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And today…We Do Circus!

Editor’s Note:
This post was written by summer Camp Communications Associate Sojourn Gudorf Johnston

Session 2 concluded the very busy week with a successful and highly entertaining show! In only 3 days, the coaches and campers undertook the project of creating a show. This meant all hands-on deck; which involved learning all aspects of a circus performance, from rigging, to prop handling, to performing.

Each act demonstrated and highlighted the campers’ talents, while also showing off their newly acquired skills. From the exciting pre-show unicycle act, to the hilarious opening clowning act, through the energetic and upbeat closing act, every moment was a delight. The acts included demonstrations of juggling of different props, aerials on several apparatus, contortion, Chinese pole, a variety of acro including a mini tramp and three-high pyramids, and clever clowning transitions. Each Smirkus camper demonstrated professionalism, patience, and individualism during this creation period. Each participated fully, providing input and ideas into the acts to fully embrace them as their own.

Outside of the circus activities this week, campers enjoyed activities with Smirkus Camp’s Activities Coordinator Mariah and their counselors and counselors-in-training, including weaving flower crowns with Vermont wildflowers, developing a music video, learning jump rope and dance routines, singing their hearts out with karaoke, and playing various group games. The campers and staff showed off their creative lip sync skills in a lip sync battle, danced their hearts out, held a gratitude circle, the staff performed for the campers in a staff performance, and the campers and staff participated in pie day where they learned the technique of pie’ing, and gleefully practiced on each other, counselors, and coaches.

Circus Aerial Arts Fun Facts:

  • The aerial arts include trapeze, silks, ropes (corde lisse), lyra (hoop), straps, and various objects that can be incorporated into aerial acts (e.g. chairs).
  • The first flying trapeze act was performed in 1859.
  • The first recorded lyra act was performed in 1893 in NY as an advertisement for the NY Clipper. Aerial silks are a fairly new addition to the circus world, formally originating in 1959 in France where a group of circus school trainees were asked to create an interesting acrobatic act.

Smirkus Camp aerial coaches share their advice, experiences, and wisdom in full interviews found on Instagram @circussmmirkus

Aerial Coach, Sarah Norden: “Something I’ve enjoyed in the aerial tent is talking to campers about the aesthetics of aerials and about how we can make more space in aerials for things that are not graceful or following along with a specific vision of femininity, but making space for goofy, wacky fun, and different energies in the air.”

Aerial Coach, Maia Castro-Santos: “Couple of adjectives that I would use to describe Smirkus are fun, unique, eccentric, and magical…”

Aerial Coach, Izzi Kessner: “Aerials are anything you can do in the air; any apparatus that hangs from the air and doesn’t touch the ground. Aerials and circus is all about finding new ways to do things.”