Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Aerial Lesson #3 - Flying Trapeze

So, with the swiftly rotating nature of the NCCA Aerial 1 course, last Wednesday ushered in my first ever lesson on Flying Trapeze! Hell yeah!!

I had basically no preconceptions of what flying trapeze would be like. Strangely, I've never been that bothered about the whole 'flying' part of the trapeze concept, which seems to be what most people get excited about - but I was open to giving it a try. I guess I had a vague impression of one of the other groups swinging around somewhere over the other side of the room while we were doing our stuff on static.  I could see there were harnesses involved anyway, so the flying bit was not gonna be a big deal, lalala.

For this first week, there was a lot of safety instructing. It was all very sensible. Yeah yeah, the belt is tight enough, we know how to stand on the platform correctly, yaaaaawn and then -
   - BAM, three of us were up on a terrifyingly high and narrow ledge, clinging onto the ropes by just our little slick-with-fear-sweat hands, swallowing back the nausea and helping each other shakily attach harnesses, check carabiners and hook the trapeze up. I was honestly not expecting it to be anything since I don't have vertigo and it did NOT look that bad from ground level, but ohhhh mama. That shit was genuinely scary.

Of course, along with the gut wrench of dropping off the platform, comes the massive exhilarating adrenaline rush as you swing through the air with the greatest of ease (haha), beating your legs like some kind of demented dolphin...before finally dropping to the ground (crash mat) on command and trying to regain your dignity whilst surreptitiously brushing off the Residue of Terror (rosin dust).

Pic borrowed from media.visitbritain.com
I suppose it was pretty good. Fair to middling.

OK it was SO MUCH FUN!!!

The thing that surprised me the most, though, was actually the effect of working together to support and ensure the safety of everyone in a group, in a situation that feels a bit under pressure-ish (under pressure to not chicken out, or accidentally kill yourself by letting go and landing on your skull somehow  - even though this wasn't remotely possible, it kind of felt as if it could happen - and also because the instructor was trying to keep things snappy so we could all get a proper turn).  I now know all the names of the other people in my group, and despite the fact they are basically strangers, feel some level of affection/respect towards all of them, both for having guts and successfully fly-trapezing, and for helping me not die. Always an endearing trait in a fellow human, helping you not die.

It was.... nice?  And I say that as someone who is emphatically not a team-player, joiner, group mentality, team spirit type at all. This kind of thing traditionally repels and disgusts me.  But I guess now I kind of understand why activities like this are good for 'team bonding' (ugh I hope never to use that odious corporate phrase again). I hereby grudgingly acknowledge it as a thing.

In other news, this week I have been capitalising on the big kick of motivation I got from watching Stateless and have been busting my ass. As well as the usual aerial and flexibility classes at NCCA, I have done a yoga class, beginners ballet class, and beginners jazz dance class. That's an unprecedented FIVE exercise sessions! In one week! I'm interested to see how long it takes before my inherent lazy slob-ness kicks back in.

Pic borrowed from turn-uppatch.blogspot.co.uk
Things I have learned from taking 'beginners' dance classes:
  1. When they say 'Beginners' they actually mean 'people who already have some co-ordination and control over their limbs'.  
  2. I am not naturally gifted in the arena of choreographed dance.
  3. Unlike circus skills venues, dance studios are lined with mirrors. These mirrors are not your friend, they are there to show you exactly how ridiculous/flabby/ancient you look. It is all part of a dastardly plan by the dance people to make you spend every penny you earn on more dance classes, in an attempt to become less ridiculous/flabby/ancient. 
  4. For a gallumphing decrepit crone such as I, dance classes are essentially an exercise in public humiliation (I possibly shouldn't have gone to the famous Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden for my first attempt, but waited and signed up for the 'dance for ABSOLUTE beginners who can't even follow the simplest moves, haha you bunch of RETARDS, we spit on you!' course at an obscure adult education college next term).
  5. Despite points 1-4, dance classes are extremely enjoyable and energizing. Really! I will probably go back to the ballet one as I could see it improved my posture and limb-control within minutes.

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