While Ventura may not seem like an obvious destination for someone interested in studying the circus arts, AIRealistic Circus and Flying looks to change that perception. Founders Carmen and Gregg Curtis, both national champion gymnasts, have been in the cirque world for years, performing in and developing shows the world over for top-tier outfits like Cirque du Soleil, the China Olympics, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and MTV. The Curtises established AIRealistic in March of 2012 and have since been offering a wide variety of classes in cirque skills, gymnastics, AIReal Yoga™, dance, aerial arts, theater, trampoline, AIReal surf training, and more.

Like so many who end up in these parts, Carmen ticked down the list of Ventura’s most appealing qualities: “Ventura is a great and safe place to raise kids. The small beach town with a community feeling. The outdoor lifestyle, the great schools, being close to the water. We love being close to L.A. but outside of all the hustle and bustle.”

Their studio extends those same draws to the community by providing a safe, noncompetitive environment for both kids and adults to pursue their goals — no matter whether those goals are just to get in better shape, to have a little fun, or to become a professional cirque performer. Carmen noted, “Our teachers are the best in the country! Some of our teachers are from Cirque du Soleil, Broadway shows and/or national champion gymnasts. Seventy-five percent of our students come for fun, fitness and recreation, but we have many who do come who want to become a professional. We have trained many who have performed for Cirque du Soleil, Fuerza Bruta, Taylor Swift, and more.”

But can anyone just walk in off the street and get started with these forms, no matter what their age or skill level? Apparently, yes, they can. “No experience is necessary. We incorporate fitness for strength and flexibility as well as mental wellness, into all of our classes,” Carmen noted. They also build in convenience for parents. In addition to classes for the whole family, Carmen explained, “We have adult classes that run at the same time as some of our kids classes, which means parents can have their time of fitness while their kids are in class.”

AIRealistic’s other claim to fame is that it offers AIReal Yoga™, the only Yoga Alliance-certified form of aerial yoga. Through learning these skills, kids as young as 3 and 4 embody healthy principles and practices that will stay with them for life. Carmen said that, while she loves teaching at the professional level, the newbies are also really fun to work with: “Beginning artists are so excited to come and learn. I witness a huge transformation in teaching the AIReal Yoga™ classes. They practice their fitness in the air, defying gravity, moving freely and releasing fear with a deeper understanding of wellness.”

AIRealistic Circus and Flying, 4476 DuPont Court, suite B, Ventura, 628-2777. For more information, visit http://www.venturacircus.com/