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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 26, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 30
Join the circus - without running away from home!
Arts & Entertainment
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Join the circus - without running away from home!

American Youth Circus Festival hits Seattle this summer

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Remember when you were a kid and you dreamed of flying on the trapeze or walking the tightrope? Well, the kids of today are no different when it comes to dreaming of working for a circus. And this summer, they might just get that chance! The American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO) has opened the door to make that dream a reality this summer.

Each year, the American Youth Circus Festival rotates locations - and next month, Seattle will play host.

Nearly 300 youth from around the world including the United States, Sweden, and England, are expected to participate in the festival. AYCO is partnering with the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) in Seattle to support the growing circus community and the young people who are a part of it.

The festival, a biennial event, provides programs for circus educators, young adults, young professionals, and enthusiasts to gather and socialize with their peers. Participants can choose from more than 150 workshops and participate in social events and showcases. Intensives are also offered in contortion, tumbling and acrobatics, aerial techniques, and creative acts.

AYCO, and the event, benefits and educates the circus community and provides a way to support and inspire youth circus programming throughout the United States. This year's location in Seattle will benefit both its local circus community, as well as the city as whole.

LIFE LESSONS
'The benefits of the festival go far beyond learning how to juggle,' Amy Cohen, AYCO's executive director, told SGN. 'It does, of course, teach participants how to master many circus acts, but it also promotes social skills, self-discipline, and commitment. It promotes self-esteem, provides a creative outlet, and helps kids stay fit and succeed in school. The festival does not just help young people become better circus performers - it helps them become better individuals and community members as well.'

The benefits of the festival also extend to the local community and economy. It sheds light on Seattle's growing circus community and strengthens its influence worldwide. The city boasts the largest circus school in the United States and its pre-professional program is one of only three in the nation. With the event bringing in so many participants, the local economy will surely benefit as well.

The festival will be held at SANCA (674 S. Orcas St., Seattle) from August 14 to 18. Registration is open to the public, and can be done online at www.americanyouthcircus.org. For information about SANCA, visit www.sancaseattle.org.

ABOUT AYCO
Founded in 1998, the American Youth Circus Organization promotes the participation of youth in circus arts and supports circus educators. AYCO works to connect, assist, advocate, and set safety standards for youth circus organizations, educators, performers, and professionals across the United States. For more information, visit www.americanyouthcircus.org.

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