On 90th birthday, aerialist takes final swing on trapeze

On 90th birthday, aerialist takes final swing on trapeze at City Museum
Written by Vertical Wise

Aerial performer Elizabeth “Bunny” Herring celebrated her 90th birthday in a farewell act to a decade of trapeze performing with a dazzling number at the City Museum on Friday.

The final swing on trapeze

A group of talented, charismatic children performed daring stunts before Herring graced the stage dressed in a sparkly red leotard and matching fishnet stockings. She was greeted with cheers and applause from the audience of about 50 as she approached the trapeze.

“I was laughing the whole time,” said Herring after her performance. “It was wonderful.”

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The story

The former ballet sensation started performing as an aerialist in St. Louis 10 years ago, training with Circus Harmony in a number of high-flying acts including aerial hoop, single trapeze and flying trapeze.

“Bunny is an inspiration. She has a fiery spirit and so much grace from her training in classical ballet,” said Herring’s coach, Colleen McIntee.

On 90th birthday, aerialist takes final swing on trapeze at City Museum

Breaking away from tradition as a young debutante from a well-to-do St. Louis family, Herring made headlines in the Post-Dispatch in 1948 when she left the American School of Ballet in New York to join Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus.

As Herring showcased her flexibility atop the trapeze on Friday, a man in the crowd yelled, “beautiful!” The sentiment in his exclamation was shared by many in the crowd who said they were in awe of Herring’s abilities.

Aarya Locker, a teacher at Prison Performance Arts, brought her 3-year-old to watch Herring swing without inhibition from the trapeze.

On 90th birthday, aerialist takes final swing on trapeze at City Museum

“She said to me, ‘Mommy, I want to do real circus,’” Locker said of her daughter, whose face lit up at the suggestion of learning to fly like Herring.

Herring said performing is one of her passions, but another is working with troubled youth.

“I work at a juvenile detention. That’s my real calling. I love performing, but I also love working with those kids. When I work with them, I show them someone cares,” she said.

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Herring’s vibrant career is in no way coming to halt. She said she’s thinking about writing a second book to follow her autobiography, “Still Swinging in Wonderland.”

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Vertical Wise

The international website working to support and spread the word about the pole and aerial fitness

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