Gorilla Circus Flying Trapeze School Regent's Park
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I was flying through the air over sunny Regent’s Park on a Monday afternoon. Two days later, I could barely type because long-neglected muscles in my arms now felt as though they were made of splintery kindling. I think it was worth it. I was part of a group of five beginners at Gorilla Circus, a flying trapeze school that sets up camp on the north-west side of Regent’s Park for the summer. Their expert acrobats teach all sorts of fancy tricks on the highly strung bars. Our turns were interspersed with experienced swingers trying out ‘the Pelican’ and other tricks that could easily be written into the script of ‘Spider-Man’. Even beginners are aiming to be ‘caught’ by the hands of a (trustworthy) instructor by the end of their two-hour session.
If this sounds terrifying, don’t let me talk you into it. I’ve somersaulted off a three-metre diving board and even so found leaning off the trapeze platform to grab the bar almost too terrifying to endure, despite all the safety cables. They really throw you in at the deep end. When we asked if we were expected to do the demonstrated backwards somersault on our very first swing, the answer was yes: ‘just tuck your knees up and let go.’ Sure.
For me, the fun never quite outweighed the terror, but most of our troupe were buzzing after every swing. If you’ve always harboured daredevil aspirations or thought that the kestrel was your spirit animal, then this is absolutely the hobby for you. Though I did manage that backwards somersault, my childhood dreams of joining the circus have sadly been put to bed. Even so, the lesson was unforgettable. Ashleigh Arnott
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