At the beginning of 2020, Circus Harmony had a busy schedule. The St. Louis-based nonprofit social circus was getting ready to perform with Circus Flora. The company also had trips to Chicago and Puerto Rico on tap and a nonstop summer planned. Then COVID-19 appeared, not so magically, and everything changed.
Circus folk aren’t easily daunted by a mere pandemic, though. The Circus Harmony troop has still been performing, on Zoom and at in-person, “six-foot (socially distanced) circuses.” This month, it will stage a major show called “The Balancing Act: Walking the Pandemic Tightrope.”
“The Balancing Act” is free and will be streamed online Oct. 10. It’s designed to be a meaningful circus show for families featuring Circus Harmony student performers and alumni who have gone on to professional careers.
Circus Harmony has a number of close connections to the St. Louis Jewish community. Its mission, as a social circus, is tikkun olam, to repair the world. It does so by using circus arts to motivate social change. Artistic/executive director Jessica Hentoff and several Circus Harmony coaches are Jewish. The company also has an international Jewish connection, via an 11-year partnership with the Galilee Circus, a Jewish-Arab youth organization that uses circus arts to inspire social change in Israel.
The focus for Circus Harmony is finalizing “The Balancing Act.” The idea of creating a virtual show took shape when it was obvious the pandemic was going to stick around a while, Hentoff said…
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