Walking around UCSB’s Fun and Fitness Festival on November 25th, I met Eric, an aerial skills coach at the Recreation Center, who told me about the new opening of a flying trapeze club in downtown Santa Barbara. Having practiced flying trapeze for twelve years in different countries–and yearning to fly again–I joined the trapeze club.
Trapeze is a sport that brings together artistry, flexibility, athleticism, and endurance, while also providing a thrilling escape from reality. The Santa Barbara Trapeze Company, which first planted its roots at the Earl Warren Showgrounds six months ago, offers customers a unique and unexpected opportunity to soar to new heights, regardless of whether you are a circus lover, a gymnast, or just want to experiment with new aerial sports.
Flying trapeze clubs are unusual; across California, you will only find ten, most located in big cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. The fact that the Santa Barbara Trapeze Company is located right down Calle Real makes it even more unique. Perched at about 7.5 yards above ground, I felt my usual rush of adrenaline, but was also awed by the uniquely gorgeous view that I had of the Santa Barbara hills.
The classes are designed for all skill levels. During the two hour class, each person can practice as much as they desire, depending on how many people show up for each lesson. Luckily, I shared my space with only two other trapezists and so could enjoy flying from one side to the other as much as I wanted.
The Frequently Asked Questions section of the company’s website makes it clear that individuals from all ages are welcome, noting that“[The age range is] 5-105 but we’ve been known to make exceptions if a little one fits in the belt and is eager to fly.”
Although trapezing might originally seem daunting (especially for a beginner), the harness, safety lines, net (and most importantly, the team) make your safety their top priority, which is sure to reassure people during their flights.
Beginners will start by swinging under the trapeze to experiment with timing, the feel of the harness, and all of the new sensations in general. As flyers grow more confident, they are encouraged to improve their skills with the help from the trapeze company’s team members, who guide new members step by step through the class lesson, tailoring their help to the individual needs of each customer.
Once students feel comfortable enough using the equipment to try more complicated maneuvers, they are encouraged to test their limits by swinging themselves across a chasm from one one trapeze to the other, where a team member is waiting to catch them with open arms.
Although I only purchased one class in order to get a feel for the company and for the environment, I finished the class eager to come back. Not only did I feel the same adrenaline and rush of euphoria that I have felt flying at other places in the past, but through Santa Barbara Trapeze Company I also met a family who helped awaken my passion for trapeze. So, if you are looking for a fun and healthy way to de-stress or even just discover a new hobby, learning to spread your wings at the Santa Barbara Trapeze Company could be the next thing to change your life.