Prescott Circus headed to national festival – East Bay Times – California News

Prescott Circus headed to national festival – East Bay Times – California News

Prescott Circus Theatre is taking its show on the road.

Seven performers in the Oakland children’s nonprofit circus program are headed to the national American Youth Circus Festival in New Jersey, and Prescott is hoping the community can help cover travel expenses.

Prescott Circus Theatre is a free after-school, weekend and summer program at eight Oakland schools. Youngsters are taught juggling, acrobatics, clowning, unicycling — and stilt walking, which the seven will perform at the national festival.

“We exclusively work with schools where 60 percent or more of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches,” said David Hunt, Prescott Circus’ executive and artistic director.

“The Bay Area has a lot of wonderful circus performing arts programs, but they are quite costly,” he said.

Attending the national youth festival, which occurs only once every two years, is a big deal for the young acrobats, Hunt said.

“Youth from all over the country attend workshops and perform,” Hunt said.

The seven young people ages 8 to 16 will perform “Higher Ground, A Tribute to the African Roots of Stilt Dancing” during the festival.

The choreographed dance honors the tradition of West African stilt dancing, introduced to Prescott Circus by Baba Shaka Zulu, a New Orleans third-generation stilt dancer. The students’ colorful costumes are based on traditional Caribbean and West African stilt-dancing costumes, Hunt said.

For most of the students, the trip Wednesday to Trenton, New Jersey, will be their first time traveling outside California and flying in an airplane.

“The opportunity to travel, to go outside my own community, and perform and interact with others,…

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