Crosby helps kids take flight
Uprise Circus provides underprivileged children with the opportunity to gain confidence and personal development via the arts. The centrepiece of its site is a trapeze, which had become dated and needed replacing. The Crosby Group supplied over 70 shackles plus eye bolts and thimbles, as the social circus modernised the facility.
Liz Taylor, vice president at Uprise Circus, says, “The trapeze is at the heart of our mission to serve underserved children. In Texas, this means one in five children qualify. Studies have shown that such circus programs improve social and emotional learning skills. Therefore, the rigging gear that holds 28 wire ropes, a net, ladder safety system, and carabiners together is fundamental to us making a positive difference to young people’s lives.”
The flying trapeze rig is held down by 35ft long cables (guy lines) that are rigged at 45deg angles and stretch to stakes 20ft away. Taylor explained that each wire has a winch on the end, while the 23ft high platform used to launch from, the trapeze bar, and the ‘catcher’ are held by Crosby shackles.
Taylor says, “The Crosby Group is well known in the circus industry and it gives you peace of mind to see Crosby-branded items on a rig. Except for two poles, we started over with new materials; we always want to give our kids the absolute safest experience. We built the rig by raising money and collecting equipment donations. During reconstruction Uprise Circus welcomed special visitors, Rolando Bells and Kristin Finley, who are flying trapeze legends and have broken many records and barriers. Such high-profile brands and names help to raise our profile.”
She adds, “The process of learning stunts on the trapeze is cumulative and, though there is a general progression, we tailor each path to the child and their needs. Beyond learning your individual stunt there is a partnership with the catcher, the trained person that sits in the second trapeze and catches the trick. This means that the children must perform their trick and completely let go of their trapeze to go to the hands of the catcher. This requires a ton of trust.”
Taylor, one of the volunteers at the facility, acknowledged that working with underserved teens to get them to a place of excitement and trust can be a challenge, but the flying trapeze rig gives students a sense of excitement. All of the activities are completed in safety lines and they wear a belt/harness that attaches to a ‘line-puller’. This person calls out the timing and tricks for the person who is swinging.
Taylor says, “Circus is a great way to connect with people – not just children – who don’t fit in with traditional athletic activities, like football. Flying trapeze has a great community aspect but ultimately, it’s an individual sport and if you’re not participating, you’re not making progress. The team won’t carry you along to the championship like other sports.”