circus harmony

The Arches of Circus Harmony
Jessica Hentoff

St. Louis’ Regional Arts Commission announced its very first Social Impact Fund grants today, with nearly one-third of the 28 winning projects related to Ferguson.

One of the winners is Circus Harmony, an organization that promotes social change though circus arts. The group will use its $2,200 grant to bring kids from Ferguson into the tent.

Circus Harmony performers join with members of the Galilee Circus in July in Haifa, Israel.
Photo provided by Jessica Hentoff

Jessica Hentoff has gone all the way to Israel to bring people of markedly different perspectives together. This summer, Hentoff, artistic and executive director of Circus Harmony, took members of her tumbling group, the St. Louis Arches, to the Middle East. There, the Arches joined with Arab and Israeli youth from the Galilee Circus, where they worked and learned together, setting aside religious, political and cultural differences.

The St. Louis Arches perform at Circus Flora in 2010.
Provided by Circus Flora

Update July 29: The St. Louis Arches arrived safely in the city this morning. The nine performers and three adults had their stay in Israel extended for almost a week after flights in and out of that country were temporarily halted.

The trip was Arches' member Donesha Buhr’s first time out of the United States. She says, while she enjoyed the experience, she’s excited to be home.

Jessica Hentoff

Ari Maayan flies through the air with the greatest of ease, a daring young man on the flying trapeze — in the parking lot of St. Louis’ Union Station.

Maayan, 14, is the chief unicyclist with Circus Harmony, an organization with the goal of teaching kids circus skills and life lessons. He’s been with Circus for three years but on Wednesday, he enjoyed his first trapeze swing, complete with a back flip into the net below.

“It was really cool, it’s really like flying,” Maayan said.

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