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With one ankle wrapped in an elastic bandage, Elizabeth Herring stretches before practicing her routine. (Mark Schiefelbein / For the Times)
Circus performer Elizabeth Herring talks with spectators Patrick and Pam Darmody of Arnold, Mo., while their daughter Allison, 7, plays with Herring’s dog. (Mark Schiefelbein / For The Times)
WHY SHE’S DOING IT: “I’ve lived a life of adventure,” Herring says. “Why not have one more?” She will perform to Verdi’s “Rigoletto” without a safety net. (Mark Schiefelbein / For the Times)
Jack Roeback, 5, of Washington, Mo., applauds while watching Elizabeth Herring perform a trial run of her routine at the Everyday Circus inside the City Museum in downtown St. Louis, Mo. (Mark Schiefelbein / For The Times)
Trainer Donald Hughes helps Elizabeth Herring lift herself into a gymnastics ring. (Mark Schiefelbein / For the Times)
A FAMILIAR RING: Under the watchful eye of acrobat trainer Donald Hughes, Elizabeth Herring gets a feel for her routine at the St. Louis City Museum. (Mark Schiefelbein / For the Times)