A man named Gian Carlo Menotti launched a small circus troupe in 1986. He called it Circus Flora and debuted the troupe at the 1986 Spoleto Festival USA.
Based on the overwhelmingly positive response at its debut, Artistic Director/ Producer, Ivor David Balding, along with Sheila and Sam Jewell and Alexandre Sacha Pavlata, established Circus Flora in 1987 as a permanent performing arts organization in St. Louis.
Launched as a non-profit theater company, Circus Flora specialized in an ensemble, one-ring circus – performed in a big top tent – accessible and affordable for all. This new performing arts organization set out to acquaint audiences with the joy and power of the classic, European-style circus.
Flora, for which the Circus is named, is an orphaned elephant that Balding rescued when her mother was killed by ivory poachers in Africa. For fifteen years, Flora was a beloved star of the circus. In 2000, Flora retired from stage life and currently resides in the elephant sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee.
Circus Flora has grown by leaps and bounds since its birth in 1987. Every May, audiences have flocked to the big top to see the Flying Walendas, the young performers from Circus Harmony, the horse performers, the trained dogs from Russia and visiting acts from around the world.
Our firm has been lucky enough to provide legal support on the immigration front. The first performer we helped bring to the U.S. was low wire performer Julian Posada. Then, two years ago we brought in Aerial Mirror from Chile.
This year we brought in Katerina Repponen and Pasi Nousiainen. This pair from Finland started to work together in 2010. Their passion for hand to hand acrobatics naturally brought them together.
While Pasi graduated from Circuspiloterna in Stockholm, Kate studied at Further Education Center in Lahti. They then went onto improve their technique in a one month workshop at Kiev Circus Academy.
Together, they have performed their hand to hand act and foot juggling performance in many traditional circus, variety shows, street performances and theatre production in Europe. The versatility of both artists helped them in the creation of their own 45 minutes contemporary circus show called “SUHDE”.
Since then, they have created a very new act in which they combine hand to hand and foot juggling. The originality of this new performance gave them the opportunity of working in America for companies such as Cirque Eloize. With this original act they also won a silver prize in “Golden Karl” International Circus Festival 2014.
We were lucky enough to catch Kate and Pasi’s performance last Friday night. It was amazing as Pasi lifted Kate to amazing heights and she performed amazing juggling feats with her feet. It may have been the best show that we have seen.