Aerial trapeze set up in River Arts District

Jenny Sneed, a roller girl from Johnson City, TN stood on the platform 30 feet above the ground. “I don’t feel too at home up here,” she said, “no skates, no one to hit. Just me and the bar. It will be a blast!” With that, she put her second hand on the bar and swung out trusting that Mac Glaude knew what he was doing and would catch her.

He did.

Mac Glaude on the trapeze. Just another day in the office for him. In his 16th year of trapeze work, he enjoys meeting all the different people as they travel around the country.

Up on the platform, Jennifer Ladue kept things moving. “The whole trapeze business is timing. If it is off only by a bit, it won’t work,” said Ladue. “You have to go, when he (Glaude) says ‘hup,’ there is no option here, she told each participant.”

All afternoon members of the Little City Roller Girls of Johnson City, TN had been learning and practicing the art of the flying trapeze. Matthew Altbuch, owner of the Aerial Trapeze Academy patiently guided the group through lessons and hands-on demonstrations. Assuring the students that it was safe, and getting them to relax and listen to him are his goals.

He even succeeded in getting one reluctant roller girl up and onto the platform. “I don’t like heights. I am doing this for the team,” said Joy Michael of Jonesborough, TN. “I love these women, and if they are nuts enough to do this, I will do this.” She did, saying afterwards, “Well, I did it. Cross it off the list.”

“This is beginner and kid-friendly,” said Altbuch. “We have been doing this all over the country for 7 years now, we are the only traveling trapeze school there is.” Atltbuch is quick to point out what makes his operation work, “it is my staff, period. Mac and I have been doing this full-time for 16 years now, Jennifer for 9 years. That is experience you can bank on.”

Based in Florida, the Aerial Trapeze Academy moves it’s two rigs around the country doing shows, teaching classes and festivals. They will be at the River Arts District location until May 29th, then off to West Virginia. They will be back in our area for Floyd Fest in July, where you can fly for free.


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