Saturday, July 15, 2000

Clowning around: Kids learn circus skills


Camp shows tricks of trade

By JEFF CARLTON
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] PERFORMERS WAIT TO TAKE THE STAGE DURING CIRCUS 2000 AT DEVOU PARK ON FRIDAY.
(Mike Simons photos)
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        The little girl with her feet tucked behind her head is Savanah Whitaker, 10, of Covington. Friends predict she will be a contortionist, and right now she is practicing her favorite move, “The Basket.”

        She tucks her feet against the back of her neck, locks her hands together over her head and allows people to carry her around like a picnic basket.

        Amid the unicycles, stilts and Hula Hoops scattered about the Behringer-Crawford Museum in Devou Park, Ms. Whitaker doesn't look a bit out of place.

        About 30 children, ages 7-15, are finishing a one-week circus camp run by the Covington-based My Nose Turns Red Theater Company. The camp concludes at 7:30 tonight with a performance by the campers and counselors at the museum.

        Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children.

        This is the camp's fourth year, although the theater company — founded by Jean St. John and Steve Roenker of Covington — has been operating in the area since 1994.

[photo] AMANDA DAVIDSON, 10, OF NORWOOD BALANCES A PLATE ON A STICK DURING CIRCUS 2000.
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        Experienced counselors such as Julie Janosick of Cold Spring, a graduate of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, teach the campers basic clown skills and take part in the final performance.

        “I try to teach them stilt walking, unicycling, juggling and everything in between,” Ms. Janosick said. “We're trying to get the kids to be hyper rather than calming them down.”

        Brian Dew, 15, has been with the theater company for two years. A tight-rope specialist, the Ryland Heights teen is proud of his other talents, too.

        “I also get smacked around with a board,” he says.

       



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