I believe I can fly.

Monday was Multiple Intelligence Monday: Kinesthetic.  I would like to revisit that topic for several reasons.

  1. To show off a bit.
  2. To demonstrate the power of kinesthetic intelligence. 
  3. To reconnect the whole “meaning” thing in which I claim that a conductor’s whole life can be about conducting. 
I’m at Omega this week for a workshop in Tai Chi, about which there have already been and will later be many further posts.  But now I’d like to write about the additional class I took: a two hour trapeze class.    Here’s how it went:

The instructions said, “tight fitting clothes, clean socks, no glasses, no jewelry.”  So I humbly donned my tightest yoga pants and a ribbed tank top that does nothing to camouflage the many donuts I have enjoyed in my life, and walked to the trapeze set up in the field practically skipping  because I was so thrilled to be trying it.

This is the story of my life:
“Ooooh!  I want to try that!  Hurray I get a chance to try it!  Ooooh, that’s… wow.  Yikes.  Oh.  Um.  What have I gotten myself into?  AAAaAAAaAgh!GH!”  and because I’ve been through that many times, I’ve learned that preparation is more important than oxygen and water.

And that’s how it went.  I was all good with the ground instruction: “you’ll lean, bend your knees, bunny hop, fold your knees up, let go with your hands and look for the blue bar.”

No problem!

“We’re gonna catch some of you tonight.  Some of you, it won’t be your time, and sometimes people feel weird about that, but just know that it’s totally great, and just getting up there you’re doing amazing,” the leader, Peter, told the group.  “Exactly,” I thought, “they’re not going to try to catch me–that’s totally cool.  I just want to swing!”

Then we went to the practice bar.  Peter had me go last, which I figured it was just random, though I found out afterwards why, which I will share with you in due course.  Anyway, I hung from the bar, pulled with my lats so my shoulders didn’t go up in my ears, swung my legs like mad to get momentum (“weeeee this is fun!”), tucked them up over the bar (oof, that was hard!), let go with my hands, arched my back (“ugh!”), then grabbed the bar again and brought my legs back down (“ungh…”).  I dropped to the ground and Peter said, “arright, you have a deceptive frame, but you’re strong and flexible.” 

Ah.  He made me go last because he was worried I would have a hard time.  What with the donuts having a lovely gathering on my belly and all, I can’t blame him, really.  But I do work out and dance and do yoga… I just also eat donuts.    Anyway.

It was my turn to go up on the trapeze.  I climbed the ladder, which was bouncier than I expected, especially as I got closer to the top.  And it was higher than I thought.  Mh.  Okay.  So I followed my instructions, missed the knees up the first time, but got it on the second try, then managed to let go and arch far enough to see the blue bar.  I swung my legs when he told me and tucked my knees but let go a little late and didn’t manage the backflip as I fell.

My heart racing and just remembering to breathe again, I crawled off the net and thought, “I don’t know if I can to that again.”  But we get three tries, he had told us.  So I thought, “once more.  That’ll be enough.”

Second try is as follows:

Lots of hesitation in the beginning, right.  And second guessing the letting go, so he let me try it again.  And I almost got the backflip.  Crawling off the net, I thought, “that’s enough.  That was exciting, but the adrenaline is too much, and this is going to be it.”  And as I slid down the pole, the leader said to me, “good–you gotta let go when I say ‘let go,’ arright?  Arright.  We’re gonna catch you tonight.”

“Uh… that’s…” I replied, shaking and stumbling away from the net and thinking, “I don’t have to do it.  I don’t.  No reason to go further.  Except that it’s my only chance ever to do this and if I don’t just frikkin do it, I suspect I’ll always wish I had.” 

Wait a minute.  Three tries, he had said.  Three.  I had only had two.  He went through the rest of the group a third time and said to me, “you’re gonna stay on the ground ’cause you’re ready.”

Apparently I was ready.   Two practices and I was ready.


I failed long division in the third grade.  I’ve never been the singer who gets solos, and I didn’t even win my high school music award.  My thighs rub together when I walk and my midsection is a donut-friendly zone.    But I’ve also got ten years of ballet, ten years of on-and-off yoga practice and on-and-off lindy hopping, a dozen Alexander Technique lessons, and a year of Tai Chi.


I.  Can do.  


Holy moly.  I’m amazing.

How is this related to conducting?  Well, a lot of things come to mind.  I’ll write about them later, because this post is already too long.  But because I must conclude somehow, I’ll tell you what I’ve learned from the trapeze is this:  

If you ever have the chance to swing from a trapeze–

Do it. 

You’re ready.
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One Response to I believe I can fly.

  1. Steve says:

    O….. M….. G……That was intense!

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