When Maggie Julian gets in a twist about complex assignments in her applied mathematics major, the Florida Polytechnic University student knows the perfect way to unwind and refocus her mind.
Julian, a rising sophomore from New Port Richey, Florida, is an accomplished aerialist. She has been training for six years and performs professionally.
“It’s a feeling of freedom – I don’t know how else to explain it,” Julian said. “There’s nothing quite like it.”
When she was 11 years old, Julian saw an aerial performer at Busch Gardens and immediately felt the sport was for her. For her 12th birthday, Julian asked to attend one-week circus camp.
She never looked back.
“That one week turned into three weeks, which turned into six years of circus,” Julian said. “I absolutely fell in love with circus the second I tried it.”
Today, Julian is fearless in her performance. Suspended high in the air by long strips of silk, straps, metal hoops, or a trapeze, she gracefully stretches and moves her body, entrancing audiences across Central Florida.
Her most recent professional performance was at a restaurant in Dunedin, Florida.
“It’s cool to perform because you almost forget that you’re performing,” Julian said. “You still get those butterflies in your stomach before you walk out, but it’s liberating at the same time. It’s sharing your favorite skills and what you love to do.”
At her peak, Julian trained for six hours a day, four days a week. She has slowed the pace of her training and performances while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics as she works to become an entrepreneur one day.
“I really like engineering and wanted to get a background in it, and it’s why I chose this school,” she said.
Julian has been able to balance her academic work with her passion for circus, and still heads to her gym regularly to stay in shape and learn new skills. She recently began learning how to use the flying pole, which is a vertical pole suspended high in the air.
“I’m very much head over heels for circus,” she said.
Director of Communications