Homeschooling: Contemporary Circus Field Trip

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One of the great things I’m discovering about homeschooling is the vast number of eclectic and interesting classes and events created specifically for homeschoolers. There are specially designated days just for homeschoolers to visit (usually with special pricing as well) Colonial Williamsburg, the Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center, and Mount Vernon. There are Shakesperean drama programs, gymnastics classes, and “Museum as Classroom” programs that utilize the Smithsonian museums.

A couple weeks ago, we were lucky enough to be invited to Contemporary Circus Arts for Home School Education, an event at the Dogtown Dance Theatre in Richmond, during which the members of Host of Sparrows Aerial Dance and Barefoot Puppets explained the history of the circus, the differences between the traditional and contemporary circuses and demonstrated the static trapeze, poi juggling and aerial silks.

The talk was fascinating and covered everything from the origination of the word “leotard” – from Jacques Leotard, the inventor of the costume piece and, through some experimenting in and above his basement pool, the trapeze – to the fabric composition of the aerial silks/ribbons, which are not actually made of silk but a polyester interlock that is specially designed not to rip.

The girls were mesmerized during the event. Ani came over to me in the middle to ask in an excited whisper if she could join the circus; later, Aria wanted to know how old one needs to be to take lessons (as young as six). She has since taught herself to swing from monkey bars at the park, “practicing for the flying trapeze.” Future circus performers maybe? We’ll see…

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