Seattle: Emerald City Trapeze Arts

I have done my fair share of aerial arts, tumbling, and air travel, but never in my life have I felt as close to flying as I did last week at Emerald City Trapeze Arts in Seattle. I was told that I would never forget my first time flying, and that couldn’t be more true.

“I love to fly. I think for me it’s the mix of adrenalin and freedom” said Kari Kirkland, instructor and general manager at Emerald City Trapeze Arts. The flying trapeze is the most dynamic and exciting apparatus I’ve ever tried; it was like I was controlling my own theme park ride. The butterflies in my stomach started flying before I did. Standing up on the platform, I realized that I was higher than I’d ever climbed and I would be swinging more than I’d ever swung. With the instruction of the amazing staff at Emerald City Trapeze Arts, I learned to fly and make my first catch.

Kari’s first time flying was especially memorable. When she made her first catch, she also caught a husband! Her instructor was Gary Kirkland, the founder of Emerald City Trapeze, and one year to the day after taking that first class, Kari and Gary got married at the studio and were featured on TLC’s show 4 Weddings. You can watch Kari’s beautiful aerial entrance, gown and all, in the clip below. The exposure on the show gave the studio national and international coverage and a boost in local interest.

This isn’t the only love story to come from Emerald City Trapeze, “Our studio is very social. Our group, we lovingly call it a circus family. None of us would have met each other if we hadn’t been in this place. A lot of people get married, have babies, become boyfriend girlfriend, or just find really good friends who would never have met if it weren’t for circus, if it wasn’t for this place.” They even have a special date night circus class! I’d take that over dinner and a movie any day.

Today the studio is always full of eager students and passionate instructors. Emerald City Trapeze prides itself on providing outstanding coaching. “I think one thing that sets us apart is the level of instruction that people receive here. We truly pride ourselves on having world-class instruction. And whether that is people who have already done professional circus or well on their way to becoming professionals. That is what we strive for, having people in the space that its their life and there passion, its not just a job.” These world-class instructors teach just about every circus apparatus that exists. Emerald City offers Flying trapeze 7 days a week (on the only indoor rig in Seattle) aerial classes, cyr wheel, tumbling, trampoline, contortion, flexibility, strength and conditioning, hoop, rope, Bunge, chain, pole dancing, and the list goes on.

While I would love to take other classes next time I’m in Seattle, I don’t know if I can resist the temptation to fly even higher. The memory of the adrenaline rushing through my body as I jumped of the platform is already calling me back to the trap. I’ve found my latest addiction and I don’t intend on quitting. Forget legalized marijuana, flying trapeze is what gets me high in Seattle!

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