Circus is a family affair for the Lovelaces of Affton
After being diagnosed with a genetic disease that affects the connective tissues, Chase Lovelace, 17, had to give up gymnastics, but found a new passion as an entertainer with Circus Harmony. photo by Diana Linsley
by Jaime Mowers
For one Affton family, the circus has meant more than juggling, riding unicycles and swinging from trapezes – it's been a lifesaver.
Ken and Lygia Lovelace and their 10 children – five biological and five adopted – found a special place in Circus Harmony after moving to St. Louis in 2009. Five of their children are involved in the circus.
The couple's biological children have a genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects the connective tissues that support the skin, bones, blood vessels and other organs. Defects in connective tissues cause the signs and symptoms of the disease to vary from mildly loose joints to life-threatening complications.
Seven-year-old Lovelace twins Emerson (left) and Emalee during a recent Circus Harmony practice session. photo by Diana Linsley
Chase Lovelace, 17, had to give up his love of gymnastics in 2010 because of his symptoms.
"He was a gymnast, but he was starting to have pain in his legs," said Lygia Lovelace, who teaches piano lessons and home schools her children.
Determined to find something similar her son could still participate in, Lygia Lovelace stumbled on Circus Harmony, a nonprofit organization that teaches the art of life through circus. There are circus classes of all kinds for children and adults alike – juggling, clowning, tumbling, balancing, tight-rope walking, hula hopping, aerial skills and more.
Jessica Hentoff, artistic and executive director of Circus Harmony, has always stressed that everyone can find a place in the circus no matter their skill or talent level.
Read more: http://www.southcountytimes.com/Articles-Features-i-2014-06-06-192498.114137-Circus-Harmony.html#123#ixzz33rNCN5UD
Follow us: @SoCoTimes on Twitter | SouthCountyTimes on Facebook