Photos and words by photographer Edward Boches.
TRURO — Where could you go to get a full-body workout, improve your concentration, build self-esteem, and learn how to collaborate better? At the summer circus camp at the Payomet Center for the Performing Arts, young people work hard to gain those skills. But if you ask them, they’ll tell you they’re just having fun.
The camp just wrapped up its seventh season under the tent at the Highlands Center in North Truro. Campers ages 7 to 14 learned aerial arts, trapeze skills, and juggling, all under the watchful eyes of accomplished performers.
“The kids fall in love with it because it seems unachievable at first, and then they’re doing it,” said Eleanor Getz, co-artistic director of the Spoke Movement Ensemble of Fort Collins, Colo., who’s been teaching at the camp for five years. “It’s both fun and difficult, with immediate feedback. You suck at first, but then you get it.”
The circus camp develops both discipline and creativity. Payomet provides scholarships to any family who needs help with the tuition. It’s a small part of Payomet’s programming, said artistic director Kevin Rice, “but one of its most important.” When you see these young people spin, twirl, leap, fly, and smile, you understand why.
Strength and concentration are at play for Dennis Jimenez, 12, of Highland Lakes, N.J., as he jumps into the aerial arts under the tent at Payomet.
Young performers like Aviv Schwab-Jacobson, 11, of Wellfleet learn precisely how to wrap the ribbons around their arms and legs to suspend their bodies as they swing, twirl, and spiral 20 feet in the air.
Izzy Levenson, 10, of Truro just after completing an aerial performance.
Silks make the work look easy, as Calie Wotherspoon, 12, of Wellfleet (left) and Aviv Schwab-Jacobson hoist themselves into the air.
“Is this how you do it?” asks Gus Scalcione, 6, of Wellfleet, as he holds his diabolo juggling sticks.
Max Poteat-Garrett, 9, of Washington, D.C., stretches before heading to the ropes and silks to work on his aerial skills.
You spend a lot of time upside down when you’re working on a ropes routine. Just ask Rosalie Shalom, 9, of South Orange, N.J.
Another aerial performance completed, Hadleigh Christenson of Westhampton floats back to earth.
Clara Whitlock, 7, of Eastham balanced a flower stick on her head as she acknowledged cheers from the crowd after her juggling performance.
Liftoff: Kaden Wotherspoon of Wellfleet launches himself with help from the mini-trampoline.
With focus, balance, momentum, and confidence, Violet Yingling, 10, of Wellfleet, spins the diabolo.