NBC

Acrobat with local roots performs on “America’s Got Talent”

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

James Heugh returned from a backpack trip around the world and headed to Los Angeles.

That relocation ended up with him making an appearance on an NBC broadcast of “America’s Got Talent.”

Heugh, 26, was born and raised in Amherstburg but now lives in Los Angeles and is part of the Acro Army group which performed on “America’s Got Talent.” Heugh and the rest of his acrobat colleagues were seen on the show that was broadcast Dec. 19.

James Heugh is part of the Acro Army acrobat group that appeared on the Dec. 19 episode of the NBC show “America’s Got Talent.” Heugh is originally from Amherstburg but now resides in Los Angeles. (Photo contributed by James Heugh)

James Heugh is part of the Acro Army acrobat group that appeared on the Dec. 19 episode of the NBC show “America’s Got Talent.” Heugh is originally from Amherstburg but now resides in Los Angeles. (Photo contributed by James Heugh)

“They hired Acro Army for the Christmas show,” said Heugh, explaining the group had already been on the show and was brought back for the Christmas episode.

“The production of the show is absolutely incredible,” said Heugh. “It was really a special experience.”

Heugh moved to L.A. after returning from the backpack trip. He was living in a van before getting an opportunity with Acro Army, an opportunity that arose after the partner he was training with let him know about it.

“The choreographer of the group decided he liked me and hired me on full-time,” said Heugh.

Acro Army trains in Redlands, California, which Heugh states is roughly 80 miles east of Los Angeles. While he has 160 miles of round-trip driving to do every training day, he said the move to California is “the best decision I’ve ever made for myself.

“I couldn’t think of a better situation,” he said. “I need to live around palm trees. I’m not a big fan of snow.”

Before his move west, Heugh worked at Maximum Training Centre in Windsor. He had been training in mixed martial arts (MMA) for six days a week but an injury forced him down a different career path. The Sky Society, an aerial dance and acrobatic group, rented space at the centre and Heugh got involved after they asked if he was interested.

It became a passion and he pointed out that “it’s not a hobby,” as he now trains 20-25 hours per week. It is something he has quickly grown to love.

“It makes you feel like you’ve never worked a day in your life,” he said.

Heugh added that he moved to Los Angeles without many plans.

“I just go with the flow,” he said. “Opportunity finds you when you work hard.”

Heugh added the group has “lots of plans for 2017, I’m told” and is appreciative of the support he has received from his hometown of Amherstburg and the area in general. He organized a Christmas party in Windsor where hundreds of items were raised for area food banks, including the Amherstburg Food Bank.

James Heugh (bottom) recently appeared on the NBC television show “America’s Got Talent.” The Christmas episode aired Dec. 19.

James Heugh (bottom) recently appeared on the NBC television show “America’s Got Talent.” The Christmas episode aired Dec. 19. (Photo contributed by James Heugh)

“The amount of support I’ve gotten from my hometown is pretty crazy,” he said.

His mother Ingrid said the episode of “America’s Got Talent” turned into a special occasion at their Amherstburg home.

“It’s been awesome. We had the whole family here (Dec. 19) cheering him on,” she said.

Ingrid, a retired Amherstburg Public School teacher, said several of the school’s students also went to the Christmas party.

While he is now back in California, Ingrid said they miss him but still greatly support his efforts.

“All a parent wants is for their child to be happy,” she said. “I truly know he is happy there. What more could you ask for?”