The first ever United States hosted social circus festival took place early this August at CircEsteem. Since 2001 their mission has been to “help youth build self-esteem and create safe and diverse communities through the learning of circus arts.” This year they took it up a notch by hosting two major events back-to-back over the summer, both the Chicago Social Circus Festival and an International Social Circus Exchange with Red Nose Foundation (where they hosted circus youth form Indonesia after having their teen troupe visit Indonesia there last year).
Four major US social circuses were invited to participate in this year’s inaugural event: Circus Harmony (St. Louis, Missouri), Fern Street Circus (San Diego, California), Wise Fool New Mexico Circus (New Mexico) and CircEsteem (the Chicago, Illinois hosts). Festival organizer Dan Roberts says the festival was all for the benefit of the youth and focused on their activities, which ranged from beach visits, to street performances and from show development to workshops. “It started with each group performing for each other, then progressed to kids teaching kids, then kids creating acts with kids, and will culminate in kids performing with kids.” He went on to explain how when the groups first arrived, they got acquainted by performing their troupe show for each other. Roberts says he hopes to g...
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