News Column

Kids clown around at circus clinic

July 14, 2014

By Jessica Meszaros, Sun Sentinel

July 14--FORT LAUDERDALE -- Split into two groups, 36 kids faced each other on a ballroom floor Monday, took three deep breaths and awaited their cue.

"Joyful!" an instructor yelled. Some kids smiled wide to depict the emotion. Others stood on tippy toe and stretched their arms as high as they could.

Cirque Dreams, a global circus company based out of Pompano Beach, was schooling local children in the fine art of stagecraft in a program called Cirque Dreams KidsTime. It's the production company's first ever educational and interactive kids program.

Children between the ages of 10 and 16 will train for eight hours Monday and Tuesday at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in stand-up comedy, improvisation, clowning, slapstick, jump rope, hula hoop, contortion, animal movement and more.

"I hope to learn different skills that I can use," Felipe Bravo, 12, said. It's his first time doing any kind of circus training, and he really enjoys the clowning, he said. "I like that you can just express yourself in all of it," Bravo said.

After a short emoting session, the kids moved on to jump rope training with three professional instructors.

"I've always found it interesting, but I never really learned to master it yet, so I'm excited to do that," Lacey Chordae, 15, said about jumping rope.

The children each received a blue and white striped jump rope to practice with. They learned how to jump rope with their feet straight, side-to-side, front and back, alternating feet front and back and jumping jack style, just to name a few.

"Now we're going to stop for a moment," Neil Goldberg, Cirque Dreams founder and artistic director, said. "You're going to audition for me."

The children had to combine their emotion training with their jump rope training to do an improvisation performance with music.

"Use your creativity and your imagination," Golberg said. "That's what it's all about."

On one side of the Porter Riverview Ballroom, Goldberg sat. Across from him, two children performed at a time, moving towards him.

An instructor called out which emotion the children had to convey just before show time. Some kids did cartwheels -- two hands, one hand, or no hands on the floor, while gripping their ropes. Other kids jump roped in between forward and back flips.

"Based on how these kids perform, I may just pick a few of them and put them in the show next week," Goldberg said.

Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy is set to play July 22 through July 27 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Goldberg will choose which children can take part in the show on Tuesday.

"If this is really successful, we may take a closer look at this next year and turn it into a full-time, maybe four-week program," Goldberg said., or Twitter: @JMMeszaros


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Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel (FL)

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