Running Away to Join the Circus

Over the weekend, we visited the Grand Opening of The Circus Place in Hillsborough. They are teaching circus arts to children in a non-competitive environment. It was pointed out to me by a staff member that ‘mistakes are the road to learning’ and there is a cooperative effort as the kids work together. Nice, right?

Every staff member we came in contact with was patient and genuinely interested in giving the kids a taste of the equipment and skills that can be learned. My kids were inspired, wanting a tightrope in the yard and more juggling paraphenalia. The space is nice and new, and so is the equipment.

From years of having kids with a certain set of challenges, help from various professional therapists and voracious reading on the subjects, I could see so many benefits of the activities being offered here. From a sensory standpoint, most activities brought real awareness to where your body is in space. The hand-eye coordination that can be taught and developed is so important for solid function in everyday activities. I watched my kids very carefully and noticed that balance, core strength, coordination and focus were all addressed by the activities presented. Saying that the kids were engrossed and having fun is an understatement.

Ethan had an encounter with Craig Quat, the director of the program, that gave me chills. As far as I am concerned, he’s a genius with extrodinary gifts and someone I want my boys around.

To understand what he was doing with Ethan, watch the video here.
To understand the kind of people we are talking about here, check out….

This is an exceptional group of people, I could feel it in the room. I am really excited about the prospect of my kids developing such interesting and productive skills. The boys want to know when they start.

Although I am generally opposed to ‘school’ – this one seems just perfect for us.

2 thoughts on “Running Away to Join the Circus

  1. ucanpreschool

    Looks like an incredible experience. I just wrote about how my father used to teach his elementary school students how to do acts and put on their own circus show. Your boys look like they had a blast. You have a great blog. I truly enjoyed poking around on it. 🙂

  2. Shoebox Tour America 2012

    Greetings! Did you know that the world’s best juggler, Wes Peden, will be performing in Hillsborough on May 22 at Circus Place at 7pm? The Shoebox Tour visits from Stockholm, Sweden, and Mr. Peden will join this year’s cast.

    A full press release follows, and for interviews or additional information, please contact tour director Jay Gilligan at We would love to be on your blog if possible!

    Shoebox Tour, a modern juggling show that has played in Canada, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Japan, and Iceland, returns to America this spring with a new international cast.

    International Jugglers’ Association (IJA) Gold Medal winners Wes Peden and Jay Gilligan created this year’s show during an intense four-month residency in Germany. More than 700 new tricks made for 4 hands were researched, documented, and then choreographed into a stage performance. Both jugglers have won the IJA Juniors Stage Championships, 11 years apart in their respective careers. They also share American roots, but currently reside in Stockholm, Sweden. Erik Nilsson, a graduate from the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, will provide a live original soundtrack on acoustic and electronic drums.

    The name “Shoebox Tour” refers to smaller venues visited in locations straying off the beaten path. The tour started as a reaction against corporate show business where the focus is more on making money than performing. SBT brings juggling to audiences that normally do not have access to the variety arts.

    Jay has performed in 26 different countries, and is the head teacher of juggling at the Swedish National Circus School. Wes began his career at the age of 3, and has been voted the best juggler in the world for 3 years by the online juggling community. Erik toured with Robyn, Dido, and Coldplay, and had the honor to play music at the Royal Wedding of the Princess of Sweden in 2010.

    Tour dates, venue addresses, show times, and prices can be found at

    Additional Information & Resources:

    SBTA12 Trailer:

    Wes Peden & Jay Gilligan duet act “43 Tricks”:

    Erik Nilsson and The Little Gang:

    Erik Nilsson & Jay Gilligan duet show “REFLEX”:

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