The Joy of Teaching Circus Arts

Some people may think that the circus is a dying form of entertainment. But I am here to tell you that it is alive and well. Despite the recent closing of the legendary Ringling Brothers circus show, other iterations of the circus are on the rise. And the younger generation is picking up on this, opting to put their iPhones down and pick up some juggling props or hang from fabric silks attached to the ceiling. The circus is, and always will be, fun. The circus somehow connects to something deep in our souls, both as performers and as audience, that there is something such as wonder and amazement in the universe. And we can participate in that wonder by performing everything from ridiculous comedy to death-defying human feats.

Because the circus is bigger than any one person or performer, it is a joy to pass this legacy on to the next generation. We are just pilgrims in this world – and the art and culture we create is part of a larger story that strings from one century to the next. The circus arts were passed on to me from those who have gone before me and now I get to pass it on to those who will be here after me.

For the past two weeks, I was the juggling instructor at the second annual Circus Arts Camp in Richmond, VA (the only one of its kind in Virginia). Geared towards youth between the ages of 9-15, this camp teaches kids the skills of juggling, clowning, drama, silks, puppetry, hooping, stilt-walking, and more. I teamed up with other circus artists in Richmond (such as Heidi Rugg, Christopher Hudert, Magnolia Ocasio, and Heather Bailey) and we worked at transferring our skills to a new generation of circus performers.

Without further ado, I would like to show you some video clips and pictures of the campers doing what they do best – the circus! They may not have run away with the circus in a literal sense, but for two weeks, they did so with their hearts. I’m so proud of these young people!

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Jesse

Jesse Joyner travels nationwide performing a comedy juggling act for family and kids events. He is also working towards his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL). He enjoys playing the piano, bird watching, and old houses. He lives in Richmond, VA with his wife, Sarah, and their daughter, Kezzie.

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