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Starfish in Your School
Rather than creating the next generation of acrobats, Starfish Circus helps young people develop skills for team work, communication and social interaction, work ethics, and a strong, positive self image.
What's included in a Starfish Circus residency?
- Three to five coaches arrive ready to cast 50 of your students or community children. We come the day before to rig aerial equipment and check out the performance space.
- Ten to fourteen days of intensive rehearsals and training with experienced circus artists and educators. School rehearsals are in two two-hour sessions after school, and longer sessions the first weekend. Performers each attend one rehearsal session. Camp programs are available, with rehearsal blocks for each skill.
- Costume accent pieces, makeup, props and all necessary circus equipment and rigging.
How are students cast to be in the show?
Day one is an open workshop from which 50 of your students (K-12 or any combination of those grades) will be cast to star in their own circus. After a group warm-up, students rotate in groups through all of the equipment and coaches. Coaches then select up to ten performers per act(up to twenty for group and partner acrobatics), plus a ringmaster and featured clowns.
Can you give me an idea of the rehearsal schedule?
Take a look at a sample rehearsal schedule.
What are rehearsals like?
The students are divided by acts: one rehearsal session is for ground skills including clowns, acrobats, contortionists and balancers/jugglers; the other session is for aerial silk, hoop and trapeze artists and tightrope walkers.
Each session starts with a group warm-up and stretching, and finishes with conditioning and strength-building. During rehearsals, coaches teach basic skills, choreograph routines, and help individual students with elements of the acts.
Our youngest performers, playing lions, come to just three rehearsals near the end of the process.
Each day, participants learn to set reasonable personal goals and follow though. Over the course of the week, coaches balance safety and group unity with the possibility and potential of imagination. In the end, each student learns to respect and celebrate their own unique beauty as well as discovering that everyone is necessary to create a successful show.
Do you help with publicity?
It's easy to advertise your Starfish Circus auditions and shows with high-resolution publicity photos, fill-in-the-blank posters and press releases. We email you with these materials upon confirmation of your booking, so you can get started right away!
How many shows are there?
Two public performances. Additional performances may be purchased. You keep all proceeds from ticket sales (unless you choose the Starfish for Free option).
When can you come?
We are available year-round.
Is it safe?
All moves are learned low, slow and under supervision. We believe that circus is as safe or safer than most school sports, and safety is our number one priority. Students are empowered to safely try new things one step at a time.
We carry a $1M liability policy. Certificates of named additional insured will be provided for the school and venue at no additional cost.
What does my school need to provide?
- Rehearsal and performance space. Due to aerial rigging, we need to rehearse in the performance space. The space must be at least 25 feet wide, 15 feet deep, 15 feet high and have useable 'pick points' above the playing area. Pick points can be catwalks, I-beams, a lighting grid or dead-hung battens. We will discuss this with you at the time of booking.
- If an additional room in which to rehearse is available, that's very helpful.
- Mats. As many as you can provide, at least eight 4x8 folding gymnastics mats.
- Publicity-use our emailed materials to make sure your community knows about the auditions and performances.
- Clean, safe, comfortable and private (one person per bed, up to two people per room) housing for the coaches for the duration of the residency.
How the heck do you get a show up that fast with that many kids? Is the show any good? Can you really do this? I mean, really?
We cast kids in areas they're naturally drawn to, so that they're challenged but not discouraged. We draw on our teaching and performing experience to help them learn basic circus skills fairly quickly, choosing clean, safe, well-executed skills (often in unison) instead of tricky or complex sequences. We take advantage of size and age differences that let performers lift, hold and balance each other more quickly than adults of the same size can. And we encourage personal interpretation and discovery of new moves, as well as incorporating the kids' existing gymnastic, comedy and fitness skills.
The number one comment we get from parents after the show is that they thought it would be like a recital, where they would enjoy watching their kid and wait through the others, but instead "it was a great show and fun to watch the whole time!"