FEATURED IN KCRW: An outsized aerial arts community is soaring in Santa Barbara


Two trapeze sets in Plaza Vera Cruz, a public park in Santa Barbara, are the latest examples of a thriving aerial arts community.Photo by Kathryn Barnes/KCRW.

The circus has come to town, permanently.

Plaza Vera Cruz in downtown Santa Barbara is now home to two flying trapezes, stationary swings, suspended silk ropes, juggling pins, springboards, tumbling mats, and a crew of professional aerialists. It looks like the Ringling Bros. Circus exploded and spilled into a public park, minus the elephants and flame throwers.

“It’s impossible not to see the flying trapeze rigs standing in the middle of a park. We're kind of proud about it,” says Efe Ilkay, an aerial dancer who moved from Venice Beach to help launch the Santa Barbara Trapeze Company in 2019. They received permission from the city to move from the Earl Warren Showgrounds parking lot to the grassy Plaza Vera Cruz in May.


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