Flying Trapeze Soars Daringly High During PIFA

3 FSCA PIFA by Rich Riggins.jpg

Fly School Circus Arts returns to the 2013 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) with “Daringly High” outdoor flying trapeze lessons and performances. Adults and children (ages 6 and up) are invited to celebrate the empowerment, confidence and freedom found in doing the unexpected.  Flying trapeze lessons run daily from Thursday, March 28 through Saturday, April 27, 2013, at 9:00am, 11:30am, 4:30pm and 7:00pm. Outdoor rigging, reaching 25 feet in the air, will be set up in the University of the Arts empty parking lot between Spruce and Pine streets. Each two hour class is geared to the individual, the first time student or the seasoned returning flyer. Fly School will end the festival on a high note with performances on Thursday, April 25 and Friday, April 26, 2013, at 8:00pm. For “Daringly High” inspiration, Fly School time travelled to 1965 when model Jean Shrimpton helped change the face of women’s fashion and challenged female roles in society.  Class reservations are on sale now for $55 each at the Kimmel Center Box Office, by calling (215) 546-PIFA or by visiting  Performance tickets and pricing will be announced in April at and on Twitter at @flyschoolcircus.

Fly School celebrates the “If You Had a Time Machine…” theme by jetting back to October 30th, 1965, when model Jean Shrimpton shocked the Australian establishment by attending Derby Day, a significant horse racing event in Melbourne, wearing a mini dress with a considerably higher hemline than was acceptable in Australian society. In doing so, she brought global attention to the fashion revolution already underway in Europe, one that was changing the landscape of women's fashion from one of maternal imitation to one of individuality, empowerment, and youthful domination.

“Daringly High encourages you to overcome challenges, fly in the face of limitations and try something you never thought possible,” said Fly School Circus Arts Executive Director Mary Kelly Rayel. “In our classes we constantly strive to give our students the feeling that they are rising above their own perceived limitations and others expectations. Our trained instructors provide a motivating and inspirational atmosphere where you can tap into your inner courage, sense of trust and attention to detail.”

During lessons, students of various ages and abilities will soar through the air on a full-scale flying rig.  Students will learn all the techniques of this art form – including take-off from the platform, the swing, the transfer to the catcher, and the drop to the net.  Classes are open to students six years old and up. The weight limit is 250 lbs. All participants will be fully harnessed in the air. Some weather conditions may be a cause for rescheduling by the instructors. Cancellation is at the discretion of the instructors.  Rescheduling, ticket exchanges and refunds will be handled by the Kimmel Center box office.

Flying trapeze lessons are $55 for a two-hour lesson.  Reservations are available at the Kimmel Center Box Office, by calling (215) 546-PIFA or by visiting

Pricing and details for flying trapeze performances will be announced in early April at and on Twitter by following @flyschoolcircus.

About Fly School Circus Arts

Fly School Circus Arts provides outdoor flying trapeze lessons in beautiful Northern Bucks County, May through June and August through October of each year.  Since its founding in 2008, Fly School Circus Arts has trained more than 500 students from Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and New Jersey. In 2008, Fly School worked with Cirque Du Jour to bring flying trapeze lessons to Camp Quality, a nationally recognized Oncology camp in Arkansas.  Since 2009, Fly School has participated in intensive aerial week at Circus Arts Camp in Westchester, NY.  In 2011, Fly School partnered with the Kimmel Center to bring flying trapeze lessons to Center City Philadelphia during the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA). Fly School Circus Arts will return to the 2013 PIFA with flying trapeze lessons and first-ever flying trapeze performances.

Fly School Circus Arts was founded by Executive Director Mary Kelly Rayel, who graduated from Ithaca College with a B.A. in Theater. Rayel is also an alumna of the former Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Clown College.  In her 20+ years of experience, she has taught and performed for Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus, Club Med and Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, among others. Performing opportunities have taken her to Puerto Rico, Mexico and all over the southern United States.  In 1998, Rayel moved back to her native Bucks County, where she began teaching gymnastics, from pre-school to coaching competitive teams. In addition to her work with Fly School Circus Arts, Rayel performs through several professional entertainment companies.

About PIFA

Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) is a month-long, city-wide arts festival that is presented by the Kimmel Center between Thursday, March 28 and April 27, 2013.  Fifty arts and cultural organizations will present multi-disciplinary artistic interpretations of new works, classical performances and exhibits.  Each project is designed to showcase innovation, collaboration and creativity. The 2013 thematic focus, “If You Had a Time Machine…” takes audiences on a journey through time to experience the convergence of art, culture and history in artistic interpretations of great, defining moments that continue to influence society today.  The inaugural 2011 PIFA, which paid homage to the artistic energy of Paris 1910-1920, attracted over 404,600 visitors to the festival’s core 135 events and 196,000 visitors to the closing Street Fair. For information, please visit