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After-school programs in Easthampton schools teach circus skills with takeaways

  • White Brook Middle School seventh grader Hailey Boszko juggles during a Circus Skill Share Parade for fifth and sixth graders in the school auditorium on Friday, March 3. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton High School sophomore Daia Bromberg spins poi during an after school workshop led by Tara Jacob, who is an instructor for SHOW Circus Studio, March 8 at the school. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tara Jacob, right, who is an instructor for SHOW Circus Studio, teaches Easthampton High School sophomore Daia Bromberg how to spin poi during an after school workshop Wednesday at the school. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Easthampton High School senior Francis Fuhrmann juggles with Tara Jacob, who is an instructor for SHOW Circus Studio in Easthampton, during an after school workshop March 8. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Easthampton High School sophomore Daia Bromberg spins poi during an after school workshop led by Tara Jacob, who is an instructor for SHOW Circus Studio, March 8 at the school. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Easthampton High School sophomore Daia Bromberg spins poi during an after school workshop led by Tara Jacob, who is an instructor for SHOW Circus Studio, March 8 at the school. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rina Damon, background center, and fellow White Brook Middle School seventh graders juggle scarves during a Circus Skill Share Parade for fifth and sixth graders in the school auditorium on Friday, March 3, 2017. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • White Brook Middle School seventh graders Serenidy White and Austin Gose spin plates during a Circus Skill Share Parade for fifth and sixth graders in the school auditorium on Friday, March 3, 2017. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • White Brook Middle School seventh grader Cristina Negron juggles scarves during a Circus Skill Share Parade for fifth and sixth graders in the school auditorium on Friday, March 3, 2017. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • White Brook Middle School fifth graders Caitlynn Therrien, left, and Rosie Follet enjoy a Circus Skill Share Parade by seventh and eighth graders in the school auditorium on Friday, March 3, 2017. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • White Brook Middle School eighth graders juggle during a Circus Skill Share Parade for fifth and sixth graders in the school auditorium on Friday, March 3, 2017. From left are Brianna Santiago and Emma Petrowicz (foreground, with backs to camera) and Halia Murphy, Janie Marek and Kristalynn Culver. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • From left, Tara Jacob, Audrey Hyvonen and Chenoa Albertson, all of Show Circus Studio, talk back stage at White Brook Middle School in Easthampton on Friday, March 3, 2017, about a program they put together for 250 seventh and eighth graders that was funded by a Massachusetts Cultural Council STARS Residencies grant. STARS is an acronym for Students and Teachers Working with Artists, Scientists and Scholars. Hyvonen, also a White Brook Middle School parent, wrote the grant and Jacob and Albertson were the resident artists. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Tara Jacob, left, who is and instructor for SHOW Circus Studio in Easthampton, juggles with Easthampton High School sophomore Vinnie Catalano, right, during an after school workshop March 8 at Easthampton High School. Other students Daia Bromberg, second from left, and Francis Fuhrmann watch them. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Easthampton High School sophomore Vinnie Catalano juggles during an after school workshop led by Tara Jacob, who is an instructor for SHOW Circus Studio, March 8 at the school. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



@kate_ashworth
Sunday, March 12, 2017

EASTHAMPTON – Seventh-grade student Serenidy White balanced a yellow plate on a long wooden stick.

As the plate spun, the 12-year-old kept her eyes on the plate, concentrating as she lifted a hand, placing the spinning plate on her finger.

At White Brook Middle School, White was among her seventh- and eighth-grade classmates showcasing techniques they learned through a residency program with SHOW Circus Studio of Easthampton.

Students learned to juggle balls and scarves, spin plates, and balance feathers.

“It’s meditative,” Catherine Jett, of SHOW, said. Object manipulation techniques, she said, relax the body and mind, while the repetition and pattern sharpens focus.

SHOW circus artists say the techniques can be good for study breaks – calming the mind when thoughts are racing and heightening focus.

The program was funded through the STAR residencies, or Students and Teachers Working with Artists, Scientists, and Scholars, which provides grants of $500 to $5,000 for creative learning residencies of three days or more in arts, sciences and humanities.

White Brook Middle received a STAR grant of $3,400 for SHOW’s project “Circus for Fun, Circus for Life” and Easthampton High School received a $1,600 STAR grant for a residency with SHOW as well.

During the residency at White Brook, 250 students in grades 7 and 8 to work with circus artists for three one-hour sessions throughout February.

Seventh-grader Austin Gose, 13, said learning the tricks was “awesome.”

Audrey Hyvonen said students also understand the importance of perseverance as many times they will fail at a trick before perfecting it.

SHOW tied in the schools “Virtues” of responsibility, perseverance, service and justice, into the program.

“It’s good for the kids to see the virtues acted out,” Principal Meredith Balise said.

At the end of the residency at White Brook, students showcased the skills learned over the weeks, and had a chance to be on stage in front of fifth and sixth grade students.

At Easthampton High School, SHOW is doing an aftershow program every Monday and Wednesday for seven weeks.

The sessions incorporated group games to heighten body and space awareness, develop focus and build trust and leadership, according to Hyvonen.

Tenth-grader Vinnie Catalano, 16, learned how to juggle at home, but never with a partner. During the after school program, he learned how to juggle with a partner — Catalano and tenth-grader Daia Bromberg, 16, juggled six balls together.

“It’s really cool,” Catalano said. “I didn’t think you could do that.”

Caitlin Ashworth can be reached at cashworth@gazettenet.com.