One of my favorite things at Kalamazoo College is its Cirque de K club; its very own circus club. Last year, when I was a first year, I started out my fall quarter attending a few “playtimes.” Playtimes take place two nights out of the week, and it is a free-for-all, where students can come and learn new skills, hone skills they already know, or just socialize with a cool group of people. Now when I say “skills,” I mean anything from ground skills — such as juggling, partner acrobatics, or balancing on the big ball — to aerial skills, in the Lyra or the Silks. And the best part is, you do not need any previous skills to try it out. You can come to a playtime as a very beginner and you can leave your first day, already being able to do a few tricks in the air.
Circus is a very versatile sport; it is all about knowing your limits and strengths and working with them to find the best moves fit for you. Another really cool thing Kalamazoo College has is the Circus Arts gym class. Per-graduation requirements, you need to complete one gym credit —roughly five gym classes— and Circus Arts is an option. Again, you can take the class with no prior experience, or with a bunch of experience, and you can also take it as many times as you want. Because of schedule conflicts I was not able to take the gym class until fall quarter of my sophomore year, but I was so happy to finally get in! I had attended a playtime at least once a week for all of my first year at Kalamazoo College, so by the time I was in the gym class, I had a bit of experience. It was still a great opportunity to harness my skills and to improve in areas I wasn’t able to concur before. The silks is a great example. I do not, needless to say, have much core or arm strength, and unfortunately, the silks require a lot of both of those skills in order to climb them. Until the gym class I had always been under the assumption that because I could not climb the silks well I would not be able to do them at all, but I learned later that that was not the case. I was able to tie a foot-knot on the ground and still preform many skills without needing the ability to climb. Since taking the class I have been able to greatly advance my skills in the silks!
Another part of the Cirque de K club is it’s officers. This year, my sophomore year, I was elected Toy Master —AKA Manager— of the Cirque de K club. In this role I got to learn a lot more of the technical stuff about rigging the aerial equipment and organizing rigging and un-rigging for showcases. As a club we preform in several showcases on campus throughout the year, so it was very interesting this year to be able to find out more about what goes into setting up a showcase. Overall, I would recommend any incoming students to swing by one of our playtimes and give it a shot!
Dejah Crystal, K’18