Circus News

Circus and Changing Realities 2020: Transitioning from Social Circus to Professional Circus

This panel is part of CircusTalk’s Circus and Changing Realities 2020 series. In this episode, documentarian and director Joel Gershon, and social circus director Jessica Hentoff discuss the impetus behind the new film Cirque du Cambodia which features the progress of two circus artists who begin their circus training in a social circus program and become professional circus artists. Although an uncommon pathway, it is increasingly a beneficial option for circus artists from marginalized populations. But it is economically viable in a pandemic era with much of the performing arts world on hold? Through conversations with circus artists who have made the transition from social circus programs to professional careers in the sector, they will discuss the challenges and benefits to making such a transition and explore the many meanings and outcomes of social circus overall.
Co-Moderators
Panelists

References: The Balancing Act: Walking the Pandemic Tightrope– an online show that offers perspective on how some of Circus Harmony’s students and alumni (including Sidney and Melvin) are keeping their balance in this unbalanced time.

Related content: Cirque du Cambodia–Social Circus Artists Shine in New Documentary

Jessica Hentoff
Artistic Director, Founder, Executive Director -United States
Jessica Hentoff has been teaching and performing circus arts for over 41 years. She has been the recipient of St. Louis Arts Innovator of the Year, Outstanding Arts Educator of the Year, American Youth Circus Organization/American Circus Educators’ Excellence in Circus Education Award, and the Youth Development Practitioner Award by the Youth Learning Institute. Jessica was a founding member of both Big Apple Circus and Circus Flora and is the founder and Artistic/Executive Director of Circus Harmony, a St. Louis based social circus that builds character and expands community by helping children defy gravity, soar with confidence and leap over social barriers, all at the same time!
Joel Gershon
Film Director, Journalist -United States
Originally a New Yorker, Joel now lives in Washington D.C. and teaches at the American University School of Communication after having lived in Bangkok as a print and TV reporter from 2005-2017. He has spent the last nine years working on his first feature documentary film, "Cirque du Cambodia," which just had its world premiere at the United Nations Association Film Festival.

Jessica Hentoff

Jessica Hentoff has been teaching and performing circus arts for over 41 years. She has been the recipient of St. Louis Arts Innovator of the Year, Outstanding Arts Educator of the Year, American Youth Circus Organization/American Circus Educators’ Excellence in Circus Education Award, and the Youth Development Practitioner Award by the Youth Learning Institute. Jessica was a founding member of both Big Apple Circus and Circus Flora and is the founder and Artistic/Executive Director of Circus Harmony, a St. Louis based social circus that builds character and expands community by helping children defy gravity, soar with confidence and leap over social barriers, all at the same time!

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