Our original Peace Through Pyramids partners, the Galilee Circus, were in St. Louis August 2-15, 2016! We hope you got to see them perform.
Thanks to support from the Trio Foundation of St. Louis, Staenberg Family Foundation and The Kranzberg Family Foundation we had a wonderfully successful Peace Through Pyramids partnership 2016 this August in St. Louis. Numerous photos and videos can be found on our Facebook page and YouTube page (look for Galilee Arches 2016 acts). You can also check out this cool 360 video of the Galilee Arches at City Museum!
You can follow the amazing two weeks on our Israeli partners’ blog:
St. Louis Public Radio covered this community connecting partnersip in their story:
We are currently developing local Peace Through Pyramids project!
A brief history of Peace Through Pyramids:
Circus Harmony is St. Louis, Missouri’s only social circus organization as well as its only complete circus school. Social circus means we use the teaching and performing of circus arts to motivate social change. We are both an arts education and a youth development organization. By inspiring individuals and connecting communities with our circus education and entertainment programs, we have a positive impact on the St. Louis area and beyond.
In 2007, we began Peace Through Pyramids as a collaboration between Circus Harmony’s diverse youth circus troupe, the St. Louis Arches and the Galilee Circus, a Jewish/Arab youth circus from Israel! Together, they form the Galilee Arches! These ordinary young people have done extraordinary work showing the world what is possible when you focus on what you can do together instead of on what sets you apart. We went to Israel in 2007, 2012 and 2014. They came here in 2008, 2012 and will be back in 2016. At each meeting, they have produced incredible performances while forging friendships that have stayed strong across oceans and years. In 2014, we were supposed to be in Israel from July 9-23 but due to the conflict with Gaza and an FAA Flight ban, we were there until July 29! During this time, more than ever, people needed to witness Peace Through Pyramids, Harmony Through Handsprings and Joy Through Juggling! They needed to see what can happen when people focus on what connects them instead of what separates them.
Within days of our return to St. Louis, the suburb of Ferguson erupted in violence after a white police officer shot and killed an African-American teenager named Michael Brown. With Circus Harmony’s office being in Florissant, we were actually closer to the violence than when we were in Israel. Circus Harmony believes the path to peace is one of cooperation and communication. Teaching children from different neighborhoods how to stand on each other’s shoulders may seem like a strange way to take this path, but it works for us! So, thanks to a Social Impact grant from the Regional Arts Commission and a PNC project grant from the Arts & Education Council, we started Peace Through Pyramids: Ferguson. The Jewish Federation of St. Louis then granted Saul Mirowitz, a Jewish day school, funding for a collaboration with our students in Ferguson which gave us Peace Through Pyramids: Ferguson/Mirowitz! St. Louis Community Foundation also granted us funding so the children form Peace Through Pyramids: Ferguson could attend Circus Harmony summer camps. This fall, Camp Manitowa made possible a Peace Through Pyramids: Ferguson/Mirowitz reunion! If you would like to help us keep this partnership going, please donate HERE !
As part of Peace Through Pyramids, we were thrilled to have with us a Jewish youth circus intern, Yahel Retter, from the Galilee Circus with us from February 2015 through January 2016. He was one of the student teachers who helped us with this project. When people watch our flying children from all neighborhoods and backgrounds working together, we hope they see what Rabbi Marc Rosenstein observed the first time we did shows in Israel: ” I think many who saw the shows felt the same tears in their eyes maybe out of the feeling one is seeing a vision of something that we all long for… the total obliteration of barriers, whether social, economic or gravitational.”Circus Harmony promotes peace though pyramids, joy though juggling and harmony through handsprings.
Peace Though Pyramids is the subject of the award-winning movie Circus Kids by Alexandra Lipsitz (available here) and the critically acclaimed book Watch Out for Flying Children by Cynthia Levinson (available here).