Friday, November 2, 2012

Don’t try this at home: New cirque training in Clearwater

Posted By and on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Has the impending arrival of Cirque du Soleil got you wondering what it takes to be one of those nimble performers?

Ever aspire to become a celebrated contortionist or spellbinding aerial dancer? Like to watch people twist and turn their bodies in disorienting and potentially traumatic ways? Or does your young son or daughter want to be a cirque performer one day?

If any of these applies, a dance/performance organization in Clearwater has expanded to offer classes on trapeze, acrobatics, Spanish web, hoop, and all the highly refined aesthetics of circus performance.

Its Cirque Training Facility celebrates its grand opening this weekend at 490 N. Belcher Road, Suites I&J, Clearwater, (corner of Belcher and Range roads, 727-222-8537) and is another in a handful of circus arts academies to open in the Bay area.

Beth Brier, artistic director for BB’s Dance & Circus Arts, says the organization is part of a “new wave” of circus schools that have sprouted up in the last 10 years. She has high hopes for the facility and what it could mean for Tampa Bay: “We want to build artists and get them hired by Cirque du Soleil.”

According to Brier, many performers in the large cirque touring companies are “Olympic champions or have been in circus their entire lives.” Her studio aims to develop the local talent pool for national success.

Brier has already trained performers. You may have seen her protégés at Casa Tina’s Mexican Restaurant in Downtown Dunedin on Saturday and Sunday nights, or at private functions and public events throughout the Bay area. Other venues have included the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Push Ultra Lounge. The professional group is known as Moving Arts of Tampa Bay .

Parents and junior acrobatic hopefuls can learn their tricks at a Holiday Cirque Intensive offered by B&B on Wed., Jan. 2, through Sat., Jan. 5. More details to come. Check the school's website at

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