Visit any circus worth its big tops and you’ll usually be wowed by the trapeze acts – the swinging stars who perform breath-taking acrobatic stunts mid-air (and from the looks of things, probably pay a steep premium on life insurance). So when offered the chance to have a go by an organisation called Gorilla Circus, I’d been assured repeatedly there was a net… and despite my warnings of having no flexibility, balance or coordination, the instructors insisted they’d look after me; I’m told their oldest flyer so far was 78 so I should really stop being a wimp!
GC provides flying trapeze classes to the general public and you can sign up for just a taster lesson or even a full course if you really want to learn the basic moves and get the chance to progress further. The class begins on the ground where you can practice the simple trick on a low bar, before it’s time to climb the ladder and get ready to fly! As a total beginner I hoped my yoga practice would help me out but all thoughts go out of your head when you’re actually swinging through the air attached to a few ropes. Despite my lack of ability (I blame my family – none of us are sporty) if you are able to grasp the basic moves you can move on to letting one of the instructors catch you, which the majority of my class were able to do. It all provides for a great atmosphere to see people progress so quickly in a 2 hour class (maximum 10 people) and able to leave performing these fantastic stunts.
Despite my lack of skills, Gorilla Circus offers a great time, allowing you to try something most people have always wanted to try when they were first taken to the circus as a little kid and never thought they would get the chance to do. And to really get that ‘I’m a bird’ feeling, the circus operates outside in locations such as Regents Park but they use venues all over London such as Greenwich and Camden from May until September. Prices are £22.50 for a taster and £24 for a 2 class.
Visit gorillacircus.com for more information and to book a class. (Words: Lucy Palmer, Extra editing: Matilda Egere-Cooper)