Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Higher education: Students learn aerial moves in circus school

When one thinks about education, it’s not likely that “circus school” comes to mind.


Instructor Erin Garber-Pearson of Toledo shows a flying technique during a beginner aerial silks class at the Birds Eye View Circus Space at the Collingwood Arts Center.

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But, yes, there is such a thing as circus school. And yes again, to the delight of some and the surprise of others, there is one in Toledo.

At this circus school, the goal is not to learn how to don a costume, apply face paint, clown around, or work safely with lions, tigers, bears, or elephants to wow an audience. Instead, at the Birds Eye View Circus Space at the Collingwood Arts Center, one can learn to dance in the sky — or at least high in the air.

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to see more school photos

Among the skills that students are challenged to master are the aerial silks — where one hangs onto silk fabric to perform aerial acrobatics — along with various flying techniques and acroyoga, which combines yoga and acrobatics.

Not every student goes on to join a circus after taking a class at Erin Garber-Pearson’s school, which she opened last year in the arts center.

Ms. Garber-Pearson — whose Web site describes her as a sculptor, video artist, and circus performer whose acts include fire eating and breathing, stilt dancing, clowning, and magic — has performed in the Infiammati Fire Circus in Minneapolis, the Dead Man’s Carnival in Milwaukee, and Flam Chen in Tucson, Ariz.

Even if her students don’t go onto a circus career, certainly after they experience flying high on silk fabric or depending upon another person during a routine, they are ready for just about anything in life.

Contact Rose Russell at: or 419-724-6178.

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