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 piercing 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 face this challenge. Some participants choose to get hooked themselves; others choose to be present and supportive of the flyers.
The suspension team works with each flyer help them realize their vision. 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 moving parts to make this event a success for everyone. This page covers what to expect at SuspenDC: registration, ways to participate, how to navigate the event space, and our photography policy.
If you wish to participate in a hook suspension, hook pull, ball dance, cheek spear, or an ordeal experience of your own creation, please use our Registration form to get in touch with us ahead of time. We can accept walk-ups for some experiences, but discussing before the event allows us to guarantee you the time, space, and materials you need to succeed, especially if you have a complex vision for your experience.
Upon entering the space, you will be asked to complete some paperwork, depending on how you will be participating. Everyone entering the space must show a valid, government-issued ID and proof of vaccination for COVID-19.
All attendees are also required to sign a Photo Release. Everyone has the opportunity to consent to appear 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 the use of those pictures in a gallery or in our advertising. After letting us know your preference, your picture will be taken with documentation of your choice. This photo helps us identify you in any crowd shots and remove your image if needed. Attendees also receive a wrist 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 being pierced for a hook suspension, hook pull, ball dance, cheek spear, or other experience, you must also sign a Piercing Release. This will be photographed with your ID for the team’s records.
Ways To Participate
SuspenDC offers several ways for you to participate. We encourage everyone to participate as deeply as they desire, and to support the other guests of the event before, during, and after their 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 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 unconditional regard and compassion for them as they face this challenge.
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 a 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 join the circle and drum for the flyers.
Learn more about Drumming.
Hooked on the Experience
The Event Space
As you enter the club proper, look for these defined spaces: the piercing area, flight zone(s), drum circle, and social area.
The fun starts in the piercing area (your definition of “fun” may vary!) In most cases, the piercing area sits far from the door, with a barrier to help define it. There are counters or tables with medical and piercing supplies, as well as chairs or massage tables. Flyers come to the piercing area to have 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 photography for an event happens 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. Drumming helps everyone in the room connect to each other and the experience of the moment. You may also find elements for ritual and celebration, such as incense, feathers, bubbles, or stones around the drum circle.
Away from the chaos of the event, this space lets you focus on self care, conversation, and making connections; there is often a community food table here. We encourage everyone to take time out to recharge and observe the action from a quieter space when needed. Even those who do not normally feel deep empathy and intuition may find themselves sharing energy with others in an ordeal space. Remember to fill your own cup and maintain your own energy before pouring it into others.
Many people who fly, 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. The pictures taken by our event photographers are used on this site, in advertising for future events, and for flyers’ personal use.
Event photographers document flights, pulls, and dances by those who agree to to be 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 is removed or blurred during post-production of the images. In the event gallery, only the primary subject of the image is named in our gallery.