It might have been someplace dark and seedy. Or it might just have been you older brother’s bedroom, the corner office or even the cookie jar on the kitchen counter. It doesn’t matter: it was somewhere you were told, in some fashion, not to go. But you went there anyway.
Cirque d’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 d’Art Theater in Portsmouth. Founded in 2001 by Pegi Wilkes, the Cirque d’Art is housed in an unprepossessing warehouse like space behind a bank in downtown Portsmouth.
The rather sad drive into town doesn’t prepare you for the guts and enthusiasm to be encountered inside the theater’s doors. Cirque d’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 d’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 “butt-hang”.
CLICK HERE TO HEAR SOUND CLIP: The butt hang with Kayla Curtis, 14-and a chat with Cirque d ‘Art directors Pegi Wilkes and Trisha Schmidt.