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Friday, April 22, 2011

Kids clown around with Circus Smirkus in Kennebunk


By Amy Johnson yccs@seacoastonline.com

April 21, 2011

For those who have always dreamed of running away with the circus, this may provide a chance to get a sneak peak of what life would be like.
River Tree Arts is holding a week-long Circus Smirkus vacation camp with circus expert Rick Davis.
"Kids will be learning the fundamentals of circus arts; juggling, clowning, balance tricks, diablo sticks and performing," said Juliette Coldreck, marketing coordinator for River Tree Arts. "We will also have art stations throughout the Town Hall for kids to create their own circus posters, flags and tickets and to experiment with clown make-up,"
Based in Vermont, Circus Smirkus is a children's travelling circus that performs throughout New England during the summer months to sell-out crowds. Shows are held under an authentic big-top tent.
The performers, called Troupers, are between the ages of 10 to18 years old are known to dazzle and amaze the crowds. Circus Smirkus has performed locally in the summer at Rockin' Horse Stables in Kennebunkport.
Coldreck attends the Circus Smirkus performances with her family each summer and had researched the company's artist-in-residency program. She had wondered if it could be converted into a camp during vacation week.
"Circus Smirkus was receptive to the idea and we were able to get one of their most talented teachers after we realized the head of residency programs at Circus Smirkus, Rick Davis, and River Tree Arts registrar Nancy Garrick were old friends," said Coldreck.
Davis, a former clown with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, switched to teaching after performing for many years.
"Teaching school kids about the secrets of the circus is something I really enjoy," said Davis while surrounded by the laughing, happy kids attending the camp Monday, April 18.
The kids had been busy balancing plates on sticks and peacock feathers on their heads, and making tickets for their end-of-the-week performance.
River Tree Arts is a community arts center that offers music, art and performing arts classes at its location in Lower Village Kennebunk. A complete list of class offerings can be found at www.rivertreearts.org.
This particular camp has been divided into two daily sessions. Mornings are set aside for kindergarten through second-graders. The afternoon camp session is for third-graders and up. The camp will conclude with an all-campers performance for parents and friends.
"Circus Smirkus is known and loved in our community," said Steve Joffe, executive director of River Tree Arts. "The week-long camp offers a different opportunity of participation with kids receiving 15 hours of arts instruction."
Circus Smirkus will be returning to perform again this summer with four shows on Aug. 8 and 9. It will be the group's sixth summer visit to Kennebunkport.
The summer performances are hosted by Kennebunkport Consolidated School PTA.
Tickets to the summer Circus Smirkus performances will be able to be purchased at 1-800-Smirkus. Visit www.smirkus.org for more information.

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