The Greatest Show Off Earth!

Detroit Flyhouse Circus School teaches kids (and adults) to channel their inner acrobat


osmala-Jackson was a Flyhouse student before becoming a teacher and performer.

 From Cirque du Soleil to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, high-flying performers have had countless audiences murmuring “I could never do that” for years. But every week, students at the Detroit Flyhouse Circus School twist their own “I could never” into “I just did” as they learn to defy gravity with classes in aerial acrobatics, trapeze, and more.

Located in Eastern Market — within walking distance of Shed 5 and the Wasserman Projects — the Flyhouse is nestled in what used to be a facility for produce vendors. Visitors enter a lime-green space equipped with lyras, trapeze bars, and other aerial apparatus hanging from its high ceilings.

Co-owners Micha Adams and Matthew Buss were both originally yoga instructors who stumbled upon the circus arts. Adams’ love for the circus led her to train with different teachers and schools around the country, who then encouraged her to start a studio of her own. 

Adams opened Flyhouse in 2008, and a year later, Buss showed up to take one of her classes. 

“After my first class I was hooked,” Buss says. “Micha and I began training together. I started teaching and performing with her shortly after, and we’ve been running the business together ever since.” 

Buss says he helps students overcome their fears and perceived limitations by showing them how accessible the circus arts can be. While some people may start off thinking that they’re too weak or that it might be too hard, he enjoys watching them become stronger, both mentally and physically.

“You will be amazed by what you can do your very first class,” Buss says. “The hardest part is being brave enough to walk through the door and try it. Everything gets easier from there.”

Flyhouse caters to a wide range of ages, but their youth education and services can make the smallest acrobats feel like a big deal. Plus it may just be the one time parents actually give kids permission to join the circus. 

“Parents can expect a welcoming atmosphere, clear instructions from teachers, and the chance for kids of all ability levels to learn something new and exciting,” says Flyhouse instructor Cortney Kosmala-Jackson. “And kids will definitely get exercise and burn off energy.” 

Kosmala-Jackson was a student at Flyhouse for two and a half years before becoming a teacher and performer. She works frequently with both adults and children, noting that the main difference is that the latter are more likely to be found jumping up and down in line saying, “I want to do that! I want to go first!” 

Special classes like circus kids camps and kids aerial samplers are offered in the summer, but regular classes — from flexibility and conditioning sessions to apparatus specialization, contortionism, hoop dancing, and partner acro yoga — are available to students of all levels of experience ages 7 and older. 

Buss says the age limit is in place in order to ensure safety. Students need to be able to understand verbal instructions, know left from right, and have strong enough motor skills to grip fabric or a trapeze bar.

“The most important part of working with kids for us is letting them know that they are in charge of what they do,” Buss says. “There is no pressure, just support and encouragement.”

​Kosmala-Jackson says she’s excited to witness the individual improvements each child is able to make.

“They build confidence, awareness of their body in space, physical strength and stability, creativity, and patience with the process of learning new skills,” she says. “They learn to trust in their abilities and are often surprised by what they can do.” 

Aerial acrobatics offers children both a physical and creative outlet. Every move is accompanied by a clever moniker that’s easy to remember. For example, flipping into an upside-down split is called a star, while arching your upper torso confidently while reaching toward the sky is called the ship’s maiden.

Buss says one thing he’s learned from working with children is that play is a vehicle for creative growth. “And it shouldn’t be abandoned because you’ve ‘grown up.’  

“Kids get enough pressure everywhere else in life,” Buss says. “At the Flyhouse, our only goal is to help them see that they can do great and amazing things and that doing those things can be fun.” 

The fun isn’t just for kids, Buss adds. “I’m so thrilled every time a student of ours, young or old, accomplishes something they never in their wildest dreams thought they could do.” 

1321 Watson St., Detroit; 313-674-6424;

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Expand Your Personal Library with These 6 Titles

New and notable reads to satisfy your inner bookworm

Add These 6 Titles to Your Summer Reading List

New and notable reads to enjoy through the season

A Look Inside Bob’s Jukebox Emporium

Morningside resident Bob Welke is the man to call for vintage music machine repairs, restorations, and more

Checking in With Electric Six

With more than 20 years in the business and 14 albums under their collective belts, a cult-favorite band rocks on

4 Years In the Making, Planet Ant's Sci-Fi Rock Opera Takes Off

Meet the costumers, composers, and performers who made it happen
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Review: Testa Barra Wows with Contemporary Dishes
    The Macomb Township restaurant serves Italian fare that is on par with the surging Detroit food...
  2. Exploring Metro Detroit’s Tiki Trend
    Mutiny Bar and Lost River serve up island vacations with every drink
  3. Michigan-Made, Mother Nature-Approved Tools for Your Kitchen
    Ditch disposables and opt for reusable products
  4. A Deeper Look into the Racial and Ethnic Tensions Dividing Metro Detroit
    From the city to the suburbs, existing segregation could be hindering the region’s progress
  5. Every Day is Throwback Thursday at This Roseville Steakhouse
    Mr. Paul's Chophouse has remained consistently delicious for more than 50 years
  6. 3 Eateries that Focus on People, Profit, and the Planet
    These triple bottom line businesses are part of Detroit’s FoodLab organization
  7. A Look at the Inexplicable Exclusion of Detroit Tigers’ Lou Whitaker from the Baseball Hall of Fame
    Writer Michael Betzhold investigates the Major League slip-up
  8. Q&A: Nancy Barr, Curator of Photography at the Detroit Institute of Arts
    Plus, information about the DIA’s upcoming exhibit, Lost & Found
  9. This Vegan Catering Company Celebrates the ‘Natural Beauty of Food’
    Plus, tips on how to create your own photo-worthy grazing board
  10. Your Guide to Environmentally Friendly Organizations in Metro Detroit
    These 10 local businesses are paving the way for a healthier and happier planet