Sunday, May 29, 2011

Flying high with Firefly Circus and Theatre School

Andrew and I went to our first aerial skills class at the Firefly Circus and Theatre School in Edmonton on Thursday. I'd heard about this club a year or so ago from a co-worker who had won a 4-person pass to a private class with the founder. Unfortunately I wasn't able to go since the class coincided with a visit from family, but I've been periodically checking out the Firefly website ever since. The beginner classes fill up quickly, so it can be a bit tricky to snag a spot. This time it finally worked out, although will have to miss a class in June for a short trip to Ontario (we'll be able to make it up later).
Andrew, before class--we couldn't wait to get going.
The class is six weeks long and we'll be covering the basics of the trapeze, vertical rope, and silks. I'd had a fall on our run the previous day and tore up a patch of skin on my left palm, therefore I was a bit worried the injury was going to inhibit my ability to participate. Thankfully (I suppose you could say thankfully...), the trapeze is tough on the pads of your hands rather than your palm. Since Andrew and I took up weight training last fall my hands have become fairly callused, and only had a couple of tiny blisters on my right hand when we got home.
One of the other (more skilled) members of Firefly.
We spent most of the night on the trapeze, learning the difference between a good hang (your shoulders engaged and your core tight) and a bad hang (hanging like a wet rag), how to do the basic beats (swinging back and forth), hanging by your knees, and performing a 'crow's nest.' Our instructor, Kim, was fantastic. She was enthusiastic and encouraging, would cheer you on while you took your turn on the apparatus, and gave you pointers for the next time. Plus, our classmates were friendly and we all cheered and clapped for each other after every attempt.
The low and high trapeze.
Andrew and I were a bit taller than the other three women in our class, so we had to go last on the high trapeze so our instructor could raise it for us. The high trapeze is probably around eight feet off the ground--high enough for Andrew to dangle from it (he's six feet, plus long arms) without brushing his feet on the mat below. I had problems with foot cramps on most all of the moves (because we're supposed to have our toes pointed for everything), which means I'm going to have to eat more bananas in the weeks to come.
Andrew trying out pike beats on the high trapeze (sorry about the blurriness, he was moving pretty fast).
Andrew balancing in the side 'sexy' pose on the low trapeze.
Overall, we had a super fun time and can't wait for the next class (in the series, but also the next level of aerials). I was pleased with what I was able to do--I actually made it at least halfway up the straight rope (maybe a little farther). The trick to rope climbing is that it's all in the legs and I know I have super strong legs.



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