Circus News

Yes Virginia, Professional Aerialists Do Use Crash Mats During Performances, and You Should Too

Mary Wolfe-Nielsen and Tyce Nielsen, aka Duo Transcend, performed a death-defying trapeze act on the July 17th episode of  America’s Got Talent. During their final trick, a blindfolded Tyce was unable to grab Mary’s legs as she slid down his body and plummeted head-first toward the stage. Fortunately, she was able to flip onto her back before landing on a crash mat positioned beneath the trapeze. She stood up moments later, unhurt, and asked the judges to let them try the trick again. Had they not performed with the crash mat, Mary would have most likely been seriously injured. You can see the crash mat at 1:00 into the video below.

The point I want to make is that professional aerialists do perform with crash mats beneath them, and for a very good reason.  AGT guest judge Kim Jeong summed it up well when he said, “This is not  America’s Got Perfection, it’s  America’s Got Talent!” Accidents happen, even with professional performers, and crash mats are a proven and reasonable safety measure for performers on most aerial apparatus. A fall onto a hard surface, even a short distance, can result in a...

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Delbert Hall

Delbert Hall, Ph.D., is professor emeritus in the Department of Theatre and Dance at East Tennessee State University. Delbert is an ETCP certified rigger (Theatre) and an ETCP Recognized Trainer. He is a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees - Local 699. He is the co-author of several books on theatrical rigging, including: The Rigging Math Made Simple Workbook, The Arena Riggers Handbook, and The Theatre Riggers’ Handbook, with Brian Sickels. He is also the author of the PocketRigger rigging app and the originator of RigCalc.