Learning To Fly At Eisenhower

trapezeIt might not be a traditional sport, but visitors to Eisenhower Park are doing flips in the air and dangling from harnesses, training at I.FLY, a recreational flying trapeze and circus arts program.

Ann Marie Cagnazzi from Bethpage is a fairly new convert. “I love the freedom that I feel and the sense of accomplishment that I get,” Cagnazzi said. “Everyone always cheers, and I feel so good about myself. You don’t get to feel that in your everyday life.”

Over a year ago the 30-year-old resident had no idea that a regular person could trapeze recreationally. Then a co-worker suggested they try a I.FLY class together.

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“After trying a beginner class, I got totally hooked,” she said. “I always saw it at the circus, but I had no idea that I could do it too.”

Her experience in gymnastics in secondary school and springboard diving in college made the experience both familiar and new.

“Being on a trapeze is like gymnastics in the air,” said Cagnazzi. “When I first tried, I was nervous, but my worries subsided once I got into it. I fell in love with it.”

Even though the trapeze is far from the ground, Cagnazzi always feels safe.

“There is always a net underneath you and a harness on you,” she said. “Someone on the ground also controls your harness. If you fall, they will catch you and make sure you land softly.”

She finds the exercises refreshing, and further enjoys the connections she has made with other members.

“It clears my head and gets me out of my everyday routine,” she said. “I made many friends at class, and we go out together afterward.”

I.FLY instructors teach their students tricks that enhance confidence and skills. Being precise is important.

“A lot of it involves timing,” she explained. “You have to jump off the board at the right time and the catcher has to be in the right position.”

Cagnazzi does not plan to join the circus, but she plans to continue to enjoy classes at I.FLY. “I don’t see myself ever stopping. I hope to learn harder tricks and get better,” she said. “I think everyone should try it. It’s the most fun ever.”

I.FLY, 1899 Hempstead Tpke., East Meadow, has programs and workshops for children ages 7-16, adults and mixed ages. For details, visit www.iflytrapeze.com. The phone number is 516-640-6995.

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Colleen Maidhof
Colleen Maidhof is a writer for Anton Media Group, specializing in local news and small business profiles. She is also the former editor of The Farmingdale Observer.

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