Circus Juventas

Supergirl has been begging, begging, to go to Circus Camp for two years. When she was four, I told her she was too young. When she was five, I told her she was too young. Now she’s six and she can go. Good Lord. Flying trapeze, balancing balls, bungee trapeze, high wire, clowning, German wheel – what the hell is a German wheel? I don’t like the sound of that – sounds sinister. As I read through the website, I feel a lump in my throat. It all sounds so . . . dangerous. It all sounds so . . . perfect for Supergirl. Sigh. What else can we do but try to follow our children’s bliss? So I’m signing her up and she’s jumping out of her skin. Her response when I told her? “Aw, sweetness!” uttered with the face and voice of a six year old girl, but the ‘tude of a fifteen year old skateboard rat.

Circus Juventas, a performing arts circus school for youth, is dedicated to inspiring artistry and self-confidence through a multi-cultural circus arts experience.” We are lucky enough to have this place just over the river in St. Paul and on Saturday we went to their big open house celebration. I was curious and I figured, what the hell, let’s give Supergirl a little teaser of what’s to come this summer.

I can honestly say that there is nothing I did not love about it. They had all their equipment set up in the Big Top and after collecting a waiver, the kids were allowed to try their hand at the trapeze, the swinging rope, the trampoline, the high wire and all sorts of other cool things. We caught two performances while we were there and there was a moment when, I swear to God, I got choked up watching this beautiful girl soar through the air on a trapeze. We were practically underneath her and I could see every one her muscles working and straining to gain momentum before she draped herself into poses of breathtaking precariousness. It was poetry to watch a body performing so fluently and so beautifully. Later some contortionists crawled out in freaky green leotards, looking like really buff amphibians. These three girls were healthy, which is to say that they were by no means skinny, which is to say that they had big glutes and breasts and were a joy to watch as they bent their spines into almost unimaginable positions. I do yoga, I do back bends. Holy shit, these girls made my back bends look like paltry hillocks to their acute Mt. Kilmangaros. They were fantastic.

And as we clapped and watched with mouths agape, I was able to crack open why I was digging it so much. This was all about bodies – beautiful fantastic strong and limber bodies – but it was about what these bodies can do, not about how these bodies look. It was a celebration of physical prowess and artistry and it was gorgeous to watch. It was a really inspiring bookend of sorts to my recent, admittedly dour, body ruminations

There was also a real joyful looseness to the place in terms of what has become the overbearing strong arm of “safety”. Maybe because they are circus-types and there is a certain degree of physical peril implicit in the whole endeavor, but it was clear their focus was on set up and rigging and no one seemed to get that bent out of shape about all the kids climbing around like monkeys and perched on ladders and scaffolding watching the shows. Most of the kids were Circus Juventas kids, but of course, Supergirl shimmied her way up on to a platform for a better view and they let her be. I watched people who work there see her, expecting them to tell her to get down and they didn’t. I tell you, it warmed my cockles to see that kind of freedom and faith. Faith that a kid can manage not to kill themselves ten feet off the ground.

So Supergirl is all signed up and ready to go. She’ll go for a week this summer from nine in the morning to four in the afternoon and there will be a performance on Friday. I know she’s in it for the swinging, the speed, the height, the adrenaline. I’m just hoping this is one more way for her to realize just how much power and grace she carries in her little frame. I hope she has a blast.

Of course I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that this all doesn’t backfire on me. That ten years from now doesn’t find me clutching a tattered, tearstained goodbye note to my chest, weeping unconsolably as I blindly urge my minivan down a long dusty dirt road in hot pursuit of the circus train choo choo chooing into the dusk.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

5 Responses to “Circus Juventas”

Leave a Reply