Return to Flying trapeze resource page, Home Page for International Information
TRAPEZE GLOSSARY (7) [1999-01-11/A]
- The (+) before a term indicates that a definition is already available (the
"+" is reserved for future use).
- The (#) in the title and message "Subject" denotes the last version (issue) of the glossary.
- I've added some terms, don't be afraid of my English. :) - Please feel free to add a description for *any* term, alternate spellings are welcome too. - Please check if your most recent contribution has been included. If not, it may have been inadvertently omitted.
- This is only a *tentative* list for our list internal use, it's nothing supposed to be "academically" accurate. - Main entries will be modified to "most common" entry later, currently all references point to the 1st occurrence in the list (e.g. Sumersault refers to Salto, later the main entry will be Sumersault instead of Salto as Salto seems to be rarely used).
*** A ***
Act (Aerial Act)
Aerial Act (-> Act)
Trick is decribed on the left side, it can also be done on the right rope. From sitting, you stretch up and hold the left rope with the left hand. You reach behind you with your right hand and hold bar at base of left rope, thumb towards front. Keeping right arm straight, you lift your weight off the bar and hook your neck around left rope (rope goes to left of head) you can then take left arm off rope. You can either keep yor body straight, or stag your legs. To get out, you take rope again with left hand and lift right leg sharply to get your bum back on the bar, or you can turn around the rope and lift left leg up to hook it over the bar, then twist and pull right leg over.
+Apron [Bavette; tablier]:
Small net placed at each end of a flying trapeze rig.
*** B ***
End of the swing back to the board.
Trick with no first position; the position is not performed
until the height of the swing back to the board.
See: Trapeze bar.
+Belt (Safety Belt; Spotting Belt) [Ceinture]:
Safety belt that they flyer wears around waist when learning
new or practicing more dangerous tricks. Safetly lines are
attached to loops on both sides of the flyer's belt (some
belts used e.g. by swinging trapeze performers during shows
have only one ring and a single safety line is used).
(See also: Twisting Belt)
Bird's Nest [Nid d'aigle; nid d'oiseau]
+Board (Platform) [Plate-forme]:
Wooden take-off platform at one end of a flying trapeze
rig. Some rig configurations have two platforms (one at
+Board Biscuit (Board Bisket; Board Bunny):
Person who works on the board.
+Board Bisket (-> Board Biscuit)
+Board Bunny (-> Board Biscuit)
A straight drop down to the net, flat on the back, often with
arms crossed over the chest (does anyone have any alternate
arm positions for the bullet drop?).
*** C ***
Steel cables used for flying trapeze bar fixation.
Candlestick [Chandelle <?>/Chandelier <?>]
Oval-shaped (or drop-shaped) aluminium, steel or titanium ring
with a spring-loaded snap link.
The snap link can be equipped with a screw or bayonet lock
(called "Locking Carabiner").
See also: Locking Carabiner.
The bar that the catcher catches from.
Person who catches the flyer; is hanging from a catch
trapeze (catch trap) or a flying frame.
Position of the catcher when ready to catch the flyer.
<Add details concerning leg position>
+CdS or CDS:
Current abbreviation of "Cirque du Soleil" (sometimes used on
our mailing list), corporate internal abbreviation is usually
CDS rather than CdS.
+Chalk (Magnesia) [Magnésie]:
Basic magnesium carbonate (not chalk), available as powder or
very friable block.
+Chalk Bag [Sac à magnésie]:
Small bag used to store the chalk. Can usually be shut with
a small cord. Indeed it's a rock-climbing accessory.
+Circus Tape (Tape):
Auto-adhesive tape used to wrap trapeze bars (amongst other
things). Usually a sort of textile tape. Sometimes gauze is
used instead of tape.
U-shaped rope attached at either end by swivels.
Current abbreviation of "Club Med" (sometimes used on our mailing
From sitting twist sideways, hold one rope behind head with
both hands. Bring legs up and place both feet on opposite rope,
toes facing out. Push out in both directions so body is
straight, rope to one side of head. You can the take both hands
off and stretch them back over head.
+Crane Bar [Barre d'écartement]:
Bar used to suspend trapezes (often fitted with ball bearings).
Crucifix (Iron Cross <?>)
The flyer turns around at the first force out, and then hooks
their toes on the bar in a pike. Coming back towards the
catcher, the flyer breaks, then lets go at the catcher's call
and does one full laid out rotation to the catcher who is
holding a cutaway bar.
<I might have a couple details wrong, anyone help?>
Bar that the catcher holds for the flyer to catch in
certain tricks (e.g.: cutaway, reverse knee-hang).
+Cutaway Half (Cuthalf; Flexis; Flifus; Fluxus):
- Cutaway with a half twist.
- Reverse pike under the bar and then rolling legs up
over the bar to do a half twist.
- Like a reverse whip (kinda). The flyer jumps off the
board and does a "turn-around" at the first force-out.
As they're coming back to the platform (facing it)
they go into a whip position. They stay that way as
the swing back to the catcher. At the top of the
catch swing, the catcher yells "hep" and the flyer
"punches" their feet into the air (like a handstand)
while at the same time turning 1/2 twist to the
catchers hands. Its a pretty cool trick.
+Cuthalf (-> Cutaway Half)
*** D ***
Double Cut Away
Double Trapeze [Trapèze double]
A doubles move which enables the flyer to go from under
to above the catcher. The flyer takes base's hands, goes to
pike and beats legs up and around base's waist, locking feet
behind. The flyer can then beat up to bar or ropes.
*** E ***
*** F ***
Fixed Trapeze (Static Trapeze) [Trapèze fixe]
+Flexis (-> Cutaway Half)
+Flifus (-> Cutaway Half)
+Fluxus (-> Cutaway Half)
Flying Frame [Cadre aérien; cadre de voltige]
Flying Trapeze [Trapèze volant]
+Flying Trapeze Bar [Barre de trapèze volant]
Plain steel (or stainless steel) bar of approx. 7/8"
(22.25 mm) diameter.
A. From standing place elbows in front of ropes and hold
ropes about waist height, thumbs to front. Then roll body
forward; you should end up sitting on bar.
B. Also there's a forward roll around the bar: From sitting you
place elbows in front of ropes and hold bar, thumbs to rear.
Slide bar down legs to hocks, and tucking really tight roll
forwards. You need to twist your hands forwards just after you
*** G ***
Sitting with back against right rope, keep left leg straight,
bend right leg up and take it to front of right rope, taking
upper body to back. Body then hangs underneath.
Protectors worn on the flyer's hands to help prevent blisters
and rips. Some materials include: leather, gauze, tape, etc.
+Guy Line [Hauban]:
Steel cable used to stabilize e.g. rig parts like poles,
platforms, flying frames,...
*** H ***
Headstand performed on the Washington trapeze not
possible (?!) with any other trapeze).
Flying trapeze trick: At the end of the first swing, the flyer
brings their knees up between their arms and puts their heels
on the bar, making sure that their hips are up and they are in
a compact position. Then the flyer looks behind them for the
catcher. The catcher calls the hep, and the flyer "explodes"
out to the catch.
Universal signal used instead of go, now, start...
E.g.: "Ready... Hep!"
Like a knee hang, only the flyer brings their legs AROUND the
cables to hook them on the bar, instead of bringing them up
to their chest to hook them over.
Short bar (not pole) with a hook, is attached to the platform
by a small cord and used to catch the flying trapeze bar.
*** I ***
From sitting, place hands ear height on front of ropes. Lift
and invert body so that bar is behind neck, and slide feet up
the inside of the ropes until body is straight.
From standing, hold ropes fairly low, as low as possible, while
keeping body straight. In one movement crouch slightly and kick
bar forwards and above head (can also be done backwards).
Iron Cross (-> Crucifix <?>)
+Isle of Man:
Variation on one armed hang. From under bar, beat up and hook
one leg over opposite arm, bending at knee. Reach over head
with other arm, and bend or straighten other leg, whichever you
*** J ***
*** K ***
+Knee Hang [Cochon pendu]:
Usually the first move taught to a beginner flyer, as it is not
a release move. At the end of the first swing, the flyer brings
their knees up between their arms and hooks them on the bar.
At the start of the next swing, they let go with their hands,
arch their back, and look and reach behind them to the catcher.
When the catch is made, the flyer lets go with their knees.
*** L ***
Ladder used to access the platform.
(See also: Rope Ladder)
Layout (-> Flyaway)
One-piece tight-fitting sleeved or sleeveless garnment that
covers (usually) only the torso. Called after Jules Léotard who
is considered as the "inventor" of the trapeze.
+Lines (Longe; Lunge; Safety Lines) [Lignes d'assurage; longes]:
Small cords used to secure the performer (e.g. flyer).
Usually a symetrical longe system with two lines is used for
flyers. Catchers are not in lines.
Professional swinging trapeze performers use an asymetrical
longe system with a single line (top pulley is in the middle
of the crane bar).
Spanish word for "ready", used to signify to the catcher that
the flyer is ready to go.
<"Lista" if the catcher is a woman????>
+Locking Carabiner [Mousqueton à verrouillage]:
Carabiner with special spring-gate locking mechanism
(threaded sleeve or bayonet 1/4-turn lock sleeve).
Longe (-> Lines)
Lunge (-> Lines)
*** M ***
+Magnesia [Magnésie] (-> Chalk)
Another one armed hang. From under bar either from straddle
(easier) or beating up, keep legs together and get hips up and
over elbow of one arm, pointing feet diagonally towards floor.
Take other arm off bar and point towards feet.
+Mechanic [Harnais; baudrier]:
Safety harness, mainly used by riggers.
Like a half angel but with two feet on the ropes instead of one.
From standing, face sideways, put one foot behind sideways on
bar against rope. Other foot wraps around other rope like rope
climb wrap, ending with toes on bar. Place hands and chest on
this rope, and dropping to the same side as leg wrap turn
around the rope 2 or 3 times so it wraps around your leg. You
should be able to lean into the rope and take hands off.
*** N ***
+Net (Safety Net) [Filet]
Net used mainly for flying trapeze.
The catcher, when coming down from the catch trap, asks if the
net is clear for him to come down (clear = no one under the
+Noodle [Gaffe; perche]:
Lightweight pole with a small hook used to retrieve free
hanging swinging trapeze bars too far away to get them with
*** O ***
One Armed Hang
+One Leg Skinner:
From one leg hocks, reach hands behind bar and take ropes-bar
should be inside elbows. Tuck tight and pull body round to sit.
Doubles move. Base stands, flyer sits facing. Base slides feet
down flyers legs keeping hands on ropes pressing weight on whole
of flyers legs up to hips (made easier if flyer flexes feet)
Flyer can then take hands off and bend bacwards; looks nice if
flyer has good backbend.
*** P ***
+Penny Drop (Seat Roll):
At the end of the swing out, the flyer hooks their knees on
the bar. "Cables" is called, and they grab the cables with
their hands, and sit on the bar. At the end of the next swing
out, they push off the cables and arch their back, and roll
around the bar to the catcher.
Hanging from bar or base with hips up and legs straight and
Planche [Planche] (French word: Plank, board)
Plaunge (-> Planche)
Plange (-> Planche)
+Platform [Plate-forme] (-> Board)
+Pole [Montant; pilier]:
Vertical steel or aluminium tube, part of rigs.
From pike to sit without beat, using movement of putting legs
on bar as momentum to get hands to ropes.
Pull Over Shoot
<Waiting for an accurate description... :) >
*** Q ***
+Quick-Link [Maillon-Rapide (Trademark from F. Peguet et Cie)]:
Oblong shaped steel-ring with an internally threaded sleeve
with hexagonal profile that screws open to allow a cable
to be put in and then screws shut to close it.
Is used mainly for semi-permanent assemblies.
*** R ***
Cloudswing move. From front balance to one knee at front of
+Reverse Knee Hang:
The flyer turns around at the first forceout, and kicks
forward, backward, forward, and hooks one knee on the bar.
The other leg is out straight. The flyer looks behind, and
at the catcher's call, puts their hands out. The catcher
places the cutaway bar in the flyer's hands, and the flyer
lets go with their knee at about the same time.
Kissing the catcher after being caught.
+Rig (Rigging) [Rig; installation de trapèze]
To set up a rig.
Person who sets up rigs.
+Rigging (-> Rig)
A step that can be placed on the board that gives the flyer
a higher take-off point.
There are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd,... raiser.
+Rope Ladder [Etrier; échelle à câbles; échelle à cordes]:
Ladder made of rope or cable and aluminum or wooden rungs.
Mainly used to hook up catch traps, sometimes also to
access the platform.
+Rosin (Colophony) [Résine (colophane)]:
Sticky stuff to stop you slipping, <mainly used for single
trapeze, some use it only for public performances, not
*** S ***
+Safety Belt (-> Belt)
+Safety Lines (-> Lines)
+Safety Net (-> Net)
Salto [Salto] (Somersault; Summersault):
[Mainly used in French and German.]
Front balance backwards rolls.
Seat Roll (-> Penny Drop)
+Single Knee Hang:
Knee hang with a single knee.
+Single Toe Hang:
Toe hang with a single foot (not a single toe!).
+Skinning The Cat:
From hanging beating up and going straight through so hanging
with arms pulled up behind you. Can then let go with one hand
and turn back to usual hang.
Doubles move: Base sits on bar, flyer begins hanging by hands
from right side of the bar, both facing out to audience. Flyer
hooks right knee on base's left flexed foot, then places neck
on base's right flexed foot. Flyer straightens both legs, and
pushes hips up to make sure their body is straight, and both
style. This is a nice trick because it gives the image that
the flyer is lying across base's feet.
Somersault (-> Salto)
Person at the safety lines.
Spotting Belt (-> Belt)
Static Trapeze (-> Fixed Trapeze)
X-shaped position formed from standing. Lift up and push ropes
out with feet above velvets, holding ropes as high as possible
Hanging under bar, hips up, legs wide, hands close together,
crotch close to hands.
Superman (-> Angel)
+Suicide [Saut de l'ange]:
Falling face toward the net (just turning before landing
back toward the net).
Summersault (-> Salto)
Swinging Trapeze [Trapèze ballant]
+Swinging Trapeze Bar [Barre de trapèze ballant]:
A special trapeze bar used for swinging trapeze acts, there are
usually small cylindrical or spherical weights at each end of
*** T ***
Tape (-> Circus Tape)
Sort of grooved ring inserted in a loop to protect ropes and
Cloudswing move. Lower legs wrapped front to back, at front of
swing you let go of ropes and reach forward, so you end up
doing a big dive, suspended by your ankles.
[Tirefort; Treuil à câble traversant]:
Cable hoist which can with used with unlimited cable length
(cable passes through the device).
+Trap (Trapeze Bar) [Barre de trapèze]:
Plain steel or stainless steel bar; its form depends on the use
(flying trapeze bar, catch trapeze bar, swinging trapeze
bar, Washington trapeze bar,...).
Trapeze Bar (-> Trap)
Triple Passing Leap
Device used to adjust tension in cables. Has two screws
with rings, hooks or forks and a central threaded sleeve.
Knees into chest and feet into bum.
Safety belt made specifically for practising somersaults and
cutaways etc... It has a metal "track" which allows the lines
to move around the flyer's body as he twists, without becoming
Twisting Ankle Catch
+Two Leg Skinner:
From hocks, reach hands behind bar and take ropes; bar should be
inside elbows. Tuck tight and pull body round to sit.
*** U ***
+Up And Over:
Hanging to front balance, off backwards andbeat back to front
*** V ***
*** W ***
Washington Trapeze [Trapèze Washington]
+Washington Trapeze Bar [Barre de trapèze Washington]:
A special trapeze bar with a small padded sort of dish at the
middle of the bar (used e.g. for headstands).
Front balance forward rolls.
*** X ***
*** Y ***
*** Z ***
Tricks, Eqpt/riging, Misc
(flying,single,double,wasington trapeze Spanish web, etc
|Double Cut Away|
|Flifus||A cut-away with a 1/2 twist.|
|Over the bar/Uprise|
|Penny Drop (Seat Roll)|
|Reverse Knee Hang|
|Salto (Somersault; Summersault)|
|Seat Roll (Penny Drop)|
|Somersault (Salto; Summersault)|
|Somersault (Salto; Summersault)|
|Tripple Passing Leap|
|Uprise/Over the bar|
|Tricks swing technique terms|
|Front end trick|
|Double trapeze bar|
|Single trapeze bar|
|Stick||For cut-away trick|
|Board Bisket (Board Bisquit; Board Bunny)||The person who works the board|