BY RACHEL GLAGO
“I’m 48 and I’m learning how to do a back handspring,” says Bloomington resident Marielle Abell.
Abell is learning her new skill at Stage Flight Circus Arts on Industrial Park Drive.
Clint and Hannah Bobzein, the owners of Stage Flight, are professional circus artists. After years of international touring, they settled in Bloomington in 2014. The next year they opened Stage Flight in a barn on Lake Monroe. They started by offering open-gym sessions, later adding classes in the circus arts. They soon had 30 students. In January 2017 they relocated to a west-side warehouse where they now teach more than 80 students of all ages and experience levels.
Originally from Bloomington, Clint and Hannah, both 37, were teenage sweethearts at Bloomington High School North. Clint focused on soccer and track, and Hannah was on the diving team. To get her attention, Clint decided to become a diver, too. “I was totally afraid of heights,” he says. “But I knew if I ever wanted to date her, I had to do it.” Years later, he was on the high-flying trapeze, performing around the world with his wife.
Hannah was practically born into circus arts. Her mother, a competitive trampoline artist, gymnast, and diver, introduced Hannah to trampoline at age 3. When she was 10, Hannah joined Bernadette Pace’s High Flyers, a local team of circus artists.
“I was way too shy to be performing,” Hannah says. “I would do my tricks and hide my head immediately.” Today, she teaches kids and adults to overcome their own stage fright.
Abell and her husband, Gregory Burdulis, 59, began studying with Stage Flight at the Lake Monroe barn. “It was a good way to explore the apparatus,” Abell says. “Then we started taking their adult class.” Circus arts training is now a regular part of their schedule. “It’s like date night—but with trampolines,” she says.
Students are now in rehearsal for the Stage Flight annual showcase. This year’s show, May 25 and 26 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, features 30 performers and has a jungle theme.
For more information, visit stageflightcircusarts.com.
To view images from Stage Flight’s 2017 showcase at the Buskirk-Chumley, view the gallery below by clicking the arrows on either side of the photo to navigate forward or backward. All photos were taken by Rodney Margison.