Desert Marigold Circus Club

HISTORY – 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 has been a program of Phoenix Youth Circus Arts, under Jens’ direction.

THURSDAY CIRCUS CLUB – “Circus Stars”

4th and 5th graders will meet on Thursdays from 2:45 – 4:15PM. Pick-up is at 4:30PM at the school parking lot. 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, stilt-walking), acrobatics (tumbling, mini-trampoline, partner acrobatics, and human pyramids), aerial arts (silks, lyra, trapeze) and clowning! 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 on the lawn beside the main parking lot. 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. Parents are encouraged to arrive around 4:00 when students demonstrate something they have been working on at “show off” time.

WEDNESDAY CIRCUS CLUB – “Circus Troupe”

All club members in 6th grade and above will meet on Wednesdays from 2:45 – 4:15PM. Pick-up is at 4:30PM at the school parking. Club members will learn all the basic circus arts (similar to the younger group) but will also learn 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 Gala and will occasionally be invited to represent Desert Marigold School at other public events throughout the year.

Classes will be held outdoors on the lawn beside the main parking lot. 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. Parents are encouraged to arrive around 4:00 when students demonstrate something they have been working on at “show off” time.

AERIAL ARTS!

Once again, our club activities will include aerial arts on our outdoor rigging. Both the Wednesday Circus Troupe and the Thursday Circus Stars will be able to learn the fun and challenging arts of aerial silks, lyra (aerial hoop), and dance trapeze.

How to Join the Circus Club

To register for the club, parents must:

  • 1. Submit the online PYCA registration/waiver form
  • 2. Pay the semester fee before the first club session of each semester, (see “Club Fees” below)
  • 3. If an additional parent or relative needs to receive occasional circus club news via email, please send the name and email address to jens@phxyouthcircus.org

Club Calendar

It is expected that circus club is a commitment for the entire school year. In order to make it easier for families to budget and plan, club fees are collected on a semester basis. If for some reason a student will not be continuing throughout the entire school year, please inform the director in writing so we can plan ahead for the correct number of students.

Click here for the 2023-2024 club calendar

Key date (CHANGED!) – Friday, April 26, 2024: End of year show. This is the culminating event for Circus Waldorkus. Please make note of this date and avoid scheduling family events that conflict if at all possible! The circus club members will also have the option to perform at the Spring Faire (March 2)

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, field trips to a local flying trapeze facility, and performing at local festivals. 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 (see instructions below). If special circumstances require financial assistance or a payment plan, please contact Jens directly at jens@phxyouthcircus.org 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 (tapaz.org) is the fiscal sponsor of PYCA; it is a branch of the Vitalyst Health Foundation and sponsors many small non-profit community projects.

Credit card payments can be made by clicking here

Wednesday Circus Troupe first semester; 10 meetings: $150

Thursday Circus Stars semester first semester; 10 meetings: $150

Wednesday Circus Troupe second semester; 18 meetings: $270

Thursday Circus Star second semester; 18 meetings: $270

What to Bring / What to Wear

Club members should bring a water bottle 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 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 a student is spotted by a coach or doing partner work and should be removed before practice sessions.

Circus Club Coaches

Kendra Foti

For over 10 years, Kendra has been developing as a multi-disciplinary performing artist. She is a second-generation fire artist with specialties in fire eating and fire props such as poi, and rope dart. She performs with staff and double staff, she is a master stilt-walker, and she incorporates everything from song and dance to martial arts into her performances. Kendra joined the PYCA coaching staff last year at other PYCA schools and she is thrilled to have the opportunity this year to share her love and passion for these arts with the students of Desert Marigold School.

Katherine Coleman

Katherine Coleman joins us once again as our aerial specialist. She has been training aerial arts since 2019. Her current disciplines include trapeze, lyra (solo and duo), and silks. She frequently performs around the Phoenix area and recently competed in Aerialympics in Oregon. For six years Katherine taught in preschool and swim school settings. In 2022 she began to combine her passion for circus with her love of teaching children.

Orlene Carlos

Orlene’s role with Circus Waldorkus will be different this year as she is starting a PhD program at ASU, but she will remain a key part of the team! Orlene has decades of circus training, performing, and teaching experience. Orlene trained in China and also at the Clown Conservatory at San Francisco’s Circus Center. Her main roles currently are foot juggler, clown, and mother of four (three DMS students). She and her children have performed all around the world with the Zoppé Family Circus, Flynn Creek Circus, Circus Monti, Circus Bella, Piccolo Zoppé, and Krystallpalast Variete. They have also apperared on TV on America’s Got Talent, the Ellen Degeneres Show, and the Gong Show.

Jens Larson

Jens is the director and founder of PYCA. He spent 19 years performing many different acts in circuses in the USA and the world, then 14 years as a high school educator. In 2015 he starting PYCA and became a circus educator! (Additional pics, info, and video links for Jens)