If you’ve ever watched the original Tom Cruise Mission Impossible (vintage, I know), there’s that scene where he is lowered down into a room, the rope accidentally goes slack and he drops until just before he hits the bottom. If you remember that pose — of him dangling there just inches above the floor, then you’ll have a rough idea of how it felt like to be strapped into a harness for a Bungee Dance class.
Originally from Bangkok, Bungee Dance involves getting strapped into a harness (it goes around your waist and thighs — so long pants are essential), you can also wear neoprene bicycle shorts over your pants so that there’s more grip, it’s just not very pretty. Exercise moves include ballet-like jumps as well as a little break dancing style. So the hope was to end up looking like something like this:
Reality was a little different. The class begins with a harness-free warm up which gets you loosening up your limbs for what’s to come. After about 15 minutes, you’re ready to fly. Getting used to the harness takes a little time and you have to get used to this feeling of sitting back into it. There’s a bit of a wedgie situation involved but that’s easily forgotten once you think about what you can do in your harness.
The next half an hour involves learning a routine, since we were in a mixed-levels class, there was quite a range of skill level in the class. Some people were clearly regulars and were very comfortable sitting in their harness, pitching themselves forward and flying through the air like a ballerina with wings. The rest of us…not so much. You do the class barefoot so that you have a bit of grip when you need to land, but there’s a level of force that you need to get used to as well — you will slide. But again, as long as you don’t have major control issues, you can definitely get used to it.
Once we had the routine down, we practiced it a few times and then performed it (with varying degrees of success). There were turns, lifts, jumps and even a handstand (though that was a lot harder to achieve). Ultimately, this was much more of a workout than we had expected it to be — but that’s a good thing! The energy level in the class stayed high and we were so busy trying to do the moves we largely forgot it was exercise (at least until the next day of muscle aches). I can see how practice could make this a lot of fun on a regular basis. It would definitely be something to try again, if only to unleash your inner Mission Impossible spy.