The clear highlight of this past week was our trip to last evening's opening night of the Sailor Circus
Celebrating its 70th year and nicknamed “The Greatest Little Show on Earth”, the show featured sixty students (aged 8 to 18) in various stages of training, including just six high school seniors, who have spent years training in the circus arts.
Sarasota High School got its nickname as the “Sailors” because its athletic teams used to travel by boat to compete against other schools up and down the Gulf Cost. The circus started in 1949 as a gymnastics class at the school and its history was celebrated in a 1952 documentary short film that was shown in theaters across the country.
Today, the Sailor Circus is the longest-running youth circus in the country, with students training in over 30 circus arts disciplines. It is considered a sport for students between 4th and 12th grade in Sarasota County schools who train 20-30 hours per week.
Past editions of the circus have appeared across the country, including on the National Mall in Washington DC, and in several international venues.
The instructors boast a host of well-known performing circus professionals … and graduates have worked for such top aerialists as Nik Wallenda and others look forward to performing with Circus de Soleil.
The music accompanying each act covered the curcus' seven decades since its fonuding.
As you scan through the following pictures, it is important to remember, as we had to during the performance, these athletes are school-aged children!
As each of the acts, without exception, were carried out with near perfect precision. Again, it was easy to forget these performers were not professional but teens and pre-tens!