Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Circus School

John and I received a fantastic "choose your own adventure" wedding present from one of his friends and we settled on a trapeze class at the Circus Center of San Francisco. For someone who is deathly afraid of heights, this was quite an adventure to choose. The anticipation leading up to the class was killing me and finally we took our class this past Sunday.

The Circus Center is located in the Inner Sunset at 755 Fredrick, right across from Golden Gate Park. It looks like an old elementary school transformed into a circus extravaganza. The Circus Center offers classes in acrobatics, aerial arts, circus skills and clowning. The most popular class is the trapeze class we took. The classes can be quite expensive at $45 a pop, but if you buy a membership, you get a discounted per class rate. The class is open to all ages and skills, they have ages 5 to 85 enrolled at the school.

The trapeze class is a heck of a lot of fun, but also extremely terrifying if you don't like heights. We had 8 people in our class, 4 beginners and 4 seasoned circus folks. Our instructors were very nice and patient. At first you practice flying on the low bar about 10 feet off the ground. After about 15 minutes of practice, you get to try your skills 45 feet up in the air. I must admit the most terrifying part was not flying through the air but climbing the ladder to the top. Your safety harness isn't attached until you reach the summit of the ladder. Once at the top, the instructor hooks you up, holds you back as you uncomfortably lean out over the safety net reaching for the bar. Once you have the bar in one hand, the teacher tells you to put both on the bar and you are in sort of a trust hold with the teacher. They yell, "hep" (which mean jump/release) and you fly. The first time I was not able to pull my legs up for the knee hang but I was able to on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th try. They say let gravity do the work, but my muscles were screaming the next day from the workout. I didn't have the stomach to try the "hand off" with the teacher. I just couldn't bring myself to hang from my knees 45 feet in the air and then let go in hopes that the teacher will catch my hands mid-air.

The class was a lot of fun. I've always wanted to fly through the air like a circus performer; however, I will not be quitting my job and joining the circus. This was a one time thing. Next time I'll try something a little closer to the ground, like how to balance a plate on a stick or riding a unicycle.

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