Philadelphia School of Circus Arts has announced the return of outdoor flying trapeze classes and workshops starting just in time for the warm weather season. Flying Trapeze Director Al Firstenberg will take the lead on bringing back Philadelphia’s only flying trapeze program. After more than a two-year break due to the pandemic, flying trapeze returns on grand opening weekends, May 6-May 8th and May 13-15th. Adults and children as young as six years old can fly through the air on the outdoor rig at PSCA’s beautiful circus campus (6452 Greene Street). During the lesson, students will learn all the techniques of the circus act, including taking off from the platform, swinging, transferring to the catcher and dropping to the net. The classes are two hours long and are offered multiple times a day. Don’t forget your camera! For more information and to book, visit: ww.phillycircus.com/flying-trapeze/
Get your feet off the ground! Philadelphia’s only permanent outdoor flying trapeze school will offer two-hour outdoor flying trapeze lessons at Circus Campus, 6452 Greene Street in West Mt. Airy – conveniently directly next to the Upsal SEPTA Station. Lessons are $65 each and class cards are also available.
“We are ecstatic to restart one of our most popular family programs with Al Firstenberg at the helm,” said PSCA Executive Director Kitsie O’Neill. “We couldn’t think of a better way to return to normal than to take the leap and fly 25 feet above the ground – and right into the arms of the giant net.”
O’Neill added, “This is one of the most spectacular and recognizable circus disciplines in the world, and involves a lot of specialty rigging and staffing. We have ample outdoor space at Philadelphia’s Circus Campus. Anyone in the region can have the experience of flying through the air – kids included!”
Philadelphia and circus have a very special history. The city of Brotherly Love was the birthplace of the American circus. Philadelphia for many years was also home to one of the country’s only recreational schools of circus arts. Philadelphia is currently home to the first and only school in the country that offers a three-year education program and diploma in circus arts through Circadium School of Contemporary Circus. Now, circus history goes sky high as the city’s only permanent outdoor flying trapeze school comes back after the pandemic.
Set next to the historic former St. Madeleine Sophie Church, students will ascend the outdoor rig in the beautiful setting that features mature lush trees, expansive lawns and historic architecture. PSCA is one of the only schools in the country that is set in an urban setting with such a magnificent view. SEPTA riders already are getting an unexpected birds eye view of the action as trains are arriving just feet from the trapeze rig at the Upsal station.
Adults and children are invited to celebrate the empowerment, confidence and freedom found in doing the unexpected. Students will soar to new heights during two-hour high-flying class. Students of various ages and abilities will learn the art of flying trapeze on a full-scale outdoor flying rig on Philadelphia’s Circus Campus. Learn all the techniques of the art form – including taking off from the platform, the swing, the transfer to the catcher and the dropping to the net.
“Flying trapeze is perhaps the most popular circus discipline for new students,” said O’Neill. “It is exhilarating! And it’s one of the most fun and adventurous experiences you’ll ever have. And what’s more, it’s extremely safe. Beginner students are always harnessed in with safety belts and working over a net. It is the easiest way to experience the joy and challenge of circus arts on your very first day.”
Philadelphia flying trapeze lessons will run under direction of Flying Trapeze Director Al Firstenberg. Firstenberg has been teaching flying trapeze for seven years at seven different rigs on the East Coast. They have worked with flyers of all backgrounds including Alex Wong of So You Think You Can Dance, Ella Emhoff, Kamala Harris’s daughter, and Gigi Hadid, where Al can be seen catching her in V Magazine’s 134th edition.
Firstenberg began their training at the Espana-Streb Trapeze Academy in Brooklyn, NY. After 4 years, they moved from that small rig to a full-sized rig in Pennsylvania. From there they have changed locations each season to coach at various schools. In 2018, Firstenberg helped with the installation of the brand new flying trapeze rig at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. In 2019, they became the youngest lead instructor at TSNY-DC. They then went to the New England Center for Circus Arts to train as part of the Fly Team where they performed for Senator Bernie Sanders in a winter 2019 performance. In 2020, Firstenberg returned to NYC to coach at TSNY-NY, the flagship location of Trapeze School World Corporation. After a few months, Firstenberg stepped into the role of General Manager where they implemented Covid-19 safety practices, ensured fair pay for staff, and fostered a positive and caring community.
Firstenberg is excited to return to PSCA as the Flying Trapeze Director for the 2022 fly season. Their goal is to create a warm and welcoming environment for ALL people and to integrate the flying trapeze program with the aerial programming already present at the school. They are hopeful and thrilled to see where this season leads. Firstenberg has already seen an incredible outpouring of excitement for flying trapeze in Philadelphia and the flying trapeze instructors have stepped up to the plate and are ready to coach each and every student!
Opening weekend schedule is listed below. Classes run 2 hours with a max of 10 participants for $65.
Friday, May 6
Saturday, May 7
Sunday, May 8 *Special 1 hour classes for $30
* These are a special trial for opening weekend only
After the grand opening weekend, lessons will be every Thursday and Friday, 4:00pm to 6:00pm and 6:30pm to 8:30pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am to 12:00pm, 12:30pm to 2:30pm and 3:00pm to 5:00pm. Other times for private and group lessons are also available upon special request.
There are no weight limits for flying trapeze but the largest harness size we have fits a circumference of 46″ at the narrowest part of the torso. All participants ages 18+ must provide proof of vaccination by sending a photo of their vaccination card to [email protected] or showing their card when checking in for class. Participants under 18 are not required to be vaccinated. Masks are required when inside our building but are optional when outside participating in the class.
Registration in advance is required www.phillycircus.com/flying-trapeze/
For more information, visit www.phillycircus.com or call 215-849-1991.
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA SCHOOL OF CIRCUS ARTS
Philadelphia School for Circus Arts, “Best of Philly Winner” for kid’s classes, is the region’s center of contemporary circus arts. PSCA presents professional and student productions during the year. Seasoned faculty lead a curriculum featuring aerials (static trapeze, sling, aerial silks and lyra), juggling, unicycling, tightwire, tumbling, acrobatics, and physical conditioning. In addition to ongoing classes, PSCA also offers introductory workshops, birthday parties, rental space, summer camp and special guest performances. Students are all ages and all levels. PSCA has a Health and Safety Plan that follows CDC and Philadelphia Department of Public Health guidelines for social distancing, face coverings, hand washing and disinfecting. For more information, visit www.phillycircus.com.