Juniors Callie Hummel and Natalie Larsen choose hoops over high heels


Courtesy of Callie Hummel

Making her way into the splits on silks, junior Callie Hummel begins to pose for the circus class. Circus Harmony at the City Museum offers classes between practices and performances. “We tried a hoop first that was hanging down from the ceiling, and then we did silks,” Hummel said. “It was something different and really fun.”

On Prom night, many students make their way to the dance floor and hang out with friends. For juniors Callie Hummel and Natalie Larsen, their night was spent making their way across tightropes and hanging on silks at a circus skills workshop.

“My mom was talking to me about going to Prom, and I didn’t really want to. I’m not big on dressing up, and it was the week before Advanced Placement (AP) tests, so I knew I’d be stressed out,” Hummel said. “She said I should do something fun since I didn’t want to go to Prom.”

After scrolling through Instagram, Hummel came across an advertisement for a trapeze class at the City Museum and suggested the idea to her mom, who agreed.

“We made the reservation, then Natalie came up to me and said, ‘I’m not going to Prom; can I go trapezing with you?,’ and so we added one more person,” Hummel said.

The classes are put on by Circus Harmony, a non-profit circus organization located on the third floor of the City Museum.

“We tried a bunch of different circus things, like aerial silks, trapeze and tightrope walking,” Larsen said.

Members of the St. Louis Arches, a pre-professional circus troupe, teach classes for the community in addition to their own practices and performances.

Courtesy of Maggie Lyerla
Sending her friends juniors Maya Hassan and Maggie Lyerla off to Prom, junior Callie Hummel instead attends a trapeze class at the City Museum. Hummel decided not to attend Prom this year because of its proximity to AP tests. “People get really stressed out before Prom, and I just wanted to do something fun,” Hummel said.

“First, we watched somebody else perform, and it was really intimidating because their arms were huge–they were so strong and flexible,” Hummel said.

Once Larsen and Hummel got the basics, they were able to learn about more challenging techniques.

“We spent a little bit of time learning how to get on to [the silks] because it takes a lot of arm strength to lift yourself,” Larsen said. “We worked on a lot in terms of speed and spinning. At one point, we were in the splits. Then we curled into a ball and learned to spin faster or slower.”

Larsen’s background in dance allowed for some of the skillwork to come easier to her, and she is now interested in strengthening her skills.

“I definitely would take more classes,” Larsen said. “I think this year, I’m going to do [trapeze classes] more instead of Poms.”

While Hummel and Larsen plan on attending Prom their senior year, they were excited to have had the opportunity to learn something new.

“It was fun to do something with just the two of us rather than a big dance,” Larsen said. “It was fun to be able to do something different and was more exciting than a dance.”