Cirque du K

One of my favorite things at Kalamazoo College is its Cirque du K club; its very own circus club. Last year, when I was a first-year student, I started out my fall term attending a few “playtimes.” Playtimes take place two nights out of the week. They’re free-for-all sessions, where students can learn new skills, hone skills or just socialize with a cool group of people. “Skills” can be 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 doing a few tricks in the air.

Hanging from the ceiling in the dancer position at Cirque du K practice
Me on the Lyra in the “Dancer” position!

Circus is a very versatile sport. It’s 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. 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 the fall term 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 and improve my skills. 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 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 was not the case. I was able to tie a foot-knot on the ground and still perform many skills without needing the ability to climb. Since taking the class, I have greatly advanced my skills in the silks!

Dejah Crystal hanging out in the Lyra at Cirque du K practice
Me hanging out in the Lyra.

Another part of the Cirque du K club is its officers. This year, my sophomore year, I was elected Toy Master — AKA manager — of the Cirque du 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 find out more about what goes into setting up a showcase. Overall, I would recommend that incoming students swing by one of our playtimes and give it a shot!

Cirque du K practice featuring two participants in Superman position
Partner Acro move called “Superman” with me as the base, and my friend Kathryn as the flyer.

Dejah Crystal, ’17