The Stage Global’s outdoor performance set-up, opening January 3, 2021. (Courtesy of The Stage Global)

Second act: Circus art classes move outdoors to downtown Pomona

The Stage Global in downtown Pomona’s art colony will be taking their high-flying circus act to the streets next year, with outdoor performance classes starting Jan. 3, 2021. The studio will be offering courses in hula hooping, yoga, roller skating, and aerial and pole dancing.

The company is currently in the process of rebuilding and redesigning its brand in preparation for a new outdoor space opening up on 163 W. 2nd St. in Pomona. Its goal is to create a safe environment for people to challenge their bodies without the fear of COVID-19 being spread. Employees will be clearing space in the street for students to spread out, and setting up a 20-foot rig for aerial performances and an outdoor circus tent.

“I think going outside will let people passing by see everything about our group that makes us a community,” said the group’s head aerial dance coach, Lexi Powell. “Plus, who can walk by a giant rig and see people flying in the air without asking what’s going on?”

The Stage Global’s outdoor performance set-up, opening January 3, 2021. (Courtesy of The Stage Global)

Powell holds a background working in circus shows as a professional aerialist for five years and loves helping her students exceed their own expectations. “It’s both a pleasure and a challenge,” said Powell. “There’s a push and pull of teaching the artistry and the physicality that comes with aerial performance.”

When Powell first came across The Stage Global in 2017, she felt like she was introduced to a new side of Pomona she had never seen before. She hopes incomers enjoy a similar experience.

After temporarily halting in-person classes the second week of March because of the pandemic, The Stage Global kept business going with online courses. Its online courses have continued to be offered while planning the move outdoors. The company held pop-up classes outdoors on weekends as a way of strategizing the necessary logistics of running things outside.

The company’s founder Jehan Izhar is well aware of the risk of coronavirus being spread through fitness classes. In order to protect her students, she has ensured that surfaces are sanitized thoroughly, people wear masks, fill out health screeners, stay spaced apart and bring their own yoga mats to class.

The Stage Global founder, Jehan Ihzar (left), alongside head aerial dance coach, Lexi Powell (right). (Courtesy of The Stage Global)

Izhar has a master’s degree in kinesiology and is a certified yoga therapist with over a decade of experience as a movement coach. Her passion for performance coaching stems from her fascination with the symbolic power human movement possesses.

“Starting out in the fitness industry in my 20s, I saw the negative effects of body image,” said Izhar. “Nobody was moving their body for joy, and it was very disheartening and extremely unhealthy.”

She has made it her mission to change this culture and help conceptualize movement in a way that celebrates the human body.

The Stage Global was founded by Izhar in 2016 with the goal of building a community with circus vibes that could inspire people of all shapes and sizes to believe in themselves. She hired instructors with backgrounds in aerial performance and martial arts. Most importantly, they share Izhar’s passion for empowering students to believe in themselves.

Head aerial dance coach, Lexi Powell, performs atop her 20 ft rig. (Courtesy of The Stage Global)

Fourth-year hospitality major Amanda Arenas was thrilled to hear about the company’s outdoor classes since she engaged in gymnastic classes growing up.

“I can’t wait to check them out next year,” said Arenas. “It’s been hard to stay fit with several gyms being closed, including the one I used to go to. So, hearing about a circus coming to town that I can take classes at and feel a part of is really exciting. It’s great to actually have something to look forward to.”

Beginner classes can start anywhere from $10-20 per session, or students have the option of signing up for memberships ranging from $50-190 depending on their skill level and what classes they plan to take.

For more information on The Stage Global’s transition to outdoor classes this upcoming January, follow the company on Instagram @thestageglobal or visit its website

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