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Flying Trapeze class at Trapeze School New York in Chicago

Time Out Chicago’s D.L. Hopkins faces her fears and takes a flying trapeze class at the new Trapeze School New York in Chicago at Belmont Harbor.


The class Flying trapeze at Trapeze School New York in Chicago (Belmont Harbor Marina, 3158 Lakefront Trail, 773-484-8861)

The details Funny how time flies when you’re about to fling yourself from a 23-foot-high rig. I’m not sure which of the two was faster: the five-minute instructions or the actual flight. Upon arrival, I introduce myself as a terrified virgin swinger to a small, encouraging group of advanced students and TSNY staffers. As far as I can tell, the setup—a ladder, line operator and safety net—looks elementary and not very daunting. Immediately after, my shoes are off, a harness is strapped tightly around my waist and a waiver is signed. On a grassy patch, an instructor demonstrates swinging, knee-hanging and catching positions, which I’m to replicate soon in the air. The most important part, the instructor says, is listening and timing. And then it’s showtime. A safety belt is attached to my harness and I (along with my nerves) head up the narrow steel ladder onto the platform. When the operator yells, “Hep!” I bend my knees. When he shouts, “Ready!” I take a wee bunny hop…and stop short. It takes about ten minutes (maybe more) of coaxing from everyone on-site and several false starts, but eventually I grab on to the bar (which is heavier than I imagined) and swing. Unfortunately, I can’t psyche myself up to try other tricks. But I have a blast swinging and watching more experienced flyers perform splits and somersaults. Though you’re supporting your own weight while hanging, it’ll probably take more than a few sessions for this to feel like an actual workout—this class is more about emotional and mental endurance. But expect some postclass soreness in your arms and core—and a little bruising from tumbling out of the roped net. The sense of accomplishment is a great confidence booster, and despite the panic attack, I want to recapture the exhilaration from flying.

When to take it Daily; hours vary, and classes depend upon weather. Monday–Friday $22–$57 per class; Saturday, Sunday $65 per class. Visit the website for more information, including class packages.

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