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Meet Florida State Flying High Circus Alumni Rachel Hutinger

Florida State University’s (FSU) Flying High Circus has been flying high for 75 years, and it doesn’t seem to be descending anytime soon. Since it was first founded in 1947, the Flying High Circus has captivated audiences with its spellbinding airborne tricks and astounding performances. The shows aren’t just cathartic for their audiences, they’re also transformative for the lives and careers of their performers. Lucky for me, I got to chat a little bit with Florida State and Flying High Circus alumni Rachel Hutinger. In her time with the Flying High Circus, Hutinger not only made invaluable and unforgettable memories, but she was also able to take what she learned and make it into a career. Since she graduated back in 2012, Hutinger has gone on to become a professional circus performer and has been for the last 10 years.

“My experience with Flying High Circus was life-changing,” she said. “[I made] lifelong friendships and [learned] all kinds of life lessons such as work, determination, self-discipline and patience.”

However, the circus was ingrained in Hutinger long before her days at Florida State. Hutinger says her parents did circus at Illinois State University and then some professional gigs here and there until she and her brother were born.

“I knew about the circus and performing from a young age. I began gymnastics at age six and continued until I was 18,” she said. “Then, during my time at FSU, our flying trapeze coach Nate Stapp was in contact with someone who was looking for people for a troupe in Circus Reno and he asked if I was interested in the job!”

When asked what she learned in her time at the Flying High Circus, Hutinger listed countless techniques and skills such as the Spanish web, the swinging trapeze, the flying trapeze and more. However, it was her team that was such a significant and unforgettable part of her experience.

Hutinger said, “I learned so many things, it would take a book to tell… Working with a team, trusting people with your life and most importantly, I learned that being part of a circus is being part of a big family.”

However, at the end of the day, what Hutinger loves most about what she does is performing. She explained, “It’s a fantastic feeling of flying through the air and then styling to the audience! I also love traveling from town to town and getting to see the world!”

Circus Reno was Hutinger’s first job out of college, and without the Flying High Circus, she claims none of it would have been possible. Not long after, Hutinger came across advertisements for the Flying Cortes Troupe and has been with them since. Since joining the Cortes, she has performed all over the United States as well as in Canada, Holland, France and Germany.

“My time at FSU made my career possible. I learned tricks, rigging and general knowledge that made me able to work in a professional circus setting,” she said.

She advises those interested in getting into the business to never give up. They need to keep learning and always have a positive attitude. Hutinger said, “And remember, pointed toes and straight legs are super important!”

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Jillian is currently attending Florida State University and majoring in editing, writing, and media and is going to double major with media communications. Her interests include reading, movies/tv shows, music, writing, and more! She loves Taylor Swift and Ben Platt and loves Her Campus! Contact: Instagram: jilliankaplann Snapchat: jilly.bean4eva
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