Circus arts, by nature, empower people to regain control over their environments through creativity.
Ignite Circus launched our Social Circus program in partnership with Thrive in 2018, and together we have celebrated many of our students’ successes through participation in the National Forum on Social Art in Quebec City, community performances here in St. John’s such as Circus Inside and Don’t Stop Me Now, and most recently, the collaboration with Cirque Hors Piste on the collective creation of Cirkaskina, a national social circus network.
Social circus is an innovative social intervention approach, which uses the circus arts as a tool for fostering the personal and social development of at- risk individuals. It targets various at- risk groups living in precarious personal and social situations
– Cirque du Monde, 2012
Social Circus students currently enrolled through Thrive have shown amazing growth since beginning training with Ignite Circus in June 2018. Many are now working towards showing the community what positive role models they have become by training for positions of leadership as young ambassadors with Cirkaskina. As part of this project, they will work with the students from the Autism Society to help teach them the circus skills needed to create an inclusive, sensory-friendly series of performances that will help to communicate a shared sense of culture across our student demographics. This social interaction will help students better understand how to create a circus performance that will speak to their audience in a meaningful manner, while creating a unique community through a shared sense of belonging.
A Sense of Belonging
A sense of belonging, created through a shared practice of circus arts, is exactly why this practice can be such a powerful tool in helping to foster a sense of community (Seymour, 2014; Bolton, 2014).
“The peer support that I have gotten through my new circus family is unreal . . . I’ve been able to let my guard down and allow myself to be vulnerable, while finally developing a positive relationship with my body. Circus has given me something that I love.”
– Tiffany, Ignite Circus Social Circus student
The space in which circus is practiced is traditionally a supportive safe space where people are free from judgement to be themselves and experiment and explore their own unique talents and creativity without repercussions for being “outside the norm.”