- Associated Press - Monday, March 20, 2017

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) - 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.”


Information from: Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, Mass.), https://www.gazettenet.com

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide