How We Fly!
SuspenDC gives you the opportunity to experience the ancient practice of personal challenge through flesh hooks, with the safety of modern standards of practice. Flesh hook pulls and suspensions offer an individual the chance to test themselves by attempting the seemingly impossible. SuspenDC creates a safe community supported space to offer participants a variety of ways to experience this challenge. Some people choose Hook Pulls, Ball Dances, and Suspensions. Others choose being present and supportive of the flyers. The suspension team works with each flyer help them realize their vision for the experience of hooks. As a community we create a container of our intentions and our presence to support the journey we are all on. See Why We Fly for a lengthy discussion of our approach to hooks.
It takes many parts to make this event work well for everyone. Let’s look at what’s important to know when coming to SuspenDC.
Ways to Participate
SuspenDC offers several ways for you to participate. We encourage everyone to support other flyers before, during, and after their flight or pull by witnessing and drumming. If you are ready to face the challenge of hooks, you can take part in a Ball Dance, Hook Pull, or choose to Suspend. Check out our Resources for Flyers to help you get ready for these experiences.
For many flyers, community support plays a huge part in their success. Watching a flyer with the intent to be present as they work through their process and eventually leave the ground creates a connection that everyone can feel. Flyers feel the support of those watching and rely on that support to keep them safe as they challenge themselves on their hooks. Folks who witness a suspensions often feel the moment of lift off as it happens and share in the experience of the flyer as they start to fly.
How can you take part in this? Easy, put away your phone, stay out of any side conversations, and watch the flyer with the thought of having unconditional regard/compassion for them as they face their challenge. Another options for being present and supporting the flyers – join in on the Drumming.
Drumming creates a sonic container for the experiences of the day. It also connects everyone present by a common rhythm. The science of drumming comes from eons of use by humans for ritual and communication. Long before writing, drumming shared information between people and brought them together for common purpose. At SuspenDC, this ancient technology fulfills its primal function, it brings everyone together and keeps us focused on the moment. Whether you are skilled at drumming or have never touched a shaker in your life, we invite you to enter the Drum Pit and drum for the flyers. Find out more about drumming at the event HERE.
Hooked on the Experience
We make several options available for those ready to jump into the core experience of the event, getting hooked. If you are new to any kind of body modification, try starting off with a hook pull or ball dance. If you know you are ready to fly, what adventure will you choose?
If this is your first time flying, please check out our recommendations for First Time Flyers.
If you are new to this kind of experience, Hook Pulls offer a great introduction to the experience of flesh hooks. Two 8 gauge hooks are set in any two reasonable places on your body and attached to rope. Once in place, a partner pulls on the ropes for a type of tug-o-war or the ropes get anchored to something for you to pull against on your own. This kind of hook placement cannot lift your full weight and cannot be used for suspension.
More complex Hook Pulls can be arranged. Please Contact Us with details of what you want to create.
A number of small hooks, usually 16 gauge to 12 gauge, are set into the skin of the chest, back, and upper arms. Fruit or soft weights get attached to the hooks once in place. You then move to the rhythm of the music allowing the fruit to swing about as you dance. The more energetic the dance, the more intense the experience.
This can be another good option if you are new to ordeal experiences.
This must be prearranged with the suspension team. Please Contact Us to arrange this kind of experience at the event.
Various types of hooks are set on your back, chest, and other body parts as needed, which then get attached to suspension rigging to lift you into the air. Four hooks will hold a person up to #250. For flyers over this weight limit, a six hook minimum applies. Specialty hooks can be used for two hook suspensions by request. More hooks may be needed depending on the suspension position chosen.
When you enter The Crucible, some paperwork must be done. Everyone entering the club must show a valid, government issued ID and proof of vaccination for COVID19 (a picture on your phone is great).
All attendees are required to sign a photography release. Everyone has the opportunity to say “Yes” or “No” to appearing in pictures taken by the event photographers. Please make the decision that is best for you regarding your willingness to appear in the official pictures taken of the event and appearing in a gallery or in our advertising. After letting us know if you can appear in pictures, your picture will be taken with documentation of your choice. This photo helps us identify you in any crowd shot and remove your image if needed. Attendees also receive a writs band which indicates their photo choice. This must be kept plainly visible at all times so our photographers can identify those who are open to being photographed and those who are not.
If you are flying, doing a hook pull, or a ball dance, a piercing release must also be signed. This will be photographed with your ID for the team’s records.
After all of that, you make it to the main floor of the club.
What You’ll See
All the cool stuff starts here! In most cases the piercing area sits far from the door with a barrier to help define it. Flyers come to the piercing area to get hooks placed or removed. Lots of photography happens here. If you want to avoid being in pictures, be mindful of cameras in this area.
Amazing things happen here! A plastic covering on the floor indicates the take off and landing area for the flyers. Above this, a block and tackle hangs ready to lift flyers into the air. Pay attention when near this area. The suspension team directs all activity here and flyers have right of way at all times. Most of the photographs for an event happen here. If you want to avoid being in pictures, be mindful of where the cameras are when in this space.
A table full of shakers and rattles anchors this space, with the community drums close by. All of the drumming and music-making happens here. We invite you to help support the flyers by joining the drum circle and sharing your groove with the community.
Why do we make a space for drumming?
Excellent question. In brief: drumming helps everyone in the room connect to each other and the experience of the moment. For a longer answer, and a basic drumming guide, look HERE.
Away from the chaos of the event, this space in club lets you focus on self care, conversation, and making connections. Separated from the action by a glass wall, you can still see the action while taking time for yourself. We encourage everyone to take time out to recharge when needed.
Typically, we would have a space set up in the social area for participants to create a community table to share food during the event. Due to concerns about COVID-19 we will not be doing this at this event. Participants are welcome to bring food for themselves or order delivery to the club. The club has ample space for folks to eat together or socially distanced.
Photography at the Event
Many people who suspend, dance, or pull at SuspenDC want pictures of their experience. To accommodate this we bring in a team of dedicated photographers to shoot the event. You can see examples of their work at past events in our gallery.
Event photographers document flights, pulls, and dances by those who agree to to being photographed. The event photographers do their best to avoid capturing anyone who has indicated they do not want appear in pictures. All images go through a review process before use. Any individual photographed in error gets removed or blurred before during post-production of the images. In the event gallery, only the primary subject of the image (typically the person with hooks in place) gets named in our gallery.
The photographs taken by our event photographers go into making the galleries for this site, advertising for future events, and the Flyers’ personal use.
The Crucible’s policies prohibits the use of any devise that can record images or sound beyond the entry lobby of the club. Participants may take person pictures of their hooks and piercings in the lobby but not in the club. You can review The Crucible’s rules HERE.