Safe Harbors again to offer trapeze workshop

By Sarah Marren
Posted 7/10/19

If you ever wanted to learn how to fly, Safe Harbors of the Hudson in Newburgh has a way that you can.

From July 16 to July 26, Safe Harbors of the Hudson, the non-profit housing and arts …

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Safe Harbors again to offer trapeze workshop


If you ever wanted to learn how to fly, Safe Harbors of the Hudson in Newburgh has a way that you can.

From July 16 to July 26, Safe Harbors of the Hudson, the non-profit housing and arts organization based in Newburgh, will host “pop-up” flying trapeze workshops on Safe Harbors Green at the corner of Broadway and Liberty Streets, followed by a two-week Safe Harbors Circus on the Green program for youth from July 29 to August 9. Private instruction is also available in a variety of circus arts, including flying trapeze, static trapeze, aerial silks, juggling, tumbling, contortion preparation and more. This all concludes with a free community performance on the evening of August 9 at 5:30 p.m.

This will be the third year that Safe Harbors of the Hudson is hosting these Trapeze Workshops. What originally started out as a partnership with a South African organization called Zip Zap circus, Safe Harbors took the idea to Newburgh to provide a unique and engaging experience for the surrounding communities.

“Circus education and performing is, increasingly, recognized as a powerful and effective tool for individual and community transformation and provides a challenging, constructive, creative, non-competitive, fun summer experience,” says Gina Babbage, Safe Harbors’ Marketing and Communications Coordinator.

To take kids through this challenging, constructive experience, Circus on the Green has a multitude of coaches who all have various trapeze and circus experience. One instructor, James Gibson, is a master-level flying trapeze coach and a co-founder of the non-profit Circus of Hope in Austin, Texas. Huaman is a fourth generation who’s performed in Carson and Barnes Circus, Circus Hanneford, Jory Jordan, and Cirque Polynesia and even performed at a flying Trapeze event at the White House in 2017.

The co-directors are Karen Gersch and Sara Duell. They have more than 25 years of circus performance and coaching between them. Karen is a founding member of the Big Apple Circus and Vermont’s Circus Smirkus. Sara, who specializes in aerial circus, is a graduate of Cirque De Soleil’s Social Circus Training program and holds the highest certificate as a trainer from the National Circus school of Canada. They will oversee Circus on the Green instruction and management. They’re by their students’ sides the whole way, from “ground school” to hooking into the safety lines, through climbing the ladder, holding the bar, swinging through the air, and possibly even getting caught in mid-air by the catcher, all with a giant safety net to help provide a soft landing.

Circus on the Green is a unique activity that gives kids the opportunity to expand push themselves beyond their limitations and take on new challenges. In addition to learning acrobatics, object manipulation, and other performance practices and disciplines, kids will also learn how to collaborate well with others and attain self-confidence and self-determination. If you’re a parent looking for something different, challenging, and fun activity for your child this summer or if you’re a kid looking to step outside your comfort zone and try something new, be sure to sign up for Circus on the Green.

Applications are still being accepted and can be found at: or at the security desk at 111 Broadway in Newburgh which is open 24 hours.

This program is funded by private foundations, individual donations and the net proceeds from the trapeze workshops. Support Circus on the Green and give students a summer experience they won’t forget-make a donation on Safe Harbor’s website at

The cost for a two-hour class is $75 for ages 13 and up, and $50 for kids between 6 and 12 years old. All proceeds from these classes will go to supporting the Safe Harbors Circus on the Green – A program of Ritz Kidz.

Classes will be held on Safe Harbors Green at 107 Broadway Newburgh. Street parking is usually available around the Safe Harbors Green on Broadway in Newburgh where the trapeze is set up. There are parking meters on Broadway, but parking is free on Liberty Street or Ann Street.

Participants must be in reasonably good health, around six years old or older, can hold their own weight, and do not weigh over 250 lbs. Those who are or appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, are pregnant, or if have certain health or medical conditions will not be allowed to participate. Participants under 18 years old will need to have a parent or legally appointed guardian with them when they come to class, and they will need to sign documents giving their permission.

The Instructors recommend participants wear form-fitting clothes suitable for an athletic workout, such as yoga pants or tights that cover the backs of the knees, a shirt or top that fully covers the torso to protect skin from the safety belt, socks for the trapeze, shoes for the ground, and something to secure long hair.

Instructors also recommend newcomers bring a water bottle and a small towel. Returning flyers are encouraged to bring palm-guards, wrist wraps and athletic tape.

If classes need to be cancelled due to weather or other conditions, there will be an option to reschedule. If a class gets cancelled halfway through, refunds will not be provided. If students need to cancel more than 72 hours in advance, they can reschedule their participation or receive a refund of the cost of the class. Cancellations after that are non-refundable.

Contact Safe Harbors of Hudson by email at or by telephone at (202) 232-4138.


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