Youth at the Center: Defining the Future of American Circus - CircusTalk

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Youth at the Center: Defining the Future of American Circus

The American Youth Circus Organization’s (AYCO) recent bi-yearly festival, hosted by the Trenton Circus Squad, was a celebration of all things possible, as circus dares to do. It was also the site of a burgeoning debate on the future of a long-standing organization, and the limits and potential of growth and development if they were to merge with the organization Circus Now (CN). A community, hopeful yet divided, met with the uniting factor of a deep passion for all things circus, and for the future of our youth and our industry.
We are as circus, as Americans, as people, among the most uncertain times. Sustainability of our environment, politics, health, livelihoods, and future are all deeply in question. These issues are held just beneath the surface of our public and private lives. Most of the time. Our collective struggle drives a will to provide a better future for our youth. But, wait… this is CIRCUS! Aren’t we simply talking about circus!? The topic of the merger between the two most significant American circus organizations came to the boardroom table in 2016 as AYCO searched for ways to expand its reach. Beyond its primary mission to promote the participation of youth in circus arts across the United States, it had grown to include work like the ACE Safety Program and a focus on building insurance...
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Sarah Muehlbauer

Sarah Muehlbauer is an artist, dramaturg, choreographer, and writer. She holds an MFA in visual arts from Tyler School of Art, and produces multi-disciplinary collaborative work in the US. Info at:, [email protected]