A world-renowned tightrope legend, Ariana Wunderle ’26 views walking the wire as a state of mind. You keep your eyes fixed on your goal. But you also “kind of let go.”
“It’s just peaceful and soft. You feel yourself taking the time to experience your body on the wire and moving with the air,” explained Ariana, who broke a world record during her senior year of high school when she walked across 639 feet of wire in four-inch stilettos.
It was a feat she accomplished for her senior project—and through it, she raised funds for Circus Smirkus, a nonprofit circus she had performed with in Greensboro, Vermont, since the age of two. “I would not be who I am right now if it wasn’t for the circus,” she said.
When Ariana was looking at colleges, she focused on two criteria—a college near a circus and an “undecided” program that would provide her with the space, time, and support she needed to explore her future. She was drawn to Ithaca College’s Exploratory Program.