flying through the air as if it was the most normal thing to happen on a Sunday morning in a London park.
I edged closer, afraid that one of them might not make it into the hands of their partner. As I approached the fence I saw a large sign that said, “Flying Trapeze Classes – book now at: www.gorillacircus.com”. Thirty minutes later I’m booking two tickets for me and a friend for the following weekend.
When I arrived for my lesson I was greeted by the Gorilla Circus team. The class was split into beginners who signed up for the one-day class, and intermediates who signed up to an ongoing course.
Although we all used the same equipment we didn’t mingle all that much with the intermediates, but I did get to see their work and boy howdy, if I could achieve a fragment of what they were doing, I would be very pleased with myself.
For beginners, the aim of the class was to master some basics that would enable us to swing out on the trapeze and perform a somersault before landing in the net. Next we were instructed on how to swing out on the trapeze, hook our knees over the bar, and have an instructor on a second trapeze catch us.
This might sound a little intimidating for a one-day class but I can assure you that the instructors knew exactly how to get the best out of the students. Every one of us mastered the somersault, and many of us managed the hand-grab.
At the beginning of the session our instructor explained that although the stunts may look difficult, what we would be learning today was actually pretty easy.
He explained that gravity does most of the work for us, and there are times during the swing where our bodies become weightless. It is at those points we maneuvre from one position to another.
Internally I guffawed at this, I had recently completed a short course in aerial hoop and by no stretch of the imagination was I weightless during any of that experience. Of course, I also wasn’t swinging through the air during aerial hoop.
Somehow I was repeatedly picked first during my session with Gorilla Circus, not that I minded, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on a girl! I remember climbing the tall, thin ladder to the platform; my palms were clammy, my knees were shaky, and my mouth dried up.
At the top of the platform an attractive young man could sense my fear, and made sure I stayed calm. As instructed I stood on the edge of the platform, holding the trapeze, toes feeling the summer breeze, knees bent and waiting for the all important, “HUP!”
And like that, I did it. No fear, no pain, no strain. Just pure unadulterated joy.
If you’d like to find out more about Gorilla Circus’ Flying Trapeze Classes, visit www.gorillacircus.com