July 17, 2017 

Members of Circus Harmony just got back from being part of the Smithsonian’s 50th Anniversary Folklife Festival honoring circus arts, the largest circus event in American history. This is a real photo. There were two banners at the end of the National Mall. One was of Dolly Jacobs, Queen of the Air, a multi-generation circus performer, co-founder of Circus Sarasota and an NEA Cultural Heritage Fellow. The other banner, is seen here: Chauncey Kroner, a young Circus Harmony student from the City of St. Louis. With circus, anything is possible!

For two weeks, twelve students from Circus Harmony performed on the National Mall and in a special show of their own on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. They are ordinary children who do extraordinary things. They flipped, flew, flexed and flung. “Magnificent, extraordinary, talented, thrilling, beautiful…are only a few words that I use to express my thoughts about Circus Harmony’s performance and performers,” said a member of the Smithsonian Folklife leadership team. I hope everyone at the Smithsonian Folklife office, along with all the Festival attendees, were able to see the power of circus arts to amaze, inspire and empower!

When I watch Chauncey’s one-man show that he presents now at City Museum, I marvel at how transformed he is from the shy boy who first came to circus camp 9 years ago. If you had seen him then, you would never have thought he would someday be featured on a larger-than-life banner on the National Mall!

I am writing you because there are other young people like Chauncey who could find their strength in circus. We need your support to bring our Defy Gravity 101 program into several schools in the City of St. Louis and in Ferguson. It costs $5,000 for us to work with 30 students in each school for one semester. Will you help us to give this circus opportunity to a child who maybe does not yet realize their own potential? Who has never had anyone applaud anything they did? Who does not yet know how to trust? Who has never had the chance to be responsible? We know that teaching them how to juggle, balance and do pyramids with other people can open a door to confidence, creativity and compassion.

Circus Harmony serves over 1000 children a year through our various programs. Check ‘General Operating Expenses’ to support Defy Gravity 101. You can also donate to our Flying Children Scholarship Fund or our Peace Through Pyramids Project. Any Circus Harmony program you choose to support gives a child the chance to defy gravity, soar with confidence and leap over social barriers, all at the same time.

We do not know who will be the next child that comes through our program and goes on to bring joy and hope to thousands. Or just feels better about themselves and makes better choices. Or shows other children how to get along and create something together. We do know all of this is possible through our circus programs, because we have seen it happen. Please support the work of Circus Harmony. Thank you!


For Harmony,                                       

Jessica Hentoff

Artistic/Executive Director, Circus Harmony

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