The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Grinnell Circus Club Trains Fantastical Skills

There are no tigers and no Siamese twins, but being in the Grinnell College Circus club is hard work.

“When you say ‘circus,’ everyone thinks of the Ringling Brothers, Moscow, ‘Old Circus,” Gaelyn Hutchinson, the club’s founder said. “[Cirque Neauvou] interweaves a lot more dance, physical theater, movement and even music.” From the Toronto School of Circus Arts, to the international stage, Hutchinson considers circus performing to be another extension of physical expression.

Grinnell College Circus club founder Gaelyn Hutchinson. Photograph by Travis Law.

Although his main circus act is the slack wire, this year Hutchinson’s personal goal is to work on a one-layer ring called a cywheel.

“It’s like flicking a penny, except you’re the penny,” he said.

Hutchinson started the club about a year after transferring to Grinnell.

“It really was all a little subtle boasting on my part”, Hutchinson said, “and then after some well-intentioned peer pressure from friends, the club took shape.”

As a result, all Grinnellians have access to the playful world of circus performance. Hutchinson started Circus Club last spring with 12 participants, only one with prior circus experience, as well as with a 40 foot silk rope, an aerial loop and a slack wire. Since all of these items were purchased by him, Hutchinson hopes to petition the Activities board for active funding of his unorthodox club.

“Circus arts are incredibly fantastical,” Hutchinson said, “and when you do them part of your life becomes a fantasy”.

One of the circus events, the silk rope, or “aerial silk,” uses just the friction that the body creates with the fabric to hold a person 30-50 feet in the air. The two silk strands are hung so that a person with some acrobatic talent can use the counterbalance of the silks to perform different tricks. The three main types of tricks with this apparatus are climbs, wraps and drops. Without the use of safety nets or a harasses, simply by twisting the silk around their body in different ways, performers drop themselves in controlled falls as far as 20 feet. However, for the tamer tumbler or everyday circus enthusiast the club also offers training in juggling, unicycle and any number of other entertaining endeavors with less of a dare-devil edge to them.

“We have the opportunity to do so much,” Hutchinson said. “If you’re interested in it we want to find a way to help you do it.”

The club meets on Tuesdays from 8:30-11 p.m., Thursdays from 6:45-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 6-9 p.m. in the multipurpose dance studio. Even if you don’t have prior

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *