“People shouldn’t see the closing of Ringling as the closing of circus, but as the changing of circus.” – Shana Kennedy, executive director, Philadelphia School of Circus Arts
When officials with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that “The Greatest Show on Earth” would close its 146-year run in May, it marked the near-end of an American tradition.
While animal rights people celebrated the move, those in Philadelphia’s vibrant circus-arts community say the news – while sad – could mark an opening for “contemporary circus to finally thrive.”
That includes Shana Kennedy, executive director of the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts in Germantown. She’s also at the helm of Circadium, a full-time, three-year professional training school for circus artists which, when it opens this fall, will be the first of its kind in the United States.
“Circus is more alive in this country than it has ever been. But it is alive in a way that involves intimate, human performances,” she wrote in a letter to the circus community.
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