Raleigh, N.C. — The high-flying trapeze artists at the circus have always fascinated us. They make it look so easy. To learn how to take to the skies like that, we figured we'd need to either run away and join the circus or at least head to a special school for it.
Turns out, you can learn the high-flying tricks in downtown Raleigh at Cirque de Vol studios. You have probably seen their performers at events like First Friday, Band Together, CircusSpark and First Night. And whether you want to learn trapeze or hoop dance, they have a class for you. They are tucked away in the Hue building near Cafe de los Muertos. (Definitely stop there after for an iced Mexican chocolate!)
The Out and About team wanted to see what Cirque de Vol had to offer, so we went one Friday afternoon for a private lesson with instructor Carlie Huberman. She knows her stuff! She trained at the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne, Australia. Huberman has a background in trapeze and aerial silks. She is a great teacher and really helped each of us feel like we could do these crazy tricks.
Carlie showed us how to hang upside down on the trapeze and do tricks like the bird's nest and mermaid. On the aerial silks, she showed us the basics (the gazelle hanging upside down, the box, etc.) then she just let us cocoon ourselves inside and hang out.
You can see how we did in the videos posted along with this story.
Since we each had different experiences, here are our takes on the trapeze and aerial silks at Cirque de Vol:
Kathy: Caitlin was a natural. She just popped right up on that trapeze like she was raised in the circus! I am still getting my upper body strength back (and frankly all my strength back) since having a baby. Carlie helped me get onto that trapeze and feel confident enough to stand up on it! Carlie said most people are like me when they start out, struggling to get up on the bar. I really want to get better at the trapeze, but I know I need to get more upper body strength so I am working with weights and can't wait to go back and try the bird's nest again! I really liked the aerial silk work we did. I felt more confident working with the silk and really enjoyed learning the gazelle and the other moves. I liked it so much that I am going back for a workshop later this month to further my skills!
Caitlin: I think my background as a swimmer helped me with some of the aerial tricks – but man! It was tough! Aerial artists who have been working on the trapeze their whole lives make it look so easy, but even just a simple move like getting up to sitting on the trapeze made my heart rate go up. Even still, it was a great, fun workout. Carlie offered different modifications for each exercise, depending on how comfortable we felt and our own physical limitations. I liked the stability of the trapeze more than the slippery aerial silks, although going into the "cocoon" at the end was fun. I would love to go back and take some classes at Cirque de Vol.
Cirque de Vol offers adult and youth classes throughout the week in trapeze, acrobatics, flexibility, aerial hoop, yoga, Zumba, dance and more. Just check out their website for a complete list of classes. And if you are interested in trying out one of the classes, but not necessarily ready to commit to a full session, they do have workshops where you can try out the programs. They are a little cheaper and give you a great glimpse into what the full session will entail. Upcoming workshops include aerial silks and stilt work.