Trapeze legend Terry Cavaretta is getting back into the swing of things.
Instead of seeking an audience, the 59-year-old wants the public next to her as she takes to the skies.
"There is truly no feeling like flying," she said. "I used to do a triple somersault every night, and every time I did it, it felt good. That feeling never got old. I would love to give (others) that feeling."
Now, Cavaretta and her husband, Canadian entertainer Rejean St. Jules , are reaching out and opening up their backyard studio for their newly formed company, the Terry Cavaretta Trapeze Experience , expected to open in October or November.
Participants as young as 7 can test trapeze arts on the 25-foot -high aluminum rigging above a 45-foot -long net at 6209 W. Alexander Road . The system is shorter than professional grade but as safe as the real thing, Cavaretta said.
Class sizes are to be kept small - five or fewer students - and safety harnesses are required.
"If someone wants to swing, they can swing," she said. "If they just want to climb the ladder and sit on the platform, that's fine. Everybody's idea of accomplishment is different."
Cavaretta's own accomplishments led to notable milestone achievements, including being included in the Guinness Book of World Records . She is entered as the only woman to perform a triple somersault on the flying trapeze in consistent shows.
She was also known as the youngest professional trapeze artist, having started circus school at age 5 and toured professionally by age 8 , Cavaretta said.
The sibling act Cavaretta is most associated with, the Flying Cavarettas , was the first all-woman teenage group in a male-dominated industry, St. Jules said.
"Women used to be just there to look pretty," St. Jules said. "They maybe threw the bar and did simple tricks. (The Flying Cavarettas) did the most difficult tricks."
The act consisted of Kandy , twins Marlene and Maureen , brother Jimmy and Terry, the youngest of the group . The big Italian family lived in St. Petersburg, Fla. , when Kandy tried out gymnastics and circus school simultaneously. Her siblings followed suit, Cavaretta said.
"There were six kids in the family, and I think my mom just wanted us out of the house," she said.
A coach made Kandy reduce her activities . She chose flying.
"If it weren't for that, we'd all be gymnasts, I guess," Cavaretta said.
Kandy and Terry were the first to have their own flying performance of the brood. They caught the eye of Fay Alexander , a trapeze artist of the Flying Alexanders , who asked the pair to tour.
The summer stint introduced the family to circus visionary Al Dobritch , and he encouraged the Cavaretta parents to fold the other children's trapeze projects into Kandy and Terry's work, Cavaretta said.
"He said, 'Why would you work for someone else when you could have your own act?' " she said.
The family spent three months shuttling daily between Tampa and Venice, Fla. , training and honing their show. The first performances included two back-to-back mistakes before Kandy and Terry landed a big trick.
"After, Al Dobritch called us to his office, and we thought we were fired," she said. "He said, 'Keep that in the act' and told my parents, 'You've got gold in your hands.' "
Cavaretta grew up on a trapeze platform. At age 15 , Cavaretta and the Flying Cavarettas were swung a big opportunity.
The top brass of Circus Circus wanted the family to perform at the then-new casino. The group even appeared in promotional materials as the casino was being constructed .
The Flying Cavarettas inked a generous contract, Cavaretta said, and troupe members settled into a normal home life in Las Vegas when they weren't one of a handful of trapeze acts at the resort.
"We did correspondence school in our dressing room," Cavaretta said. "But we had a regular life."
During their 23-year Circus Circus headlining run, the Flying Cavarettas participated in international trapeze contests and performed for Queen Elizabeth II. Divinity was on their side, Cavaretta believes, because she and her brother nearly missed a catch in front of royalty.
"My brother and I say God caught it," she said. "We grabbed hands, and in the trick, you're supposed to grab at the wrists."
When the Flying Cavarettas retired in 1991 , brother-sister duo Jimmy and Terry forged ahead and performed to "The Lady in Red" in "Folies Bergere."
Cavaretta and St. Jules met at a show in Montreal and married one month later. St. Jules is known for his juggling act but also dabbles in painting.
Cavaretta took a leave of absence after son Sebastian was born in 2001. He takes advantage of his parents' expertise and performed live with his father at age 5.
Cavaretta maintained her core and upper body strength while on hiatus and was able to return to the trapeze this year with ease, she said.
"It's time for me now," she said. "I'm starting to fly again."
Her heart raced the first time she attempted a trick without a safety harness, she said.
"I don't think age should stop you from doing anything," she said. "I don't feel older."
St. Jules was her inspiration to form her own trapeze school in Las Vegas.
"This is her (expertise)," he said. "And this is her city."
Although the couple estimate there are more than 45 trapeze schools in the country, they said it's a new offering in Las Vegas. Initial interest was sparked when a Deal of the Day promotion yielded about 191 new clients.
"It's a challenge, but it's a thrill," St. Jules said.
In addition to trapeze, the couple plan to teach silk dancing , single trapeze techniques and trampoline arts. Eventually, Cavaretta hopes to start a circus school .
Lessons last for about an hour and include ground instruction.
Cavaretta's siblings live locally and may add to their youngest sister's endeavor, she said.
"Las Vegas has been very good to us," she said. "This is a way to give back."
For more information, visit tctetrapeze.com or call 239-9445 .