Desert Marigold Circus Club

Circus Arts have always been a part of the curriculum of Waldorf Schools since the beginnings of Waldorf education. At Desert Marigold School, “Circus Waldorkus” was started in 2011 by teacher and administrator Deana Douglas. In 2014-2015 Jens Larson began coaching the club with Deana serving as assistant-coach and administration liaison. Starting in the 2021-2022 school year, Circus Waldorkus will be a program of Phoenix Youth Circus Arts, under Jens’ direction.


4th and 5th graders will meet on Thursdays from 2:15 – 3:45. Club members will learn the basics of all the circus arts such as juggling (balls, rings, scarves, flower sticks, diabolos, hooping, poi), balancing (tight wire, rola bola, unicycling), acrobatics (tumbling, partner acrobatics, and human pyramids), and clowning! This year, for the first time, aerial arts will be offered (silks and lyra). No prior experience is necessary, only a desire to attend regularly, try new things, and work cooperatively and creatively with other members of the club while learning how to perform. The club season ends with a show for family, friends, and the entire school community together with the Wednesday “Circus Troupe”

Classes will be held outdoors and club members are expected to help set up and pack up the mats and equipment for each club practice session. In the event of bad weather, we will try to find an indoor space where we can still work safely.


All club members in 6th grade and above will meet on Wednesdays from 2:15 – 3:45PM. Club members will learn all the basic circus arts (similar to the younger group) but will also learn stilt-walking and more advanced skills in all disciplines as their ability and experience allow. Students in this group will be invited to perform at school events such as Winter Faire and will occasionally be invited to represent Desert Marigold School at other public events throughout the year.

Classes will be held outdoors and club members are expected to help set up and pack up the mats and equipment for each club practice session. In the event of bad weather, we will try to find an indoor space where we can still work safely.


Because our classes will be held outdoors, we will be setting up rigging and both groups will be able to learn the fun and challenging arts of aerial silks and lyra (hoop).


All parents and club members must understand that participation in the club will not be risk-free as long as the current covid virus pandemic persists. To minimize the risks of a coach or student transmitting the virus to another during a circus session it will be necessary for students and coaches to wear masks throughout our club sessions . Circus coaches and students work in extremely close contact to one another – coaches spot students and students balance with each other. If a student wishes to participate in the club but would like to observe additional precautions, we can work that out with the coaching staff as long as student safety is preserved. Students would be expected to not attend a club session if they are showing COVID-like symptoms or if they believe they have been exposed. A recent negative COVID test can help the staff be as fair and safe as possible in a specific situation.

Registration for Circus Club

To register for the club, parents must:

Download and fill out the two-page PYCA registration/waiver form

Submit contact information on the DMS circus club google form

[The google form requires that you upload your registration/waiver form]

Club Calendar

Click here for the 2021-2022 club calendar

Key date Saturday, May 14: proposed date for final show. Please keep this date in mind and avoid scheduling family events that conflict with this if at all possible!

Additional Events

Optional events outside school and club practice time are offered periodically. Such events have included weekend workshops with specialty instructors, group attendance at circuses that are nearby, and field trips to a local flying trapeze facility. Parents are encouraged to share information and ideas about such activities with the coaching staff – participation in these can greatly enrich the circus club experience.

Club Fees

Club fees will be calculated on a semester basis at the rate of $15 per session. Payment can be made for the full amount of the semester by check or credit card. If special circumstances require financial assistance or a payment plan, please contact Jens directly at Otherwise, payment for an entire semester is required for membership in the club. If a student joins the club after the starting date, a pro-rated payment can be made by check.

Checks can be made out to “TAPAZ-PYCA” (the Technical Assistance Partnership of Arizona – – is the fiscal sponsor of PYCA. (TAPAZ sponsors many small non-profit community projects and is a branch of the Vitalyst Health Foundation).

Credit card payments can be made by clicking here

Wednesday Circus Troupe first semester: 10 practice sessions: $150

Thursday Circus Stars semester first semester: 9 practice sessions: $135

Wednesday Circus Troupe second semester; 18 sessions: $270

Thursday Circus Star second semester; 18 sessions: $270

What to Bring / What to Wear

Club members should bring a water bottle as well as their mask to practice sessions, and wear comfortable movement clothes (no jeans).  Leggings/tights and leotards are good for aerial work but not required. Shirts that can be well tucked-in are important. There is some time between school dismissal and the start of practice sessions – that time can be used to change clothes if needed and eat a small snack as well. Jewelry can be a hazard when being spotted or doing partner work and should be removed before practice sessions.

Circus Club Coaches

Jens Larsondirector and founder of Phoenix Youth Circus Arts

Orlene Carlos

Orlene Carlos trained in China and at the Clown Conservatory at San Francisco’s Circus Center. Her main roles currently are foot juggler, clown, mother and multidimensional time traveler. She’s performed in tents, theatres, the streets and ashrams all around the world. She loves connecting with people from all different cultures and countries and ways of life. Orlene has been seen with the Zoppé Family Circus, Flynn Creek Circus, Circus Monti, Circus Bella, Piccolo Zoppé, Krystallpalast Variete, America’s Got Talent, the Ellen Degeneres Show and had fun times on the Gong Show.

Orlene has enjoyed teaching children of all ages. She has directed camps and programs across the country and is excited to be joining the DMS circus team!

Evalina Tinkelpaugh Aerial and Hoop Specialist

Evalina is an experience entertainer and instructor for aerial silks and lyra, hula hooping, and stilt walking. She has performed and instructed all over the Valley of the Sun for many years.