Circus activities provide students with unique athletic opportunity


Sophomore Max Harris co-teaches a circus class at the Brookline Teen Center. Harris said a background in gymnastics is not necessary but assists with advanced stunts. Provided by Max Harris

Jason Altshuler, Arts Writing Editor

Clowns, popcorn and the flying trapeze!

For many, the circus is an entertaining show that they may have attended once or twice as children.  However, for a handful students, it is an exhilarating extracurricular that provides both exercise and satisfaction.

According to sophomore Lavinia Goessling, she was always interested in the circus but did not know how to get involved.

“Ever since I was little I always wanted to do it, but I didn’t know you could do it without actually joining the circus,” Goessling said. “But then at the beginning of this year, I looked it up and I found a service, like a school, in Somerville, so I started going there.”

In addition to outside classes, there is a new program at the Brookline Teen Center for high school students to try circus-related activities. Sophomore Max Harris helps run the workshop.

“It’s with my coach teaches me at Boston University,” Harris said. “She asked if I wanted to join her at the teen center.  The classes right now are for 4th through 8th graders and there is a workshop for high schoolers to see if people want to try it out and I’m her assistant. There has been one. It went well.”

According to sophomore Ivy Tou, anyone can try aerial silks, a central part of circus classes.

“Even people who don’t have experience can join aerial silks,” Tou said. “My friend had no experience, she is not flexible, but she decided to try it out and she really enjoys it.”

However, according to Harris, gymnastics experience becomes very helpful as you try more advanced activities.

“In the beginning, you start basic, but then as you work up, a lot of the skills in gymnastics—of being comfortable rotating and knowing where your body is at a certain time and knowing how to alter it, to make it go faster or slower—that all transferred into circus,” Harris said.

According to Goessling, circus is a fun way to stay fit.

“It’s really fun and you get to hang there and you are exercising, but it doesn’t really feel like it because you’re not just running on a treadmill,” Goessling said.

According to Harris, more people have been showing interest in circus classes lately.

“It’s been a really growing industry, so I first went to camp, there were no circus places in Boston and now there are four,” Harris said. “So it’s really big now.”