Circus & Life, October 2018
In October, students had the opportunity to learn from the fabulous coaches of Circus Harmony, St. Louis’ only social circus. Under the leadership of Jessica Hentoff, Circus Harmony’s programs use circus arts to teach perseverance, focus, and teamwork. Learning circus with others also teaches trust, responsibility and cooperation.
We all tried many things for the first time, including partner acrobatics (shown above), feather balancing, plate spinning, and diabolo, among other tricks. After each lesson, we wrote. After a day of diabolo, students were asked to write advice to someone learning this skill for the first time.
I would say that it isn’t as easy as it seems. Diabolo requires a lot of focusing, balancing, and patience. You may not get it on the first time because the movement of the sticks isn’t very normal. When moving the sticks it’s sort of like a drum movement, but instead of moving both, you mainly only move one. And since the diabolo piece is shaped like a cylinder, it repeatedly moves. There is a string tied to both strings that is placed in between the diabolo piece that moves it constantly.
Most of the tricks required some degree of low-stakes failure along the way—falling down, dropping a juggling ball or spinning plate, tangling up a diabolo string. Taking these minor risks in the safe space of our gym, and in the care of experts, prompted thought and writing about other kinds of risks.
One day I took a big risk! It might not be a big risk to everyone else, but to me it was. So I was always afraid of rollercoasters. I never actually rode one until I was like 13. So I wasn’t planning on riding one for a while, but the day came. On June 17, two days after my birthday, my father asked me if I wanted to go to Six Flags. I was kinda shaken when he asked me because I’d never actually gone before. Anyway, I went and I was soooo scared. I was shaking. He was like, “What ride you wanna ride first?” I was just nauseated. Long story short, I got on the Batman and after that I wasn’t scared any more.
One risk that I made was with a longtime friend. I felt emotionally connected to her and I’d never think that we would split. I won’t say any names. We were friends for at least four years and we had both planned to continue. But with her came a lot of drama. Any time we talked it seemed as if it was about drama or drama related. And with me trying to be a good friend, I was always there to support her and be her shoulder to lean on. But one day, she tried to switch the story up and say that I was the person saying the stuff about another girl she was supposed to be fighting a few days after. I felt both hurt and used, because we both had been through so much and it’s always been us two. She was my forever friend and for her to use my name in a lie like that? Was hurting. So after a long night’s thinking, I confronted her myself. I just realized that I couldn’t do it anymore. No more drama. I pulled her to the side and told her I thought it was best that we didn’t talk anymore because she was going around using my name in lies. What if this was just the first one I’d heard about ? Were there more? I couldn’t take the risk. I was heart broken.