Posts Tagged with “Trapeze”

Flying Trapeze Double Excitement

December 1st, 2006

2006 has not been a great year for flying trapeze. The pain in my arm which started last December has taken a long time to heal. The combination of the arm and the pull of work, life and family made this year an inconsistent year: learning some new things, losing the ability to do others, never quite able to put the pieces together the way I wanted.

I still haven’t put the pieces together, but tonight I did something maybe even more fun: I caught the “double.” Twice!

A double is a double back tuck somersault. Really, it’s more like one and a half rotations in the air, but it’s known as the double. I only started working on it because one of my instructors was adamant and I’ve learned to do what she says.

The double takes a lot of energy. One starts higher up than usual. It turns out that good flyers don’t start from the platform you see when you go into a circus. Instead, they stand on a small elevated step about 3 inches wide known in this gym as a “riser.” In our gym we set the riser at the fourth level for the double, which is about three feet, or a meter, above the platform.

This makes many things different. There’s no comfortable place to hold on to the support bars. The cables on the trapeze bar are pretty much at a 90 degree angle from the mounting point, so it’s hard to raise the bar up as one should as one leaves the platform. It’s hard to have a good takeoff in general; there is often a sense of falling into the trapeze bar.

Assuming one manages all this well enough, you are really high in the air. And if you’re not quite high enough, our mighty instructor will often give a tug on the safety lines to pull you a foot or so higher. That means one gets a much closer view of the ceiling of the gym than normal — it’s a little freaky. On the back end of the swing one is much closer to the giant overhead light than one might want to be.

The flier has to put more energy into every part of the trick. The kicks, the tuck, the speed of the rotation, the sharpness of opening out of the tuck to stop the rotation — it’s all about cranking as much power into each element as possible.

And after all this, it’s easy to be “close” to catching a double for a long, long, long time. Many different things can be slightly off so that the trick is close but there is no catch.

I’ve come close to catching the double five or six times. I’m sure I’ll come close to catching it another 50 or 100 times before it becomes consistent, if it ever does. But for today, I opened out of the tuck and the next thing I knew I was looking up into the catcher’s face as we swung together after the catch. Astonishing. I never would have thought it. Now I’m really glad I listened to my instructor. 🙂

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