When it comes to circus, I’m like an excited kid, especially when it’s the Flying High Circus performed each spring under the big top at my alma mater, Florida State University.
People are often surprised to learn of the circus, but it is a much anticipated event at FSU. Founded in 1947, Flying High performers are students enrolled in the university. After trying out and being selected, they prepare for various circus skills that are not likely to be used after graduation.
What is amazing is that students do it all. They sew costumes, rig the equipment, set up the tent and produce lights and sound for the performances. For all of this, there is no college credit, just opportunity for a unique experience to be remembered for a long time.
There are no animal acts in the circus, but in the three rings there is some combination of aerial, juggling and high wire to name a few of the activities.
Eyes are always riveted to the flying trapeze. If memory serves me, when I was a student two guys became one of the few pairs in circus history to complete the triple somersault. Talk about bringing the house, er tent, down! Believe me, it takes a lot of nerve to even attempt a triple.
Over the years, the Flying High Circus has been featured numerous times on television, ABC World of Sport, CBS Sports Spectacular, NBC’s Real People and ESPN to name a few. It has traveled internationally, and small groups often perform at private gatherings. Additionally, the some twenty-five members of the circus conduct a summer recreation program and perform at Callaway Gardens. There is also a summer circus camp for kids at FSU.
Without question, the opportunity to perform in the Flying High Circus is one of the more unusual offered by any college. I close my eyes and memories of acrobatic trapeze, sequins and needle pricked fingers come flooding back.
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