From Our Editors
Erica Saben's passions have taken her near and far. She studied dance, political science, and Caribbean culture in Kingston, Jamaica, before returning to the United States to perform with several multicultural companies. A juggling gig in Philadelphia introduced her to two local circus experts who knew the director of Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. From this chance meeting blossomed a new chapter in her life: in addition to teaching her her big-top skills such as aerials and tightwire, they introduced her to Chinese acrobat Lin Junming, who would become her resident acrobatics coach when she founded Charm City Movement Arts.
Nestled between Canton and Brewer's Hill, the studio and performance space lets children and adults live the lives of professional circus performers without having to sneak into a tent disguised as a barrel of clown feed. Each instructor boasts experience in diverse movement backgrounds: Lin is also a member of the Fujian Acrobatics Troupe of China, and managing director Paco Fish has taken home awards in several Southern burlesque competitions. Other instructors draw from backgrounds in rock climbing, slacklining, acrobatics, and aerial work. Using this range of skills, they teach students the basics of Western and Chinese acrobatics, Broadway tap-dancing, modern dance, juggling, unicycling, and blends of clowning and burlesque. When not in class, staffers and students also hone their own chops as performers in seasonal dance and circus shows.