Philadelphia School of Circus Arts
Producer: Karen Smyles
Philadelphia School of Circus Arts is the region’s center of contemporary circus arts. The school was founded in 2008 by Shana and Greg Kennedy who wanted to share their love of the circus arts with everyone. After traveling the world and working with several major circus organizations, like the enormously popular Cirque du Soleil, they decided to settle down here in Philadelphia and opened a school in Germantown.
Shana and Greg believe that circus is a performing art, much like music, dance or theater, not an athletic discipline, and what to introduce this idea to everyone. Students can take classes in aerials (static trapeze, corde lisse, aerial silks and lyra), juggling, unicycling, tightwire, tumbling and physical conditioning for students of all ages, ranging from 18 months to adults of any age. All students are encouraged to gain performance experience, whether in public forums or studio showcases for parents and friends.
Building upon the strong foundations of their successful school, later this year they will be opening a full-time school to train students who would like to become professional circus artists. Currently, there are very few options for these students in the U.S, leading most to travel overseas to train. Philadelphia will become the first city in the U.S. to offer higher education for circus artists.
Friday Arts sits down with Shana and Greg to find out how they really did “Run away and join the circus” and how the circus has now come to town!