Billie Holiday’s 100th birthday. Lady keeps singing the blues.
Cirque dâ€™Art Theatre
Listen to the Story
For a one-hour broadcast highlighting the performing arts in Southern Ohio, Sal Piscioneri and I traveled to the Cirque dâ€™Art Theater in Portsmouth. Founded in 2001 by Pegi Wilkes, the Cirque dâ€™Art is housed in an unprepossessing warehouse like space behind a bank in downtown Portsmouth.
The rather sad drive into town doesnâ€™t prepare you for the guts and enthusiasm to be encountered inside the theaterâ€™s doors. Cirque dâ€™Art is a school for circus performers, with a special emphasis on providing gymnastic and acrobat training to special needs kids.
Pegi Wilkes and Assistant Director Trisha Schmidt told us of a number of physically challenged, neglected and sometimes abused kids who are brought to Cirque dâ€™Art for therapy. (Many of the participants are mainstream kids who come from loving homes). The cavernous space is filled with trapezes, rings, ropes, parallel bars, mats, trampolines and everything you need to become a star in the circus, of a physically fit young person in a warm environment. Behind a dreary office block in Portsmouth, Ohio, you too can learn to do a â€œbutt-hangâ€.
CLICK HERE TO HEAR SOUND CLIP: The butt hang with Kayla Curtis, 14-and a chat with Cirque d â€˜Art directors Pegi Wilkes and Trisha Schmidt.