Students run away with the circus for workshops

Students run away with the circus for workshops
Posted on 05/08/2019
Students and instructors gather after a circus arts workshop.This semester, Plumas Charter School students at the Quincy Learning Center were treated to a series of circus arts workshops by the local circus troupe Quircus.

Over the course of three sessions at the new Healthy Bodies jiujitsu training space at the Plumas Pines Shopping Center, seventh- through 12th-graders learned acro yoga from Kevin Davis and Jacq von Meyerl, poi spinning and finger cymbals from Rayen Lowry, and hula hooping from Lindsay Davis and Liz Ramsey. They even participated in a surprise stiltwalking parade with additional troupe members!

With rigorous stretching and blood-pumping hula routines, the workshops encouraged healthy physical activity. But more than that, said Lowry, they taught students about self-confidence in learning new skills.

“It can be frustrating to drop a circus prop or hit yourself in the back of the head, but the students stayed motivated to keep trying,” said Lowry, who also directs Quircus. “Over time, they gained more confidence in the skills they had been learning, and began experimenting with creating their own tricks.”

“Sometimes even with lots of practice, it doesn’t turn out perfectly. And that’s OK,” said von Meyerl.

Teamwork and trust were additional skills students developed while executing acrobatic balancing poses. Lowry reported that students stayed positive and supported each other—figuratively as well as physically!

On yet another level, the Quircus workshops offered subtle lessons in diversity and acceptance. “Circus arts can teach young people that it’s OK to be different,” said Lowry. “In the circus, creativity and imagination are celebrated. This acceptance of unique skills supports self-confidence and positive self-esteem in young people and the young-at-heart.”

Having been awarded a Common Good Community Foundation grant at the end of last year, Quircus decided to use the money to offer the PCS workshop series. “PCS puts tremendous value on community partnerships like this recent connection with Quircus,” said Executive Director Taletha Washburn. “We are so grateful to organizations that help create amazing and unique local learning opportunities for our students.”

Washburn also mentioned PCS’s partnership with Healthy Bodies, offering her thanks to owner Keith Barnett, who welcomed Quircus and PCS to use the gym’s new training space for their workshops.

Quircus is a community-based circus that “engages people of all ages, walks of life, and experience levels to learn, educate, and enjoy a creative outlet through circus arts.” Lowry invites interested community members to consider volunteering with the troupe. Learn more at quircus.com.

To find out more about The Common Good Community Foundation, visit commongoodplumas.org.

And for more information about Plumas Charter School, visit plumascharterschool.org or call (530) 283-3851.

In the photo: Circus arts students and instructors gather on the mat after a workshop at Healthy Bodies in Quincy. Back, from left: Abby Koskinen, Joseph Laisy, Trent Cash, Ellie Koskinen, Sara Aswad, and Nathan Carnes. Middle, from left: Lily Davis, Quircus Director Rayen Lowry, instructor Kevin Davis, instructor Jacq von Meyerl, and Blake Bridges. Front, from left: Simone Smith, Honisty Tuell, Lilah Washburn, Nala Lowry, Jacey Taylor, Leo Kusener, and Frankie Cooper. Lying in front: Andrew Dolezal. Photo courtesy Quircus

Watch students learning via our YouTube channel!