SARASOTA - Sailor Circus is one of the treasures that makes Sarasota the unique place it is. It's a circus arts program open to all Sarasota County students from 4th grade to 12th.
The spring show, called Let the Music Move You, opens Thursday and runs through Saturday this weekend, and Wednesday through Saturday next weekend.
"Every act represents a different genre of music, so we have anything from rock and roll, country, the opera, and best of all, the Sailor Circus band," says program director Susan Loeffler.
These students perform the same tricks you see in a professional circus. "You are going to see anything from high wire, the flying trapeze, aerial silks, juggling, clowns."
Some acts require a lot of courage. You’ll see kids as young as 9 years old scamper all the way to the top of the arena and do amazing things.
And these acts have gotten even more spectacular since Circus Sarasota took over. "With having professional circus artists teach, the safety factor is very secure. And also a lot of new and excitement elements…for example, one day you might see a triple somersault on the flying trapeze. We’re really aiming for the top," says Circus Sarasota founder Pedro Reis.
Speaking of the top, that's where you'll spot trapeze artist Bailey Yelding-Sloan, and you’ll also see her in the opening of the show. "It's very nerve-racking to be the first one out on the floor and have to open the show with the first lines. It’s a lot of butterflies, but once show gets started, then I’m as calm as can be."
Elani Smith is also calm up there...and having the time of her life. "Performing for me is like…getting myself a place on the planet, I guess, or on Earth. And it's letting me come out of my personal shell. There really is no other place I feel more comfortable than at circus. And when the lights come on it feels like a shedding of skin, basically."
And the basic life lesson she's learned in Sailor Circus that she can share with the rest of us? "I wasn't so good starting off, but after a while I got hang of it and I haven’t quit since. And I'm very proud of myself for not quitting."
So next time you have trouble with a new challenge, remember Elani. She's flying high now.