“I remember watching back-to-back performances of my grandmother’s Waldorf school-based circus. If the show played four times in one weekend, we crowded onto wooden benches for every show…” recalls Sieglinde Basmajian wistfully describing her childhood in Germany. Her grandmother’s popular circus program engaged families for thirty years, and ultimately inspired Sieglinde to found her own program at Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm.
Soon Summerfield’s Circus Waldissima will celebrate nineteen years of delighting community members with its own dazzling performances. Students from fourth grade through high school create a fantastic collision of costumes, acrobatics, dance, trapeze arts, and live orchestra to create the Circus Waldissima show.
How do circus arts fit into a Waldorf-based curriculum? What do students gain from becoming circus performers? When can your family come and see the glorious show? Is your child ready to join the circus? Step right up as we bring you into the ring!
Act One: Circus Arts and Waldorf Education
As you enter Sophia Hall for your first performance of Circus Waldissima, take care to notice your surroundings. The lively-colored painted props that line your walk? They were designed, painted, and cut by students (and some parents). The high ceilings criss-crossed by rafters? Sophia Hall’s architecture creates outstanding acoustics for the student’s live orchestra music and supports a hanging trapeze. Now taking in the trapeze, you’ll note it is a bit high up for a growing fourth grader to reach. Never fear, the high school stage crew will help their younger school mates reach dazzling heights. The dramatic lighting highlighting stunning acts of balance as the students form a high standing human pyramid? Again, students are behind the controls…
“Circus blends movement with theatrics. It brings together the disciplines of music, art, verbal expression, and physical education by putting it all into a story or show,” explains Sieglinde. Waldorf education seeks to support the development of a well-rounded child who can master self expression through the arts, movement, and verbalization.
“In Germany Waldorf schools almost always have a circus program,” says Sieglinde noting that more and more American Waldorf schools also boast a circus program. Movement teachers often take up leading the circus as many circus arts offer excellent opportunities for brain and body task integration and mastering spacial dynamics. ”Juggling is a great left right coordination challenge,” explains Sieglinde.
“Circus also reaches across the grades to pull the students together across the ages. The mentoring that happens as the older students support the younger students is really wonderful. While preparing for a show, high schoolers do the children’s make-up and hair, and later the high schoolers do the backstage work. The younger students feel so special to have the attention of the older students, and the high schoolers feel very empowered.”
Act Two: Circus Waldissima Performances
Circus Waldissima is show you won’t want to miss! The troupe makes appearances during school events (May Faire in past years and during last year’s Winter Faire), often puts on open air shows during the Santa Rosa Downtown Market, and welcomes the community for annual shows at Sophia Hall each Spring. After 19 years of wowing the community and sold out shows, Circus Waldissima is ready to move out under its very own “big top” tent. The troupe hopes to garner funds and support to make the purchase of a circus tent as part of its twentieth birthday celebration next year.
March 2011 Circus Waldissima’s 19th Annual Show
Circus Wadissima offers three full shows in one weekend: March 25-26, 2011. This children’s circus will dazzle and enchant you with unicycle,trapeze, clowns acrobats jugglers and so much more. Arrive early to find parking and enjoy pre-circus food and fun. Class families are preparing popcorn, baked treats, and drinks for sale. Clowns and circus members may also offer face painting and balloon sculpting in exchange for your donation.
Friday, March 25th 7:00 pm
Saturday, March 26th 2:00 pm
Saturday, March 26th 7:00 pm
Advanced tickets recommended:
Adults $14 and Children $7
Purchase at Summerfield’s main office or by phone at (707)575-7194
Summerfield Waldorf School & Farm’s Sophia Hall
655 Willowside Road,Santa Rosa,CA
Act Three: Join the Circus!
Sign up for Circus Summer Camp. Would your son or daughter like to jump on a unicycle or learn to juggle? How about learning to make circus masks or preform magic tricks? Intermediate and Advanced students will even get to take a field trip to Oakland to learn flying trapeze! Summerfield’s Circus Camp invites community members to sign up for a unique summer camp experience this June 2011. See the flyer here.
Keep an eye out for Flying Trapeze workshops too coming in Spring 2011! Trapeze Arts often Partners with Summerfield Waldorf School to assemeble a full size flying trapeze rig on the Summerfield campus. (Read more about last year’s workshops here.)
Summerfield Students are invited to join the school Circus Club. The club is now registering all interested students in Grade 4 and up. The Circus Club meets after school twice a week during the school year. Students learn circus feats of every kind – unicycle, trapeze, clowning, juggling, tumbling, balancing, and comedy. The Circus Club coordinates and produces the much anticipated “Summerfield Circus Waldissima,” with sold out performances every spring. To download a Circus Club registration form please click here.