Baltimore loves Circus. There is no doubt about it. When Erica Saben moved to Highlandtown towards the end of last year, she did so with the goal of creating a center for professional circus training for those who wanted to learn the art of circus, but may not be able to run away with it.
Charm City Movement Arts opened its doors in October 2011, just a few blocks away from the Creative Alliance in the Highlandtown Arts District. Saben moved from Philadelphia, where she was a teacher the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, which opened in early 2008. She came to Baltimore when she realized that although there is a thriving underground arts scene, and various circus style classes here and there, the city lacked a centralized place for people of all ages to get circus and dance training.
The school offers such programming seven days a week. From Tightrope to Juggling to Contortion and Acrobatics, there is literally something for everyone looking to dabble or improve their circus skills. The school also offers a variety of dance classes, including tap, Jazz, Ballet and Social Dance, for those who are looking to learn to move.
With international teachers with extensive circus training, the school has a strict curriculum, and demands a lot of its students. But no one ever said that circus was easy! “We expect a lot from our students an in turn give them all of the knowledge we have to offer” says Saben.
The space which the school calls home is intimate and regularly fills its walls with the work of local artists. Presently on display is the work of Russian born Elena Cheney. Saben, who lives above the space, works consistently, as she must not only serve as an instructor, but also has to run the business, which entails maintaining schedules, managing registration, and regularly fielding questions from students, parents, prospective circus folk. What Weekly Fan Favorite Paco Fish also helps out at the studio with the day to day operations.
We were fortunate to be able to catch last weekends Student Showcase, where a variety of student’s from last semester presented a group show, transforming the studio into a showroom, sharing with the public some of the skills learned over the last semester of classes.
The latest semester began on Monday, but I am enthusiastically informed that there is still room in many of the classes, and late registration is always welcome.
So, Baltimore, if you have long lost dreams to run away and join the circus, Charm City Movement Arts may just be the best place in town to start honing your skills. Even if you’re just looking to step out of your comfort zone and try something new this could be your chance!.
For more information, or to view the current schedule of classes, please visit charmcitymovement.com