Sophia Isadora Academy of Circus Arts

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An animal free circus? Well, an occasional appearance by a family pet in costume admitted Cheryl Lindley of any animals appearing in her circus infused shows. Lindley runs the Sophia Isadora Academy of Circus Arts with her husband Rogelio Lopez, and Linley Lopez Productions, located just on the outskirts of Lemon Grove.

An animal free circus? Well, an occasional appearance by a family pet in costume admitted Cheryl Lindley of any animals appearing in her circus infused shows. Lindley runs the Sophia Isadora Academy of Circus Arts with her husband Rogelio Lopez, and Linley Lopez Productions, located just on the outskirts of Lemon Grove.

“Back in the day people could only see exotic animals in the circus” explained Lindley. With the closing of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey coming-up and the closing of Big Apple Circus among others, Lindley’s version of circus, and the circus arts, is a circus waiting for the big top and perhaps the big time.

Lindley has deep East County roots having lived part-time with her father, Bob Lindley, in the Crest area of El Cajon in her youth. Bob Lindley is a former president, 1987, of the Los Ancianos Motorcycle Club. Cheryl raced a motorcycle in the area the shopping mall, Parkway Plaza, now resides on. Cheryl’s brother Ron Lindley, a current Santee resident, performs in the shows she puts on.

Her academy has approximately 50 students, ages 4-55, who participate in classes like unicycle, contortion, tightwire, chiffon, lyra, trapeze, rolling globe, and stilts to name a few.

One of Lindley’s teachers, Pietro Canestrelli, is a seventh-generation circus performer who was literally born in a caravan wagon in Italy. Locally, Canestrelli, was a headlining act in SeaWorld’s “City Streets” show.

Cheryl Lindley has explored commedia dell’arte and directed showcase productions for the Fern Street Circus. She created costumes for three shows for the San Diego Repertory Theatre, has travelled extensively performing in shows, is a teacher, and star clown for Imagination Entertainment iLCiRco. In 2007 she created a new aerial act for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Lindley has a degree in design from Alliant University (formerly known as USIU). Others may know that Oscar winning actor, Jamie Foxx, attended USIU, as well Lindley pointed out. =

Her daughter, Sadie Lindley, one of five in their combined family, is an instructor. Another instructor was a former Cirque du Soleil performer—Otgo Waller. Sadie Lindley’s partner, Garrett Allen, another teacher, won honorable mention with Sadie in a performance competition in Cuba.

“There is a lot of change going on in this art form,” Lindley acknowledged; noting even the well-known Cirque du Soleil franchise was sold to Chinese and US investors.

That said that the show must go on with Lindley explaining they performed a preshow at the Feb. 2 Circus Vargas-Steam Cirque show in Mission Bay. Additionally, they will set out for the Tucson Festival of Books March 11-12. Visit wwwsdcircusschool.com for more details.