Hello, my name is Sharon and this is my circus story. I am an aerialist who loves performing on the silks. I learned in my home country of Mexico in the “Biggest City on Earth” – Mexico City. The government has a program that teaches youth many different classes as a way to build skills, to keep them off the streets and in school. The government PAYS for your circus classes and transportation. I participated in this program and then I moved to Cincinnati in November 2010.
Since February 2011, I have been working with Circus Mojo where I learned a variety of skills and volunteered at their summer camp. I then became a paid teacher, performer and, in the following summer, the Camp Director. We spend six hours a day, five days a week with the same children at summer camp. This allows us to get to know them and make a strong connection. As Camp Director, I had even more fun than the year before because my own skills had improved. It was also nice to see familiar faces from the previous year’s camp. One of my favorite summer experiences is when kids from Ockerman Elementary came to our space in Ludlow and half of them spoke Spanish. The room lit up when I told my story.
That workshop went so well that Ockerman Elementary hired us to do an after school program this fall and 66 kids signed up for 20 spots. So, we are hosting a fiesta with Javier Mendoza to raise funds to serve the other 40+ kids. Here is a video of our practice:
Since silks is my favorite skill, I really love it when kids pick silks as their favorite skill to learn and perform in the shows. I know that they watch me do the tricks and hope that they can do them too. I admire how kids rarely give up and keep trying. That puts a huge smile on my face.
Other people I really enjoy working with who love the silks are our students from Catholic Residential Services (CRS). The class with CRS teaches circus skills to adults with disabilities by adapting to their individual needs and skills. The silks is their favorite activity. As soon as one student enters the door, he asks, “Can we do the thing?” (meaning silks). These students have a blast in class and have performed in shows with us—shining every time.
In August, I went with Circus Mojo to Germany for the second time , where we performed and taught at Circus Pimparello. I also had the opportunity to travel to Denmark to train a group of girls that visited us in the USA in October. I also visited Finland and taught workshops in a few different cities.
Those experiences were culturally different but I am from a different culture in the USA too. Many people from my country live here and live in very difficult situations, legally and culturally speaking. For me, Circus Mojo has been a really important part of my life because I have performed for audiences in many different places while speaking my native language. Read my Germany blog here.
I especially love talking to kids and letting them see me doing something that is important for the community. I hope my job makes them feel like they can do anything for all kinds of people and that their work will speak for them.
Circus Mojo has provided many opportunities that have impacted my life and the lives of others. We have performed at big tops like Ringling Bros. Circus and UniverSoul Circus as well as our own events at the Ludlow Theatre. I also perform in the waiting rooms at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. This is a very rewarding job! I love to see the kids’ faces and attitudes change. It makes my day when kids forget about the pain they are going through and just smile, laugh and act like kids. Speaking to parents and families in their native tongue of Spanish is another way I connect with people at the hospital.
Working at Circus Mojo has given me the chance to perform for all kinds of people from varying cultural and economic backgrounds. I think that when people see me do this work it changes their mind about me and all the other people that work at Circus Mojo. I also think that it is important that when people come to Circus Mojo they see our diverse group working together. Hopefully, this will broaden minds.
Our work at Ockerman school continues and we are super excited about the show that our students will be doing for all their classmates next week and for all our other classes. Including my Silks class at Circus Mojo.
Visit our website to learn more about our classes and upcoming events. It’s never too late to join the circus!