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Aerialist hospitalized after fall during holiday performance at Beverly Center

November 29, 2009 | 12:00 pm

Beverly Center performers

An aerialist performing during a holiday show at the Beverly Center mall was injured and hospitalized after falling to the shopping center floor, authorities said today. One witness said the performer appeared to fall about 40 feet -- from the third level of the shopping center to the first.

The 26-year-old woman slipped while she was hanging upside down from a solid metal hoop suspended from the ceiling during the finale of the show "Hunky Santa and the Candy Cane Girls," said Ray Pierce, owner of Hollywood Aerial Arts, the firm putting on the performance.

She managed to turn herself right side up before falling into a video projection cube and injuring her wrist and pelvis. She was not wearing a harness, and there were no nets to break her fall, he said.

"She's a total pro, for some reason she slipped in this one move," Pierce said.

Los Angeles firefighters responded at 6:15 p.m. Saturday to a report of a woman having fallen at the shopping center in the 8500 block of Beverly Boulevard and transported her to a local hospital.

Susan Vance, marketing and sponsorship director for the mall, called the fall an “isolated incident.”

“She’s been evaluated and is doing well,” she said. “These are all world-class performers, they do this all the time. It was a human error, basically."

Witnesses told The Times that, just after 6 p.m., the woman fell about 40 feet, from the third floor to the first floor.

She was taken out on a stretcher. When the audience saw she was smiling, they applauded.

The show, which began Friday as a holiday promotion to boost sales, features aerial performers, wearing sparkly red outfits, suspended about 80 feet up inside the mall.

Pierce said the aerialist had been with the company for five years and had performed around the globe for 15 years.

He said the firm would be reviewing tapes of the performance, which was halted after the accident.

A total of 60 performances were planned. Pierce said they would resume Friday.

--Tony Barboza

Photo: On Nov. 19, Shoppers watched a demonstration by aerialists at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times