High Flyers soar over Bloomington

Description of the following video:

[Words appear: Indiana University presents]

[Video: Nicholas Port, an Indiana University associate professor, appears on camera.]

Port speaks: I joined High Flyers in the spring of 1987 when I was a high school student here, growing up in Bloomington.

[Video: Two people perform on a large trapeze rig. One is catching the person doing a flip on the fly bar. Lots of tall trees are in the background.]

Port speaks: Bernadette had moved to Bloomington with her husband. They were molecular biologists in the Department of Biology at the time.

[Video: Bernadette Pace, a former Indiana University faculty member, appears on camera.]

Pace speaks: I started flying at the Central Denver YMCA in 1970. The first time I flew, I absolutely loved it.

[Video: Two people perform on a large trapeze rig. One is catching the person doing a flip on the fly bar.]

Pace speaks: I flew with Imperial Flyers for 13 years, and then we moved to Bloomington. I was devastated at the thought that I would no longer be able to fly on the trapeze.

[Video: Pace appears on camera.]

[Video: Pace is atop the trapeze rig. She’s holding the fly bar, waiting to jump. She leaps into the air and is caught by Port.]

Pace speaks: So, the year before we moved, I built a high-flying trapeze.

[Video: Three members of the High Flyers club are atop the trapeze rig. One holds the fly bar and jumps.]

[Video: Two people perform on a large trapeze rig. One is catching the person doing a flip on the fly bar.]

Port speaks: You can’t do trapeze by yourself, so she started looking for people to join her, so that she would have catchers and flyers.

[Video: Port appears on camera.]

Port speaks: It takes a minimum of three people to have a rehearsal. And I was just one of those high school kids who was invited through other friends to try it.

[Video: Two people perform on a large trapeze rig. One is catching the person doing a flip on the fly bar.]

Port speaks: I tried it once, fell in love with it and basically never left.

[Video: Three members of the High Flyers club are atop the trapeze rig. One holds the fly bar and jumps. She is caught by the catcher.]

Port speaks: We almost always have a couple of beginners and early intermediate level flyers who are flying with us.

[Video: Port appears on camera.]

Port speaks: And then we have quite a number of us who have been doing it for 25 years or more, in my case more than 30 years.

[Video: A flyer falls into the net. She bounces up and down, and then gets up.]

[Video: Two people perform on a large trapeze rig.]

Port speaks: Pretty much one way or another, everyone has had a direct relationship to the university.

Port speaks: As a catcher, you’re in the second swing. The catcher’s responsibility is to call the timing of the trick and then to obviously catch the person,  

[Video: Port is hanging on one of the fly bars upside-down, swinging back and forth, waiting for the flyer to move closer to him. The flyer does, and Port catches him.]

[Video: Port appears on camera.]

Port speaks: The catcher has a unique timing for every trick and for every flyer.

[Video: Two people perform on a large trapeze rig.]

[Video: Port swings back and forth on the fly bar.]

[Video: Autumn Siney, an Indiana University junior, appears on camera.]

Siney speaks: I started when I was 5 at the Sportsplex that’s now the Twin Lakes Recreation Center.

[Video: Siney swings on the fly bar and is caught by Port in the air. She then drops into the net and walks back to the ladder to climb back up to the landing atop the rig.]

Siney speaks: Bernadette Pace had a set-up there and offered summer classes. It was that period of time in my life when my mom was signing me up for everything, and it was the one thing that stuck. I started with them then and started working with her here in her backyard.

[Video: Two people perform on a large trapeze rig.]

Port speaks: It’s pretty hard to simulate the acceleration and the adrenaline rush of high flying trapeze. If you’ve done this for 30 years, it’s still scary. You still sometimes wig yourself out.

[Video: Port swings back and forth on the fly bar.]

Port speaks: Almost every time you come down, your hands are shaking like a leaf because you have so much adrenaline flowing through your bloodstream.

[Video: Pace swings in the air on the fly bar and is caught by Port.]

Pace speaks: I hope it never ends. I want to fly forever. I’ll probably lose some of my harder tricks but as long as I can be up there flying, I’ll be happy.

[Words appear: Indiana University]

[Words appear: Fulfilling the promise]

[Words appear: iu.edu]

[END OF TRANSCRIPT]

 

 

 

Nearly every High Flyers member has a direct relationship to Indiana University. Video by Samantha Thompson, Indiana University

Indiana University School of Optometry associate professor Nicholas Port spends his evenings flying in the sky.

For more than 30 years, he's been a catcher for the Bloomington High Flyers, a local circus and trapeze club founded by former IU faculty member Bernadette Pace. Port joined the group when he was a high school student in the 1980s, and he's been soaring in Pace's backyard ever since.

Pace's interest in the trapeze started in 1970 when she took a trip to her local YMCA in Denver. That trip changed her life.

She took a leap and participated in her first acrobatic class. She said the first time she flew, she fell in love. She continued to fly until her husband was relocated to Bloomington in the early 1980s. Fearful that she would never fly again, she installed a trapeze rig in the backyard of her new Hoosier home.

The rig still stands in Pace's backyard and continues to be the trapeze home for Port and all of the Bloomington High Flyers.

To learn more, watch the video above.