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Philadelphia School Of Circus Art Gets New Home In Former Church

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An almost 90-year-old West Mount Airy Catholic church that closed earlier this year kicks off its second act — as Home of the high wire.

St. Madeleine Sophie Church is now officially home of the Philadelphia School of Circus Art, and it’s celebrating its grand opening this weekend with free classes and tours.

Life is looking up at the circus school where students dangle upside down from silks attached to 40-foot-high ceilings.

Owners Shana and Greg Kennedy were thrilled to have been able to buy the old St. Madeline Sophie church and attached school, and the surrounding 2-acre lush campus.

Director of programming Kitsie O’Neill calls it a magical space.

“You almost have this dormitory Hogwarts feel of this stonework, there are so many windows that light fills it,” said O’Neill.

Former St. Madeline students, including one from the class 1946, are impressed with the trapeze, tight wire and juggling classes now being offered at their old school. They are now planning to hold class reunions there.

The first wedding is planned for next month with aerialists delivering a high-flying experience.

This circus hub is also toasting the first program in the nation to offer a higher ed degree in circus arts.

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