Your super-soaraway troupe (clockwise from left): Debs, Tig, Chris & Ezra.
The soothing Sunday morning dog-walking calm of leafy Ravenscourt Park is broken by a piercing shriek. No, it's nothing sinister - Londonist is simply flying through the air with the greatest of inner unease courtesy of Gorilla Circus and their outdoor trapeze workshop.
The good people at Gorilla are everything you need when you feel you are going to plunge to certain doom; they are calming, patient and utterly professional, as well as being an absolute hoot and having abs you could grate cheese on. £22 buys you a lesson of between an hour and half and two hours (depending on size of group) and in that lesson you do a basic “knee hang” exercise and, if proficient at that (which unfortunately we weren’t, it has to be said), the opportunity to go for a “catch”.
As exercise and confidence building activities go, the trapeze has to be one of the best, and we’ve been amazed by the age range, and enthusiasm, of those signing up. And, of course, it looks effortless when watching it from a comfortable spot on the grass in their temporary arena (or from their clips on Facebook, which we studied, open-mouthed, before attending).
The team take us through some warming-up and stretching before we try a practice hang on a low bar (actually harder than when you are in mid-air, as you don’t have momentum working with you). Then, with heart in mouth and chalk on hands, we climb up the suddenly-longer-looking ladder to the platform. We are thoroughly strapped in and roped up, and two of the team are there to help, guide and ultimately reassure us that it will all be fine (these ladies would be absolutely top quality hostage negotiators if they fancied a career change). On our first ashen-faced trip up the ladder, we were met with such soothing tones (and the quote that heads this piece) that it felt a bit like a tea party, albeit one quite a few feet up standing on what felt like an ironing board. Then, having grasped the bar tightly and with a commanding “hup!” you’re off. There’s instruction from the ground and encouragement from the class (and also, in our case, from a posse of slightly inebriated male onlookers) and before you know it, you’re shimmying down from the nets and eager to get straight back up the ladder.
So, what are you waiting for? Get online at www.gorillacircus.com and book a session. You’ll come away with impressively aching arms, new friendships and an enormous sense of wellbeing. Reach for the skies!!
By Samantha Veal