R.K. Middle School has been looking a lot like a circus lately, probably because students are performing in a circus - the Circus of the Kids.
Circus of the Kids is run by Bruce Pfeffer, a one-time juggler with Florida State University's “Flying High Circus.”
The educational program teaches “circus arts” to schoolchildren over a three-week period. During that time, 6th, 7th and 8th graders are “transformed” into honest-to-goodness circus performers who are good enough to, well, put on a show.
This year’s performance will include stunts from a mini-trampoline, some with real fire licking the space between the mini tramp and the heavy padded mats the kids will land on.
Others include acrobatics a full story up in the air. In one spectacle called “the web,” students will perform hanging from a rope.
There also will be juggling, fire-eating, and five - count ‘em, five kids riding a bicycle at one time.
“All the teachers support it,” said Ranell Troxler, a teacher and also a co-coordinator of the circus.
Corporate sponsor Monsanto provides some of the money to fund the circus. The rest comes from fundraisers and ads that appear in circus programs. Cost for training and the four-day performance? An estimable $15,000-$20,000.
Darla Leblanc of the R.K. Middle Exploratory Team, an enrichment program for arts and music which coordinates the circus, said putting on the show is good for students.
“This is the only major performance like this done in the state,” she said.