With the buzz of traffic and honking horns just a mere 40 feet away, students fly through the air testing their acrobatic moves.
For Kristen Tsaklis, leaping off a board 30 feet up in the air, was also a way to face a life-long fear. She is afraid of heights.
"I dont know why people do this stuff," Tsaklis, 26, said right after taking “a hop” off the plywood board and swinging into the world of trapeze. "I kind of wanted to overcome the fear but its still terrifying."
The leap was part of training classes offered by The Flying Trapeze School operated out of Bayfront Park. The school, which began operating six years ago, is owned by professional flying trapeze artists. The school began when Timothy Schmand, Bayfront Park's executive director, approached the trapeze artists and asked if they would be interested in starting a school right in the center of the park.
Instructors say their main goal is to spread their love for the art of flying in a safe environment.
"I like seeing people for the first time the best,’’ said Cindy Scanlon, one of the trapeze instructors. “You get to see them go through everything -- their excitement, their fear. The instruction is so much more detailed here. Its just been my best flying experience."
Trapeze is a circus art that was invented by Jules Leotard in 1859. He created a bar above his father's swimming pool in Toulouse, France and trapeze is now a renowned circus art performed all over the world by famous traveling circuses like Cirque du Soleil and the Ringling Bros.
The school offers classes for all ages and is open for parties, office and family functions. Students learn how to hang from their legs, tumble off the bar and trust the idea of being caught by a “catcher.”
"It's a super experience," said catching instructor Lockwood Pirie.
To learn more about the school and the classes offered visit www.theflyingtrapeze.net