Circus Comes to Cherry

  • When the Circus Came to Cherry

    For spectators, the “Circus” usually conjures up fun images of silly clowns, amazing acrobats, and even elephants, but people may not be aware that circus performers are extremely dedicated masters at making every act look effortless.

    Cherry Avenue students learned this first-hand when they participated in a week-long cultural arts program, The National Circus Project, which was sponsored by the Cherry Avenue PTA upon the recommendation of Principal Dr. Lisa Ihne.

    For 25 years, National Circus Project has delivered their curriculum for circus-skills instruction and circus-education training program to schools and summer camps. With their unique program, the students don’t just watch the performers, they become the performers, by learning circus techniques that promote overall coordination and confidence.

    Practicing all week in workshops during Physical Education classes, every Cherry Avenue student from Kindergarten to Fifth-grade trained with National Circus Project from experts  Al “Renaldo” Calienes (Staff Trainer) and Liam Selvey, who taught them more than just circus acts. 

    Encouraging the students to test different skill sets, the instructors made sure there was something for everyone. No matter whether they were selected for juggling, dish spinning, balancing, stilt walking, acrobatics, or, of course, clowning, every student grew personally as he or she learned self-discipline, hand-eye coordination, self-motivation, and most importantly a positive attitude.

    Working with the professionals was an amazing opportunity thanks to the educational specialists who have linked circus-training skills with the physical education component in schools. According to their website:  “We developed a revolutionary method of diagnosing and correcting physical issues of hemispheric synchronicity and laterality, using juggling and object manipulation. And we presented circus as great way to given non-athletes a physical profile.”

    Cherry Avenue Physical Education teacher Jennifer Fee observed how beneficial the sessions were for the students. “It was very nice to have experts show the kids new skills. The instructors kept their attention, and the kids learned confidence by doing things they never thought they could do.”  

    By the end of the week all the Cherry Avenue students had enjoyed the workshops, but the Fifth-grade students showcased their newfound abilities during an evening Circus Performance (sans elephants) in the Middle School gym before a live audience of 400 guests.

    Every act was an accomplishment that amazed friends, family, and Cherry Avenue staff members who witnessed the transformation from typical student to extraordinary performer. While receiving tremendous applause from the dazzled audience was immediately gratifying, all the Cherry Avenues participants should share in the pride knowing that their new sense of achievement, which they gained through practice and persistence, was the greatest reward.

    Click on the sub folders (see left navigator bar) for more rehearsal photos and showtime photos.