Inglewood circus studio fights to stay open amid pandemic

A circus troupe in Inglewood is on the verge of losing its studio in Inglewood and is working to try and gain community support.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- A circus training program for kids is on the verge of losing its studio in Inglewood. Now, CEO and founder Nathalie Yves Gaulthier, is asking the community for support.

Le Petit Cirque trains kids ages six to 14 on circus arts, music, dance and more.

"Le Petit Cirque is I would say a kind of like a junior version of Cirque du Soleil," Gaulthier said.

Gaulthier said Le Petit Cirque was her childhood dream. She said they've performed all over the world and before the pandemic the company was fully booked for performances, but since the pandemic, there's been cancellation after cancellation and now her company is at stake.

"It's been my dream since I'm just a kid," Gaulthier said. "So, then the pandemic hit, and then everything disappeared and I'm losing my studio. So, I'm going do whatever it takes to keep it."

Along with trying to raise money through fundraisers online, Gaulthier said she's been putting out ads for other business owners to come and rent out her space.

"I have plenty of room for any dance, yoga, circus anybody to share," Gaulthier said. "We have to all help each other right now. That's what it's about. We have to help each other."

A parent of one of the performers, Diane Buck, said she's seen how hard Gaulthier is working to keep the studio open.

"Nat has done an amazing job of trying to raise awareness," Buck said. "I mean, we certainly try and raise awareness where we can, but money is tight everywhere."

Although the troupe is audition-based and doesn't usually offer classes, Gaulthier said they've also recently started offering online training for supplemental income.

"People have all sort of really responded to the fact that this might be taken away," said parent Brigitte Baker said. "Anyone who's seen a show realizes how magical it is"

Although the pandemic has made things difficult, the group said its going to try and keep the magic alive as much as possible.

"Most of our training has become outdoors since the pandemic and we also can't really do acts with people that aren't in your family," said performer Brooklyn Baker. "So, it's mostly solos. But then since I have two sisters here, I can do acts with them."

"Things like a pandemic and really scary things that are happening in the world bring everybody closer together," said performer Lila Woodard. "Even though we have to be farther apart than we usually are, we just have so much fun when we're here because we can still see each other and work together as safe as possible."

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