What Our Students are Saying…

“HAA is Truly a Family to Me…”
~Krista Webb, Trapeze Student

The ten year old me scanned the activities that were listed for gymnastics camp, most of the options I knew my mom wouldn’t go for, but as I scanned to the bottom I saw high flying trapeze. Not only did it look awesome, but I figured it was something my mom would allow me to do. I signed up hoping to get a small glimpse into the circus world. I climbed the ladder. It was much higher than I thought and going off the board was a bit of a task, but once I started flying I just couldn’t get enough. I felt like I was flying free. I took as many turns as possible and knew that I had to continue when I returned home. However, North Carolina didn’t offer anything. I continued to check over the years, but no luck.

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Cut to many years later:

Little did I know the adventures that would lie ahead of me. At 22 years old, I packed my little orange car and headed across the country on a five day trip. Upon arriving, I remembered doing high flying trapeze one time at a summer camp and wondering if possibly the wonderful city of Los Angeles offered it. My boyfriend and I googled high flying trapeze Los Angeles and Hollywood Aerial Arts popped up first and we signed up. I was so excited to finally get to take another class.

We walked up the driveway, a sense of joy and excitement overwhelming us. Ray and Matt took the time to explain the belts to us and the ropes while including pieces of great humor. I was laughing and smiling the whole time. I felt completely at ease. I remember many sweet people and lot’s of smiling faces. Ray Pierce, Jennifer Taylor, Melissa Hellewell, Matt, and later George Suematsu, just to name a few, were all there. I felt so at ease and like I was home. They helped me every step of the way and never got irritated because I was new. It was a true sense of family from the day I started. I could tell they genuinely wanted me to learn.

I thought once was great and that I’d love to try again. So I came back the second time with the same results. It was then that I realized my addiction to the high flying trapeze. We went to the practice bar with Matt and we practiced a few swings and he showed us a knee hang. Then, we were off, up the ladder we went to practice our first swing! I screamed a little as I took off the board. My stomach felt like it was in my chest. How thrilling! How exciting! I couldn’t wait to take my turn, again. At first, I wasn’t so sure about the jump, but once I did it, I felt like I was flying free. I remembered the reason I had loved it so much so many years ago. I even got to try a knee hang where the catcher grabs your hands. I didn’t make it the first time, but I couldn’t wait to come back to try more.

I signed up for a few more classes and my great addiction started. Little did I know that it would become the topic of thesis film for my masters degree at school. An addiction which I am proud to say is still going strong. It was by far the favorite part of my week. I day dreamed about the trapeze each day at school. I started learning other tricks besides the knee hang. Tricks like front end split, front end straddle whip, swinging a back tuck, and front end regular whip. All the tricks were so fun and I continued to come over and over to prefect them. I couldn’t get enough. Ray had the best balance of knowledge, humor, and know how to improve my tricks. I continued coming over months and months and steadily I got better and better. Eventually, improving my seven and doing tricks on the back end. I even got the amazing opportunity to work on Up All Night on trapeze with Ray and a few others. A dream come true for an ex gymnast who dreamt of one day doing stunt work for TV or movies.

A few months later, I was searching around for a story idea and it came to me, why not trapeze? I started to write. Barely being able to put my pencil down. Ray was a huge supporter of my idea from day one. He was there along the whole ride. Helping me with my tricks on the trapeze and getting my back end split out of lines and helping revise and edit my script. I couldn’t ask for a better coach and friend. He also acted, directed, and helped with set design for my film for which I am eternally thankful.My thesis film wouldn’t even be if it wasn’t for the expertise and knowledge Ray Pierce. I can honestly say that if you haven’t taken a class with Ray, you are missing out. He is one of the nicest, most helpful, and knowledgeable people I have ever met. You can’t go wrong taking a class with him. He strives for all his students to do their best and he won’t stop at mediocre. I owe Ray all my thanks for all his hard work. If you haven’t tried the high flying trapeze, I dare you to try it and become addicted! Hollywood Aerial Arts is truly a family to me and I hope someday soon that you will join their family, too.