An acrobat, a juggler and a justice of the peace

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PORTLAND, Maine — An acrobat and a juggler join the circus, and run away with each other.

Chloe Walier and Thom Wall met in 2011 at New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro Vt. Though they trained in the same studios, they rarely had the occasion to talk — such is the life of an aerial acrobat and a juggler. When Wall returned from a New Zealand tour with Cirque du Soleil's "Totem," he asked Walier to develop an adagio act together.

Since then, they've followed each other around the globe as they perform and coach together.

Walier clocked 67,000 miles on airplanes as she visited Wall in Japan last year. They've taught workshops and performed at circus festivals in Mexico together, as well as events in New England and the Midwest. Walier is an aerial coach for Vermont's Circus Smirkus, where Wall stopped by this year to talk with the jugglers — and more importantly propose to his new bride.

"It's difficult to find someone who really understands the circus lifestyle," said Wall, "Chloe gets it. She's my best friend, an amazing acrobatic partner, and a wonderful person with a huge smile and beautiful presence."

They were married at Circus Maine on Nov. 4 — a huge event with a 10-piece "standing" marching band, a potluck supper (smart choice when your network includes local favorites like Popolo restaurant in Bellows Falls) and some 200 circus artists from New England and beyond in attendance. The guests were all dressed in their circus best — a quick scan of the room showed celebrants in velvet tuxedos, plaid suits, sequins and dresses fit for any stage.

"It was the circus networking event of the year!" said Fritz Grobe, chairman of the board of the Celebration Barn. "Thom and Chloe are two of the best. Them being together just makes sense."

The wedding was officiated by Keith "Bindlestiff" Nelson, director of New York's Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Many coaches from NECCA were in attendance, though Elsie and Serenity Smith — artistic directors of the school — were unable to attend. They were performing at an event in Vermont and sent their well-wishes from backstage.

As the evening wound down, someone produced a suitcase full of juggling batons and the crowd was treated to a brief exhibition by the bridegroom and members of his university juggling club, who had flown in from across the United States for the occasion. As many batons were in the air as they were on the ground, "It's hard to juggle with tears of joy in your eyes," Wall said.

Husband and wife are travelling together, as Wall performs with "Totem" on its European tour. The show is now in Madrid, Spain.

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