Phoenix Youth Circus Arts

[Moab Sun News file photo]

For many of us, a side-effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been a serious case of cabin fever. But Phoenix Youth Circus Arts might just have the cure: in-person circus arts classes. The group is returning to Moab for a fourth year to host two-day camps for kids ages 7 to 15, as well as a series of circus arts classes for adults in the evenings – with extra public health precautions.

Circus skills for young people

Campers will learn circus basics such as juggling, acrobatics, balancing, aerial skills and clowning.

“The kids will learn the basics of many different circus arts. We try to schedule the day so they get to try a little bit of everything,” said PYCA director Jens Larson.

Running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, the first session runs from Monday, July 13 through Friday, July 24; the second goes from Monday, July 20 through Friday, July 24. Campers may attend one or both sessions which will take place at the Center Street Gym (203 E. Center St.).

Larson said campers will have a lot of room to use their own imaginations in creating their circus act – in fact, that’s highly encouraged.

“As long as it’s fun to do and fun to watch, we’ll put it in the show,” he said.

He said that even after years of teaching circus skills to kids, he is continually impressed by the unique creativity of his students.

“Kids can invent their own things... take a new prop and just come up with something,” he said. “It continues to surprise me.”

Larson has an extensive background in circus arts. He was a competitive college gymnast, and then what was originally intended to be “a lark for a year after college before going on to graduate school” became nearly two decades of performing a multitude of acts with circuses all over the world. Larson then had a career as a math teacher before deciding “that wasn’t quite fun enough” and founding Phoenix Youth Circus Arts in 2014.

This year, the camp will be modified from its normal structure to protect public health amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. PYCA will be admitting fewer campers this year so they can work in small groups that are spaced out across the large Center Street Gym. Some high-contact activities, such as partner acrobatics, will be avoided; hand-washing and equipment-cleaning will be frequent.

“We can be safe and take care of one another and still meet and enjoy working together. It’ll be different, but I’m glad people in Moab are willing to work with us on this and do it the right way,” he said, adding, “I think most things we can do just fine with a mask.”

Camp cost is $200 per week per camper, though discounts are available for kids attending both weeks of camp and for siblings attending the same session. Limited scholarships – $75 per week – will be available. Full payment must be made to secure a spot; PYCA will refund money in the event that circus camp must be canceled.

Information about registration is on the PYCA website, phxyouthcircus.org/moab-utah-circus-summer-camp-2020. For more information on scholarships, or with other questions about circus camp, contact Larson at jens@phxyouthcircus.org.

For adults

Everyone age 16 and up can join the circus, too, with evening classes running from 7 to 8:30 p.m. from Monday, July 13 to Thursday, July 16; and from Monday, July 20 to Thursday, July 23.

Adults can learn juggling, balancing, acrobatics and aerial arts at eight classes. Attendees may go to pick classes that interest them or sign up for all of them. The cost is $17 per class or four classes for $60. To sign up, go to https://phxyouthcircus.org/moab-utah-youth-adult-circus-arts-classes-in-july/

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