As reported recently in NPR’s Deceptive Cadence, an 11 year old violinist named Dylan Hamme got to meet and play a duet with his music idol, Joshua Bell, on live national television no less. It seems he was busking on 5th Avenue near Rockefeller Center and was asked in to the NBC studio of the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda.
Cirque dâ€™Art Theatre
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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.