Meet the 2017 Big Top Tour Troupers!

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GIRLS

Alexa Wang
Anna Zuckerman
Ariana Wunderle
Cheya Potter
Eva Lou Rhinelander
Hannah Grove
Ilse Bryan
Isabella Majzun
Jeannette Oubre
Laska Lèonard
Leah Zuckerman
Lola Picayo
Lucia Mason
Maedya Kojis
Saffi Watson
Sarah Norden
Serafina Walker

BOYS
Aaron Schondorf
Andrew Kaefer
Ben Kaufman
Chase Levy
Dylan Biedrzycki
Graham Reicher
Jack Miron
Keiran Sass
Liam Ryan-O’Flaherty
Nemo Mass
Patrick Chikoloma
Sam Landa
William Borges

Facts about this years troupe:

  • There are 22 returning troupers (in bold)  and 8 new troupers.
  • 17 Girls and 13 Boys
  • The troupers reside from the following United States (CA, IL, MA, ME, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VA, VT, and WA) and internationally (Zambia and Canada)
  • Ages ranging from age 12-18

Congratulations to all! The 2017 Big Top Tour route will be announced shortly!

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2017 Smirkus Camp Scholarships

2017 Smirkus Camp Scholarships are now open! Please click here to be directed to the application link.

Important information:

  • Applications must sign up by January 20th in order to not have to pay the $500 deposit on 1/25.
  • The final deadline for submitting your 2017 scholarship application is February 4th, 2017.
  • Applicants will be notified of their scholarship award by March 3rd, 2017.

 

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Questions? Please email Bill or Allie at camp@smirkus.org.

See you on Breezy Avenue!

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Jackie Davis, volunteer extraordinaire!

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With Ringmaster Residencies, Circus Smirkus joins students in the classroom with an artist-in-residency program that enlivens the classroom with the magic and joy of the circus while using the “CircusSecrets” to teach kids important life skills. These strategies are helping kids to develop their self-awareness and interpersonal relationships within the teaching framework of Social and Emotional Learning, or SEL for short. Educational researchers have shown that improvements in SEL are correlated with increased  engagement and improved performance in the classroom.

In partnership with Cirque du Soleil and the American Youth Circus Organization, we’re working on a study to demonstrate the impact of SEL. And we’re doing that right here in our hometown of Greensboro, Vermont with a year-long residency and study at Lakeview Elementary hosted by none other than the extraordinary Jackie Davis.

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Jackie has been an incredible driving force in making sure that a Smirkus Residency can change kids’ lives, even over the course or a week or two. With her late husband Rick Davis, she developed the initial CircusSecrets framework and has continued to revise it, informed by the very research she has conducted in exploring the deep connections between the circus arts and SEL.

As the news gets out about our new approach to circus arts education – and its impact on students, both in and out of the classroom – we’ve been getting more and more inquiries from schools that want to both infuse their classes with the joy and wonder that the circus brings and also help their kids to develop these critical life skills. We’re hoping that by publishing the findings of this study, that we can expand the CircusSecrets throughout the region (and beyond!), benefitting Circus Smirkus for years to come.

Ringmaster Residencies have been a point of entry into the magical carousel of the circus for thousands of kids. Once seeing the wonder and feeling the joy of a space where everyone can succeed, many continue their exploration by developing their skills at Smirkus Camp. Some of these passionate kids eventually make their way to the Big Top Tour, where they reach new audiences of kids who – until then – had never dreamed of running away with the circus.

And you can bring a Ringmaster Residency program to your school, too! To learn more about the program, please email bill.merrylees@smirkus.org.

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The 2017 Big Top Tour Theme!

The Circus Barn is abuzz with excitement and activity – acceptance letters to Live Auditions have gone out and we want to congratulate all the talented and hard working young people who auditioned. The Big Top Tour has invited 45 applicants from across the country to join us for Live Auditions in January. An enormous HUP, HEY! to everyone who auditioned, your spirit of adventure shines through and is an inspiration to us all!

Speaking of adventure… The 30th Anniversary of the Big Top Tour will be a literal tent-full of it! This year’s show follows a group of intrepid adventurers who spend an exhilarating night inside a magical museum. Follow these Jurassic jugglers, aeronautical aerialists, courageous clowns, and wily wire walkers as they explore a sleepy museum that springs to life. Click here to watch the video reveal!  

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The Big Top Tour is putting the final touches on the Tour route and schedule, the creative team is brainstorming MIDNIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, auditionees are developing their individual acts for Live Auditions, and the hiring process for our incredible summer staff will begin shortly as well. Things are beginning to pick up steam and we can’t wait to explore this museum of life with you.

Stay tuned for more updates,

The Big Top Tour

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Reinventing Ringmaster Residencies

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Students demonstrate their spinning plate skills at a final 2016 Ringmaster Residency performance.

Circus Smirkus comes into classrooms year-round to offer artist-in-residency programs that  use the circus arts to enliven the classroom, promote the arts and teach life skills to students throughout New England and beyond. While teaching circus skills, Ringmaster Residencies also introduces the “Circus Secrets,” engaging learning strategies that every child can use to improve their ability to gain new skills and concepts.

Now that the Every Student Succeeds Act has replaced No Child Left Behind, and many states are adopting the National Core Arts Standards, Circus Smirkus is adapting our curriculum to meet the needs of our changing educational culture. Circus Smirkus has recently completed work with educators and researchers to restructure residencies to better align with the requirements of this legislation.

Even better, we’re now more directly developing the Social and Emotional Learning of kids in our residencies. And we can prove it. In partnership with Cirque du Soleil and the American Youth Circus Organization, Smirkus is taking part in a nationwide study to demonstrate whether participation in the circus arts improves these social and interpersonal skills that are so critical for success in school and life.

 

Stay tuned while we continue to share developments about our participation in the study and our excitement about continuing to enhance and expand on American educational opportunities for social-emotional learning.

If you’re interested in learning about bringing a Ringmaster Residency program to your school or educational center, please email bill.merrylees@smirkus.org.

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The Spirit of Session V

There’s a busy week at camp and then there’s session V busy!  Everyone at camp has been putting in the sweat and love required to make not one but THREE independent shows that culminate into the Session V experience. Our Roadshow people have been hitting the road over the past week and visiting everything from nursing homes, to children’s centers, to Church Street in Burlington. Our campers have brought the joy and the magic of circus performance to so many adoring people in the community.

Another subsection of the session is the Individual acts.  A handful of campers take one on one time with their mentors to create a short solo performance in their chosen discipline.  They also take some time to come together as a group to weave together a show with group numbers to boot!

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And finally we have our Ensemble track campers.  These experienced campers choose a theme, create acts and put together a one-of-a-kind show.  They combine their excellent skills and, with the leadership of their coaches, create some amazing collaborative acts.

On the last night of every session, we finish the week in the tent with all the campers gathered together in a “happy circle of happiness.” So named because the outpouring of gratefulness for the Smirkus Camp experience move many to tears of joy.  This week, our campers were grateful for the acceptance they find here at camp, and how they can all be who they really are at camp.  It was inspiring to hear how many campers didn’t want to leave camp because they feel truly at home here.  It’s hard to put into words the atmosphere and the spirit of this session, but suffice it to say that love for each other and for the magic of circus is as abundant as air.

 

With you in Spirit,

-Aaron

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Down the Road

Dear Smirkus Family and Friends,

We did it everyone! We entertained 66 audiences in 15 towns over 7 weeks. The Troupers performed their last shows in Greensboro in front of sold out crowds including our annual Joke Show on Friday. The Joke show is a tradition that gives the Troupers a chance to have some goofy moments in the ring while still putting on a great show for the folks that came. My personal favorite was the staff run-through during the club juggling act which naturally included three dogs and a faux marriage proposal.

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The Troupers left with their families yesterday morning after a prolonged and tearful farewell. It’s hard to say goodbye to people that you’ve spent nearly every day of the last 10 weeks with, but it’s made easier knowing that they’re going on to do great things. We had 7 seniors this year. They all have diverse interests, with some who will go on to continue studying circus or traditional studies.

I’m not sure what else do say. The tour experience is transformative. I’ve probably worked harder than I ever have before and made true friendships among my coworkers and the Troupers. I will miss them but there is a saying around here; “in the circus, we never say goodbye, we say, see you down the road.”

Take care,

Jane

Roads go ever ever on 

Under cloud and under star,

Yet feet that wandering have gone

Turn at last to home afar.

J.R.R. Tolkien – The Hobbit

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