Rachel El-Bader’s eyes cannot help but light up when describing the sensations involved with being suspended by eight gauge shark hooks in her back. For her, it was just another way to channel her
“I like the thrill. You get a rush,” said El-Bader, a psychology major at GPC. “It’s more than just going on a rollercoaster. It’s doing something exciting with people you love.
You’re pushing your body and the intensity to your absolute limits.”El-Bader used to perform in body suspension groups in South Carolina and Atlanta.
With a pleasantly nostalgic tone, she casually describes her experiences of the various forms and procedures that take place.
“I like the four-point suicide, I went up in the air [with four hooks in her back] and was able to swing around,” said El-Bader. “Also, the two-point flesh pull, which is where they put two hooks in my back and Ibasically tug-of-war with people. At one point, we had eight people connected pulling away from each other.”
El-Bader recollects fond memories of her former suspension colleague, Loki. He started the group in memory of his good friend and fellow suspension performer, Josh Prentice, who was murdered in February 2007.
Loki describes Prentice Suspensions, an Atlanta-based suspension group, as a tight-knit family, or troop, that looks after each other. They share a common bond for the love of body suspension and their core members are friends of the late Prentice.
“Basically we’re all adrenaline junkies; we all do it for the adrenaline rush,” said Loki. “Our group’s more of a live performance group, so we do it more for the thrill factor… When we get up we don’t just hang, we basically get up and try to rip ourselves down.”
According to Loki, the most common parts of the body to suspend from are the back, knees, chest and arms. Prentice Suspensions attempts to come up with various new styles and pulls for their performances.
They currently perform at Blue Frog Cantina in East Atlanta on the last Saturday of every month. There are live band performances, with Prentice Suspensions performing between sets.
When describing an appropriate venue for body suspension, Blue Frog Cantina General Manager Todd Harris said, “It doesn’t work everywhere, you have to have a certain vibe.
It would be like trying to decorate a nun’s bedroom with skulls, it wouldn’t work in some places.”Harris laughs as he describes the types of audiences that watch Prentice Suspensions perform.
“Looking at someone’s expression when they see that s**t going down… It’s amazing. They’re all taking pictures and expecting it to be some gory, gaudy production, but that’s just the way the guys
at Prentice express themselves.”