The Utah Flying Trapeze company is a group of eight trapeze enthusiasts who've opened a flying trapeze school at the south end of Pioneer Park (300 South & 300 West). The group has traveled all over the nation to practice trapeze, and are now offering multiple daily classes and $5 test flights at the Downtown Farmers Market. Utah Flying Trapeze's Bogart McaVoy talked with City Weekly about the art of trapeze. For more information, visit UtahTrapeze.com.
What made you decide to start a school for flying trapeze?
My wife and I did this about four years ago, and we loved it so much we've been traveling quite a bit to different cities to do it. We started thinking, "This is crazy; we should be doing other things on our vacations." We had a few friends who were also trapeze enthusiasts, so we bought a rig and started a school.
Are you enthusiasts of any other circus acts?
If we do corporate or kids events, we can have more than just 10 people, so we can do juggling or things like silks or we'll have trampolines. Nick Glomb does Lyra, which is the metal hoop, and Kris Hale is quite good at silks.
How advanced can the lessons become?
I think you could approach professional. But it also begins with complete beginner.
Do you perform as well as give lessons?
We would like to, but we haven't really gotten that together yet. Actually what we're going to be doing is during the Twilight Concert Series, from 5 to 7 p.m. while people are filtering in, we'll fly and be doing tricks. So we'll kind of being putting on a bit of a free show for the public, and we'll get people excited about the flying trapeze.
What are the risks of the flying trapeze?
Pretty minimal—we have an ascender that goes to a retractable device. It's like a seatbelt, and if it's jerked on, it'll stop you. You see that they are always wearing a belt, and then they attach you to the safety lines, then they detach the ascender. Basically, not unlike rock climbing—you are almost always completely protected. And then, of course, you have the safety net in addition.
Are your students people who are crossing this off their bucket lists?
I think that's the majority. But that's how people get into it like we did. I mean, we definitely didn't see this as our future. I think everybody does it for different reasons. It's a mental challenge as well as a physical challenge.
How old do you have to be to start flying trapeze?
We'll go as low as 4. For the oldest, Chris caught someone who was 77. We'll have classes with 6-year-old kids mixed with adults—we all fly together. But during the Farmers Market, when we're doing the $5 swings, we get a lot of young kids. The average demographic for classes is women ages 20 to 40. We're also definitely looking into offering a sort of team-building activity—something like the trust fall that really takes you out of your comfort zone.
Is Utah ready for a flying-trapeze school?
In talking to other schools, they always say that you want an area with a big pool of different people to draw from. In Oakland and San Francisco, there are multiple schools, same with the East Coast, but we're the only school in the area. We're finding the reception to be really positive. And we felt that with the religious culture here and because it is so family-friendly, it's something fun that doesn't involve drugs or drinking.