Wednesday, June 10, 2009
During the day they hold average, ‘normal’ jobs as paralegals and librarians, among others. In the evenings they come to Germantown to practice their circus performing skills. Some students come for fun, others for fitness. Some even train to be professional circus performers. Whatever the reason is that brings the students in, the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, located on Greene Street in Germantown, is catering to the growing popularity of circus performing.
Fourteen instructors work with about 250 students in a variety of classes, ranging from aerials to unicycles to juggling. “It’s finally making its way over to America,” says juggling instructor Kyle Driggs of circus performing. “It’s been huge in Europe for years.” It seems that although the country as a whole is playing catch-up, Germantown is home to something progressive on an American scale. This circus school is one of only a few in the United States and the only one in the Philadelphia region. The next closest one is in New York.
The gym in which the students practice is simple but bright. Hardwood floors and whitewashed brick walls house static trapeze, ropes and silks (curtain-like fabrics suspended from the ceiling) in bright yellow, turquoise, pink, purple and white. Instructors show off routines that make your eyes widen in admiration.
Although watching is quite entertaining for a while, you’re soon itching to get out there and try it yourself. Like many things in life, it looks infinitely easier than it actually is. But these students keep trying and keep getting better. The dedication pays off.
Adding its part to the neighborhood’s diversity, the circus school is a hidden little treasure tucked away in Germantown.
Lena Kravets and Meggan Kole, Germantown 12
Posted by Lena at 9:25 PM