Fitness In The Sky: The Art Of The Trapeze

Stir your inner-daredevil at this one-of-a-kind fitness center.

If exercise is monotonous, then summer is the time to reinvent the mundane. Being active should invigorate the soul and challenge the mind. Occasionally, the body needs something new and exciting to quash the frustrations of everyday life. The art of the flying trapeze could be exactly what you need.


Emerald City Trapeze owner Gary Kirkland opened the aerial arts center about two years ago. He began flying the trapeze six years ago, when he was inspired to try it for the first time while on vacation at Club Med. He was instantly enamored — and set out to create his own business surrounding the art of trapeze.

According to Kirkland, the goal of Emerald City Trapeze staff is to create a special experience for every individual who signs up for a class.

“We don’t have members, we have students,” Kirkland said. “People buy frequency cards and come on their own availability.”

The company currently has about 100 students. The commitment is completely up to the individual, since there are no obligations to come every day. A student is able to enroll in one class at a time, without the hassle of contracts.

A typical class size is limited to 10 students, which allows the instructors to be hands-on with each student and focus on their ability.

Each instructor at Emerald City Trapeze has been involved with the trapeze for many years, touring with companies such as Cirque du Soleil, Pacific Northwest Ballet and professional circuses around the world.

For those who are tempted to fly high above the safety net, Kirkland urges everyone to stop thinking and just come and try it, especially as an alternative to other forms of exercise.

“How many people want to ride the bike to nowhere and watch CNN?” he asked.

According to Kirkland, trapeze exercises provide strength training, increase flexibility and sculpt the figure. “Most of the instructors don’t exercise outside of the trapeze,” he said. “We do it because it is fun and great exercise.”

The benefits of the trapeze are endless because, with each class, you are continuously challenging your mind and body with a new technique.  “You don’t really think about the exercise while you are doing it,” said Kirkland, “so you stay interested with each new trick.”

For instance, the “knee hang” is mastered during a student’s first lesson. This maneuver involves the legs being pulled up and bent over the bar as the hands stretch out below.

“People are always surprised by how much they can do at their first class,” Kirkland said.

Emerald City Trapeze |  2702 6th Ave South, Seattle  |  (206) 906-9442