The one and only company in the country with professional child aerialists is movin’ on up! From their humbler beginnings in Montreal, Canada, to their intimate studio in Santa Monica, Le Studio is trying out Culver City for size.

Nathalie Gaulthier Productions offers instruction and mentoring for aerial students and acrobatic performers. Gaulthier prides herself on the fact that her private school is the only program in the country that does musical theater with aerials.

“It’s like Cirque du Soleil meets Broadway,” says Gaulthier. “That’s exactly what we are, and that makes for an incredible production.”

Although Gaulthier had plans for about a year to move somewhere more spacious, the actual construction took an astonishing three weeks. The studio was then painted and ready for viewing over a five-day period.

The move to Culver City was celebrated with a huge grand opening celebration on June 12. The stilt walkers, child and adult aerialists and Cirque bar all made for an unforgettable evening.  

Gaulthier has witnessed the increasing popularity of aerialists, but is determined to one-up her competition.  

“Every party you go to, you see a woman on stilts. But you’re not going to see a 6- to 12-year-old perform,” says Gaulthier. “I’m not talking about tucking their little knee in. I’m talking about an actual performance. It’s polished.”

Equally impressive as the young child aerialists were the award-winning Silk Sisters on the Cirque bar. Buffy Hornung and Ninette Terhart served wine to grand opening attendees. But shockingly they weren’t behind a bar. They were hanging from the ceiling upside down.

After watching the Silk Sisters dangle there, pouring wine without spilling a drop, you can’t help but wonder if you’ve had one too many drinks. It’s a sight worth seeing, plus they’re pouring you a drink. Win-win.

The ladies can hang wrong side up for 20 minutes before rotating out bartenders.  

The Silk Sisters’ sculpted bodies visibly convey just how physically demanding the aerial work is. They typically train about five days a week, and that beats a Carmen Electra workout DVD any day.

“We don’t go to the gym or anything like that,” says Hornung with a laugh.

New beginnings for Le Studio unfortunately means leaving a handful of great memories behind at their former Santa Monica studio. One of Gaulthier’s fondest recollections from the old studio is the sleepovers. The kids would do trapeze in their pajamas and stay up and watch movies afterward.

“There’s a lot of history in there,” recalls Gaulthier.  

Although there were plenty of fun times, the awkward situations practically outweighed the nostalgia.

“People were training and kicking each other in the head we were so close together,” says Gaulthier.  

Her anticipation is overwhelming at the idea of the new location allowing not only more space, but also more room for taking on more students.  

“It’s not a place for everybody,” warns Gaulthier. “It’s really a family community, so we’re really strict with who gets in.”

The school is comprised of an A-Team (professionally working teens), B-Team (non-pros) and a kinder program (3- to 5-year-olds).

Among the family is 7-year-old B-teamer Talia Mainwaring. She’s planning early for her career as an aerialist.

“I want to do this when I’m older,” says Mainwaring. “I feel I can express my feelings here, and I feel really open. It’s really fun, and I just really like it.”

After recently closing their Cirque-style performance of Alice in Wonderland, Le Studio face preparations for their next annual musical. According to Gaulthier, the company takes nine months to put together the show that takes place every May.

Gaulthier has an impressive resume, to say the least, in both Canada and the States. She recently served as the circus consultant/coordinator for NBC’s drama “The Cape.” Also, she’s an actor, gymnast and talent agent. As a jack-of-all-trades in the entertainment industry, Gaulthier truly thrives knowing she has fulfilled her lifelong dream of owning her own studio.

“I’m just in love with it. I’m really excited to be in Culver City because it sounds like a place full of arts and culture,” Gaulthier boasts. “And I think that’s where I was meant to end up, so I’m really excited about it.”



For more information, call (310) 855-4353 or visit LeStudioLA.com.