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Santa dancer falls 20 feet at Beverly Center

November 29, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
One of Santa's candy cane girls slipped and fell three stories during her dance routine, and it was all caught on tape.The 26-year-old female dancer broke her wrist and pelvis. She fell during the second of five planned shows at the Beverly Center Saturday night. The remaining shows were cancelled, and shows have also been cancelled for Sunday night.

The accident happened when the aerialist was hanging upside down from a giant metal hoop and she slipped. She fell about 18 to 22 feet and landed on a video projection cube. The performers do not have nets to break a fall nor do they wear harnesses.

The woman was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center right across the street for treatment. The mall was crowded with shoppers the day after Black Friday, and Marta Correll was sitting at the Wave Restaurant, and that's when she started shooting video of the show on her cell phone camera to show her husband back home in Santa Cruz.

Correll says all of a sudden, she saw the woman fall and heard a thud when the woman landed.

"Everybody just gasped and then it was quiet. The only people who ran up to her were security guards. Everyone just stood there in disbelief and just looked at each other and everyone was just shocked," described Correll.

Correll added that when they did carry the performer out, she appeared to be okay and everybody started cheering.

The candy cane girls perform an aerial act with Hunky Santa, and this is the second year that the Beverly Center has featured aerial performers for the annual holiday show. There were no falls last year.

"It seemed really dangerous, but I've also seen other performances that didn't have nets either, so I thought they knew what they're doing," said Correll.

Hollywood Aerial Acts puts on the show, and the Beverly Center says that the company provides world-class talent for productions around the world.

The director of the show, Ray Pierce, said the young dancer has worked for him for several years, and that she is disappointed that she won't be able to perform for now.

"She slipped out of a move, and we don't know why or how, but it's an accident, and it happened. She slipped out and held on with her hands, then slowly popped her hands off of there. So she let go and dropped in what we can only describe as a text book fashion," described Pierce.

Pierce added that the dancer landed on a set piece feet-first and then rolled.

"Not only is she doing great, she's funny as can be about everything. She says, 'I think everybody else is more concerned than I am,' because she's having fun any everything and the only thing making her mad is that she's missing the show," said Pierce.

The rest of the dancers will rehearse this week with safety lines, but Pierce says that it's up to the performers if they use them or not, because some find that the safety lines hamper their routine and they'd prefer not to use them.

"Safety cords that are attached to your belt or something are very, very good for static apparatus or apparatus that doesn't swivel, but anytime it spins, the cord can actually entangle and be more dangerous if it gets wrapped around your wrist or around your neck or if its loose, it can actually be more dangerous," explained Pierce.

Some safety measures might be put in place to put the public at ease.

Performances will resume Friday at 5 p.m.


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