WBEZ | circus http://www.wbez.org/tags/circus Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Global Activism: CircEsteem uses circus arts to build child self-esteem http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-circesteem-uses-circus-arts-build-child-self-esteem-104343 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CE at Cirque du Soliel photo credit Maribeth Joy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&#39;s Thursday! That means it&#39;s time for our <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism"><em>Global Activism</em></a> segment. Each Thursday, we talk with a person who decided to make the world a better place.</p><p>Today, we catch up with one of our Global Activists, <a href="http://circesteem.org/2012/01/01/maribeth-joy/">Maribeth Joy</a>, executive director of <a href="http://circesteem.org">CircEsteem</a>. For over a decade, CircEsteem&rsquo;s stated mission has been to unite youth from diverse racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds, helping them build self-esteem and mutual respect through learning circus arts.</p><p>Maribeth says CircEsteem uses circus as a tool for social change. She reflects upon her work in this statement:</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">&quot;In the nine years I have worked at CircEsteem, I have seen tremendous life transformations take place in many Chicago area youth.&nbsp; I have had the privilege to work with and mentor low income at risk youth, many of whom were recent arrived refugees.&nbsp; They came to CircEsteem with limited English language ability. Through our free afterschool tutoring program HomeWork &amp; CircusWork, they received needed support to thrive in school and in their communities.&nbsp; Circus teaches trust and team work. Together we have a created a community where everyone is welcomed and everyone has a place in the center ring!</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">CircEsteem uses circus as a tool for social change.&nbsp; We provide academic assistance, employment opportunities, college scholarships and cross cultural experiences through international travel and partnerships.&nbsp; We break down stereotypes of race, class, and gender while teaching kids how to juggle, unicycle, do partner acrobatics, and clown just around.&nbsp; Most importantly, we help kids feel good about themselves by building self-esteem through the practice and performance of circus arts.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Our annual <a href="http://circesteem.org/events/">Winter Circus</a> (December 15th &amp; 16th, 2012) is proof that our mission works.&nbsp; Over 120 kids from all over Chicago and as far away as Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burma and Togo will perform the circus skills they have learned while connecting with others quite different than themselves.&nbsp; When the kids are on stage, it doesn&rsquo;t matter where they are from or what type of car their parents drive - it&rsquo;s about working together and creating something truly special - a circus of their own.&quot;</p><p><em>CircEsteem&#39;s <a href="http://circesteem.org/events/">Winter Circus</a> </em><em>takes place 12/15 &amp; 12/16 at Alternatives, 4730 N. Sheridan Rd. in Chicago. </em></p></p> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 09:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-circesteem-uses-circus-arts-build-child-self-esteem-104343 Bulls vacate the United Center to make way for circus http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/bulls-vacate-united-center-make-way-circus-103800 <p><p>Every November Chicago plays host to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum &amp; Bailey Circus, and every November the circus takes over the United Center for a few weeks.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_bulls-deng.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 383px; float: left;" title="Bulls travel for days with the circus in town. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)" />What does that have to do with sports? While the circus is here, the Bulls and the Blackhawks pack up their bags and play on the road while the elephants and clowns take over. The media has coined this long road trip the &ldquo;circus trip&rdquo; &mdash; not very creative, but it does conjure up some images of this stretch on the road. The Bulls begin their five-game trip in two weeks Wednesday night in Phoenix but the Blackhawks aren&#39;t concerned: The players and owners are still clowning around with their labor dispute. (Sorry, couldn&rsquo;t help it!)</p><p>Three years ago at the Bulls practice facility, reporters asked players for their thoughts on the circus trip. The response we got from Joakim Noah was priceless: &ldquo;Why do they always call it the circus trip?&rdquo; Noah asked, clearly irked. &quot;What&#39;s so circus about it anyway?&quot; He thought it was a &ldquo;dig&rdquo; at the team. When I explained where the term came from he just said, &ldquo;Oh.&rdquo; You know, the media and the players are not always on the same page. We see and do things day in, day out, year after year &mdash; but the players change.</p><p>This year, I couldn&rsquo;t resist asking some players for their thoughts on this year&#39;s circus trip. Jimmy Butler (he missed the trip last year because of the lock-out), Nate Robinson and Marquis Teague all gave me a look like I was crazy (similar to Noah&rsquo;s) &mdash; they had no idea what I was talking about. When Butler was told what it was he said, &ldquo;Oh, snap. I don&rsquo;t even know that.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_clown.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 524px; float: right;" title="The clowns and the circus take over the United Center the next few weeks.(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)" />But veteran Bulls staffers have lived this trip for years. John &ldquo;Ligs&rdquo;&nbsp;Ligmanowski has been the Bulls&#39; equipment manager for over 30 years. This year&rsquo;s trip isn&rsquo;t so bad, he said, but it is still a lot of work. &ldquo;You pack extra socks and shoes,&rdquo; Ligs told me. His status garners him help with all the laundering he has to do, particularly when the team plays back-to-back games on the road.</p><p>Back at the United Center, the Bulls and Blackhawks offices have a mini-respite. Another long-time Bulls employee, ticket manager Joe O&rsquo;Neil, said despite the circus it&#39;s really quiet at the United Center. He relishes the opportunity to celebrate a quite Thanksgiving &mdash; they will have action on other holidays. Since November has limited home games, December is packed. &ldquo;We play a lot of games over the holidays, this year we are playing on Christmas,&rdquo; O&#39;Neil said.</p><p>Depending on the coaches and the players, the &ldquo;circus trip&rdquo; can be a time for bonding:&nbsp;This year the Bulls will be able to feast at home for Thanksgiving before finishing the trip in Milwaukee two days later, but when the club is on the road it relies on the spread at the team hotel and all the players dine together.&nbsp;Back in the Phil Jackson era, the legendary coach made it an interesting road trip: At the beginning, Jackson would give players books to read&mdash; even Michael Jordan. Some read them, but others (MJ) did not. Rookie Marquis Teague said if Coach Tom Thibodeau gave him a book, he would likely put down his video game and read it.</p><p>But the trip can also be a time of bad outcomes (the first years after the championship run) or a full blown disaster. No one will forget 1985, Michael Jordan&rsquo;s second year in the league, when he suffered a broken foot against the Golden State Warriors. He missed most of the season until the final weeks.&nbsp;</p><p>Of course, the Bulls have been dealing with the injury of another big star &mdash; Derrick Rose. His absence has impacted this team, as Thibodeau continues to find the right combinations on the court. Maybe this circus trip will help the Bulls gel more. Maybe Rose with bring his thrilling act back and we can see a three ring circus next spring &mdash; maybe. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 14 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/bulls-vacate-united-center-make-way-circus-103800 Clown hopefuls audition for a spot in 'the greatest show on Earth' http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/clown-hopefuls-audition-spot-greatest-show-earth-102074 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/clowns.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Eight clown contenders now have a chance to join &ldquo;the greatest show on Earth.&rdquo;&nbsp;Ringling Brothers and Barnum &amp; Bailey Circus was in town Wednesday to hold its first open audition in Chicago in four years.</p><p>The day started with 26 clownish people who answered the audition call and tried out in front of a panel of giggly judges at the Joffrey Ballet dance studios. One of the judges and Director of Talent, David Kiser, was in stitches throughout the audition process.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not every time we have an audition that everyone has a moment of brilliance,&rdquo; Kiser said. &ldquo;And I can tell you today that everyone had a moment of brilliance.&rdquo;</p><p>The tryout consisted of an hour-long clown training, partner skits and solo auditions.</p><p>Karen Hoyer is a mime and movement instructor for Ringling Clown College. Hoyer coached the candidates through an intensive, hour-long Clowning 101 class. Her clothing punctuated her mime expertise -- black tights, a black-and-white striped shirt and black Converse sneakers. She instructed her pupils to sneak, strut and act &ldquo;clown-esque.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;They have to be able to use their entire physicality because we are performing in gigantic arenas,&rdquo; Hoyer said. &ldquo;They have to be able communicate what they need to communicate all the way back to the very tip-top row.&rdquo;</p><p>Some candidates traveled from as far as Florida and New York City for this rare chance to show off their juggling and mime routines.</p><p>Margaret Lute took the Greyhound from Akron, Ohio, because she thought the tryout would be &ldquo;an adventure.&rdquo; She lost her job at a children&rsquo;s theater company just over a month ago.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll get to travel, which is what I love to do,&rdquo; Lute said. &ldquo;And I&rsquo;ll have a great story for to tell my grandkids someday that grandma got to run off to the circus at 25.&rdquo;</p><p>Unlike other performers who brought music or props like a leaf-blower, Lute&rsquo;s audition was silent. She specializes in mime. The judges picked her for the final cut.</p><p>&ldquo;I am very excited, I can&rsquo;t believe it,&rdquo; Lute said. &ldquo;Honestly, I was not expecting this at all.&rdquo;</p><p>She and the seven other finalists will attend the circus&rsquo; two-week Clown College in Rosemont. The top performers there actually get to run away with the circus.</p></p> Thu, 30 Aug 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/clown-hopefuls-audition-spot-greatest-show-earth-102074 Roger Bonair-Agard’s flea circus http://www.wbez.org/story/agriculture/roger-bonair-agard%E2%80%99s-flea-circus <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/flea circus photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When I spoke to Chicago poet Roger Bonair-Agard earlier this week he was in New York. Having narrowly escaped the Snomageddon he was en route to Washington, D.C. to attend the celebrated literary conference <a href="http://www.awpwriter.org/conference/">AWP</a> and looking forward to the American release of Gully, his second book of poems.&nbsp; The poetry collection deals with cricket culture in his native Trinidad, as well as his own personal history in America.</p> <div>I wanted to talk to Bonair-Agard about a poem he wrote for last June&rsquo;s edition of the <a href="../../../../../../episode-segments/encyclopedia-show-presents-series-2-volume-10-circus">Encyclopedia Show</a>, a cabaret event sponsored by <a href="http://www.youngchicagoauthors.org/">Young Chicago Authors</a>. For each event, the organizers come up with a topic, in this case the circus, and ask each performer to address a sub topic. In Bonair-Agard&rsquo;s case, it was flea circuses.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;At first I was like what the&hellip;?,&rdquo; Bonair-Agard says about receiving his writing assignment. &ldquo;The flea circus is such an obscure bit of Americana that I did not know where I fit in personally to write this piece. I wasn&rsquo;t sure where to enter.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>So he researched the historical phenomenon of fleas trained as tiny circus performers, juggling tiny balls, cracking tiny whips, powering tiny Ferris wheels, and found himself strangely enticed by the subject matter.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;The first thing that drew my attention is the general madness of people deciding we&rsquo;re going to make these creatures entertain us,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not trying to be all PETA, but they did mad cruel things to fleas! Then as I read more it became symbolic of a larger human imperative of whiteness to dominate stuff for our personal enjoyment. This is by no means making fleas till the land.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Based on these thoughts he wrote the elaborately titled, <em>The poetic analysis of the socio-cultural relevance of the flea from the classical period through the Industrial Revolution</em>. And somehow from that obscure bit of Americana Bonair-Agard produced a poem that&rsquo;s both stunning and funny, tracing as it does the connection between this &ldquo;frivolous entertainment&rdquo; and the historical subjugation of people of color, while managing to evoke intersex South African runner Caster Semenya, Grandmaster Flash, the Arizona legislature and &ldquo;the whole cast of <em>Gone with the Wind</em>.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>You can hear Bonair-Agard recite his poem in the audio excerpt posted above.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><em>Dynamic Range showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Roger Bonair-Agard spoke to an audience assembled by </em><a href="http://www.youngchicagoauthors.org/"><em>Young Chicago Authors</em></a><em> this past June. Click </em><a href="../../../../../../episode-segments/encyclopedia-show-presents-series-2-volume-10-circus"><em>here</em></a><em> to hear the event in its entirety, and click </em><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wbez/id364380278"><em>here</em></a><em> to subscribe to the Dynamic Range podcast.</em></div></p> Fri, 04 Feb 2011 22:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/agriculture/roger-bonair-agard%E2%80%99s-flea-circus Global Activism: The circus arts bring kids together http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/global-activism-circus-arts-bring-kids-together <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2010-October/2010-10-21/Awassa 008_P.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Most kids love the circus but not everyone gets the chance to actually learn how to juggle or ride a unicycle. So a former Ringling Brothers clown decided to start an organization called<a href="http://circesteem.org/"> CircEsteem </a>that would use circus arts to help kids from diverse backgrounds build better self-esteem. Executive director Maribeth Joy says it was easy to find interested children; the hard part was finding enough space to accommodate all the acrobatics.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 21 Oct 2010 15:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/global-activism-circus-arts-bring-kids-together