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Trapeze School Comes to Washington, D.C.

Workers erect ropes and scaffolding in D.C.
Workers erect ropes and scaffolding in D.C. (Andrea Bruce - Washington Post)

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By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 4, 2009

It has to be a good thing when the District gets a little weirder.

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The latest addition to the city's downtown is not a shiny glass think tank or the latest corporate food chain. It's a flight of fancy that is completely anti-suit, non-khaki and unwonkish.

The District is getting its own trapeze school.

"You're kidding me, right?" Lance Liles, 38, said yesterday as he watched women with amazing deltoids help erect a trapeze platform at H and Ninth streets NW, across from government offices and catty-corner from a bank. "People are going to pay to go up there?"

Liles, a District landscaper, said he will not be enrolling in trapeze school. "Ain't no way," he said, "not in a million years."

Not everyone is averse to the idea.

"Oooh. Like the circus!" said Donna Coleman, 58, a retired day-care worker whose sparkly eye shadow matched her bubblegum-pink shirt. "That is something I could try. Would they let someone my age up there?"

It is for children of all ages, the trapeze coaches say.

"We have already had three of our classes sold out," said Caryn "CJ" Jaffe, an office manager for the Trapeze School of New York, who is helping move the school's former Baltimore operation to the nation's capital this week.

The temporary location, at H and Ninth streets, will provide a sidewalk show for four months, during which time passersby will be able to watch Washingtonians scream for their lives as they swing high above an asphalt parking lot -- and a safety net, of course.

The school's founder, Jonathon Conant, said he hopes to move after that to a permanent location in the Yards, near the Nationals' baseball stadium in Southeast Washington.

The school is for fitness freaks, thrill-seekers and people harboring secret circus fantasies, among others.

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