Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay Wanna get those kids out of the house, off the phone and into something good for them?… That maybe, just maybe, they’ll love? Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay is here to provide community, purpose and exposure to dance and acrobatic skills for your kids, and possibly you, Mom or Dad. Hey, it could happen… Surely you remember, as a kid, wanting to run away to the circus?….. Well, actually me neither, but I did love the Disney movie – Toby Tyler and I used to fantasize about being that girl on the flying trapeze; come to think of it I also wanted to be one of the Rockettes, kicking up my fishnets with a feather boa but,…………. never mind that. How did we get on that subject anyway? Well, today, if you or I wanted to run away to the circus, we wouldn’t have to because the circus has come to us– at least the means of getting there as a performer. Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay, off of Belcher Rd. in Clearwater is the brainchild and long-time passion of dancer Beth Briar. Originally from New York City, where she had a career as a professional dancer, Beth and her husband Marcello moved here over 15 years ago and soon started BBs Dance Factory. From its early beginnings it offered a safe and welcoming atmosphere with the goal of ensuring that a child, who worked hard and had the desire, would be able to realize their dream of becoming a professional dancer. For those that had less lofty goals, it became a second home, a social hub to share time and rejoice in the art of movement. It still is that hub, but since it’s humble beginnings, BBs has become Dance and Circus Arts and now offers its students a wide curriculum of circus related skills as well as dance. Its instructors have been trained by some of the finest in the business and it’s not unusual to have performers from Cirque Du Soleil drop by to visit or give a seminar (Yes, name dropping intended). In addition, Beth explains that they are the first circus arts school in the country to be certified by the American Circus Educators Association (Bet you didn’t know there was such a thing, did you? )for their safety procedures and policy. Beth has been a personal friend of mine for many years but I’d never visited her school until recently (see first line in second paragraph) mostly because I’ve been busy selling houses and doing stuff that life demands that isn’t dance. But, the other day, I happened to get the grand tour through the school, with its many studios and specialized equipment. I was blown away. It was something akin to suddenly realizing that Clark Kent, behind those horn-rimmed glasses, might actually be Superman, and I, Jimmy Olson, never suspected! “So, Mr. Kent, you say you fly. What airline do you generally take?” When I reflected on my visit, I realized what a BIG DEAL this school is for the area. This is, after all, Clearwater. Now, before your Pinellas pride starts to grow fangs, I mean only that when people think of this area they mostly think of blue-green water, palm trees, fishing and Spring training, or for those visiting in the winter, not having to shovel their driveways. I don’t know of many people whose first thought was that it offers a world-class school for circus arts, (unless, of course, they know about Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay) So, if your son or daughter, or for that matter, you, have ever had the urge to dance or if you’ve thought about finding a really great group that would offer not only a variety of lessons but a real “community,” this is it, your home away from home. Oh, and just between you and me (well, actually, probably anyone else reading this) I can think of no one more suited than Beth to administer a school for dance and circus arts and to teach budding artists. Competent, firm, but with a personality that makes you feel like you’re in step with Mary Poppins, she makes this a magical place to be part of!