February 18, 2016

Katie Kimball, owner of Twin Cities Trapeze Center, knows what it’s like to carefully climb up and up on a narrow yellow ladder, palms sweating, breathing heavily, finally reaching a small platform high above the ground.  She understands what it takes to overcome fear—physical and mental—and to reach for the skinny metal bar and push off, flying through the air.  She recognizes the feelings of euphoria that her clients experience as she guides them through the “from-fear-to-flying” phase. 

And Katie knows that learning to fly on a trapeze is also a metaphor for taking chances in life.  While attending Stillwater High School, Katie decided to take college classes at Century College.  She credits her years as a Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) student with opening up her worldview.

“Century was small enough that I was able to find my place, while large enough to offer a number of exciting courses.  While my high school peers had the option of US History or Advanced US History, at Century I took Women’s History, and British History as well.  I tried to soak up something different every trimester,” Katie remembered.

The diversity of Century College’s courses, as well as student population, also helped expand her life experiences.

“I would be in study groups with people who were my parents’ age, and that was a great way for me to learn.  I really liked being around all these different types of people.  I think that was a huge benefit of being at Century College, as opposed to being in a (regular) high school environment.

There were different types of people who were more interested in different types of things.  You know, we were taking a psychology class, and I was the theatre kid, and there was also the person who was going in for their psychology degree after they had done 20 years of teaching in the public schools.”

Having made the journey from actor-choreographer to small business owner in a few short years, Katie appreciates Century College’s role in preparing her for life beyond school.   The credits Katie earned through Century College’s PSEO program enabled her to finish college at the University of Minnesota early.  She was involved in many theater productions, and even worked at a circus in California.

Katie learned enough about performing and the circus business to take her own personal leap of faith and open up Twin Cities Trapeze, where she helps her clients with their own personal transformations during their flying lessons.

“In 90 minutes, you can see people change,” she notes. “People come here for a variety of reasons. They come because they are looking for a way to work out.  Or they come because they just need a challenge in their life.  We get a lot of people that come because something has happened to them, and they need something they can conquer.  They come in here and 90 minutes later they have done it.”

Her advice to others?

“Take the risk—because nothing is as scary as it seems. And make sure you have your safety net.  Like, we joke about that all the time–our safety net is a literal safety net. But, you know, it’s there.  We make it safe to fail.  We make it okay to fail, which makes it okay to try. So people say, “What happens if I fall?”  Well, you’re going to fall, because it’s the only way down.  So, we’ve made it safe to fall, so you know that you can.”