Arts and Culture

With the seemingly ever present COVID-19 keeping us from live performance and art, and close human contact in general, it can feel pretty difficult to connect with anyone or anything at the moment. In this column, I aim to bring you resources and reviews for online shows and events that you can attend while in the comfort of your own home. Eventually, when live entertainment is more socially acceptable, I will provide resources about that and what live entertainment will look like during the pandemic.

In addition to the global pandemic, there has been a lot of protesting for the Black Lives Matter movement, although protests have seemed to calm down. While things seem quieter and less tense, make no mistake. We are far from where we need to be to make sure our Black brothers and sisters, as well as other BIPOC, feel safe in their own country. In solidarity, and to keep the movement fresh in our heads, I wanted to support and amplify some Social Circus schools that serve racially, economically, and culturally diverse youth.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Social Circus is a way of using the circus arts as a medium for social justice. In SANCA’s case, we try to help underprivileged kids with our after school outreach programs and serve the differently abled community with our Every Body Circus programs.

CircEsteem is another great example of a school that has a social circus program. Their flagship program is called Homework and CircusWork, or HWCW, and provides after school academic support through tutoring and self-esteem support through circus coaching. They have other programming as well as their own performance groups, with whom SANCA joined in Chicago last summer during the Social Circus Festival. In addition to these events and programs, they are also offering camps this summer so if you know anyone in Chicago looking for something to do this summer, send them that way. Like SANCA, these schools are non-profit schools and I would imagine they have also been hit pretty hard by COVID-19. As I mentioned before, SANCA has had a working relationship with schools such as CircEsteem and Fern Street Circus, another social circus school, so I want to give a special shoutout to our friends over there and ask you to check out their offerings during this difficult time..

I would also encourage you to check out the online classes and events that other similar schools are offering during the pandemic such as Circus Harmony, Trenton Circus Squad, or The Circus Project, and to donate if you are able and inclined. It’s tough for the arts right now and the more you can do, like donating, participating in online classes, or pointing out of town friends and family in the direction of the closest circus schools to them, social circus or otherwise, it could really help keep the arts alive.

See below for a list of the previously mentioned Social Circus schools, where you can find their websites and social media.

Article by Isaac McDonald