Joel Jeske

Author Archives: Circus Smirkus

Joel Jeske

Joel Jeske, Head Clown Coach Sessions: Advanced Camps Joel Jeske is a physical comedian, director, and teacher. He created and starred in the 38th and 40th productions of New York’s Big Apple Circus entitled The Grand Tour and the Big Apple Circus’s 40th Anniversary.   Joel is the associate artistic director of the physical theatre company Parallel Exit. He created and starred in Parallel Exit’s Off-Broadway hits This Way That Way, Cut To The Chase, Room 17B, Exit! Stage Left!, and Everybody Gets Cake; and was nominated for a Drama Desk award in 2008, 2010, 2015 for those productions.   As a clown, Joel toured and created clown acts for Ringling Bros. and Barnum &…

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Introducing the 2020 Big Top Tour Troupers!

CIrcus Smirkus

Watch this video to meet our 2020 Big Top Tour troupers! Congratulations to the 30 young circus artists, ages ranging from age 12-18, who will go on the road this summer performing nearly 70 shows all over New England in our beautiful new circus tent! There are 20 returning troupers and 10 new troupers, consisting of 15 girls and 15 boys. The troupers reside from the following United States (CA, CO, MA, ME, NH, NY, PA, RI, VT, and WA) and Internationally (Canada and Zambia). Stay tuned for our tour schedule and ticket information. Tickets go on sale May 1, 2019. Special thanks to Andy Bell for creating this beautiful…

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5 Lessons I Learned at Smirkus Camp

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Circus Talk online on January 6, 2020 and was written by Ivy Blake 5 Lessons I Learned Growing Up – and Then Working at– A Circus Camp It’s rare that we get the chance to interact with the same institution from many positions. Circus Smirkus camp, the sleep-away summer camp run by the youth circus of Vermont Circus Smirkus, is one of those rare establishments that actively hires former campers to be on staff as coaches and counselors. I have now had the privilege of inhabiting all three of these roles: a camper from 2006-2012, a counselor in 2014…

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The 2019 Tour Video is Now Available!

Circus Smirkus

Just in time for the holidays! You can relive the 2019 Big Top Tour: Carnival with Andy Bell’s video of the show. The 2019 Big Top Tour video is now available as either a physical DVD from our webstore or to stream for rent or purchase on Vimeo On Demand. For those you with a smart TV, a Roku or an Apple TV, you can also stream the videos using the Vimeo app. Past videos are also available! Order now to get them in time for your holiday gift giving – the DVDs make great stocking stuffers, and the streaming versions are keepsakes you’ll enjoy long into the future! 2019…

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The Power of Persistence

by Jennifer Carlo, Executive Director At the Winooski school district in Vermont, the circus has taken over the sixth grade!  Visit one of the classrooms, and you’re bound to hear sixth graders discussing exactly how many steps it takes to build a circus tent. (It takes six steps to build one circus tent, by the way, but if every sixth grader completes a tent they will have done 132 tasks.) You’ll see them designing and creating posters for their upcoming circus performance, or practicing juggling or diabolo. Click here for a fabulous gallery of the posters! All of this helps kids learn the Power…

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Head Coach Josh Shack Explains It All For You

Circus Smirkus

Director of Programming Josh Shack has held many positions at Circus Smirkus. He was a camper, and then performed in the Big Top Tour, he’s been the tour production manager, as well as a residency artist. Last summer he added a new title to the mix: Advanced Camp Head Coach at Circus Smirkus Camp. This year, he’s working on developing new curriculum for the Advanced Performance Camp Programs for campers who are training at the highest level. “Smirkus is known for its performance,” Josh says, “and so I want to make sure our campers are getting the chance to really…

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Green Mountain Knitting Guild Retreat

Circus Smirkus

Smirkus Camp can be the perfect place for your retreat! Just ask the Green Mountain Knitting Guild! This group rented the Smirkus Camp facilities to run their weekend workshop; the common area was set up for their knitting circle, the dining hall and kitchen perfect for crafting their custom dyes (and the all important meal times!) and everyone had cost-friendly sleeping quarters. All set as the fall foliage was beginning to turn into a vibrant riot of color.  

Star Drops in the Tents

Circus Smirkus

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Camp Communications Intern Magdalene McCaffrey Under the blue and white stripes of Mamma Mia’s copula, the red, green, and pink silks are attached to the rigging hooks. In billowing lines, they’re pulled and secured as campers file into the tent. The campers take off their shoes and step onto the trocellen mat to sit on the ring curb. Coaches lead the kids in stretches as the rigging is finished, then they step into the center of the ring and pull themselves onto the silk. “We’ll be working on our star drops today! So let’s go over how to set…

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Aaron’s Farewell Tour

Circus Smirkus

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Anne-Marie Wood and Eric Schondorf, parents of 5th year trouper Aaron Schondorf Watch this video looking back on Aaron’s years with Circus Smirkus, created by Andy Bell. As we look forward to Aaron’s fifth and final season with The Big Top Tour, we can’t help recall driving up I-91 to Lyndon, Vermont in 2010 to take Aaron and his brother, Ethan, to the one-week summer Smirkus Camp session.  Even though it was Aaron’s first time away from home, from the minute we walked onto campus, the Smirkus counselors and staff could not have been more welcoming…

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