On April 23, the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts (PSCA) started a new tradition, hosting the AYCO Regional Youth Circus Festival for the first time in the school’s twenty-year history. It is fitting that this circus festival should take place in Philadelphia, given that the city has been home to many circus “firsts” in America, including the country’s first-ever circus performance in April 1793.
Some 230-odd years later, 70 youth participants from across the Northeast coast gathered in the City of Brotherly Love to take part in the day-long AYCO festival and celebrate all things circus. Some of these youth regularly attend circus programs at New Jersey’s Trenton Circus Squad or Circus Place in Hillsborough; TSNY-DC; and Hampton, Virginia’s Transcendence Aerial Dance, while others do not (yet) have a regular circus studio. With 42 workshops in all, there was something for everyone and every interest, in disciplines ranging from ground skills like German wheel, unicycle, juggling, and partner acrobatics to aerial arts like Spanish web, lyra, trapeze, and fabric. The festival was held in Philadelphia’s Mt. Airy neighborhood at what is collectively known as the Circus Campus. Made up of an impressive former Catholic church and extensive grounds (spacious en...
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