STEP RIGHT UP! : Using Circus Arts in Youth Peacebuilding Programs

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management


This paper is the culmination of my work with children as part of a traveling circus, and lays out a potential youth peacebuilding program using circus arts. After a brief introduction to the circus and its history, it examines why circus themes are positive options and examples, due to their iconic presence that is deeply rooted in our culture. Next, this piece examines current youth programs that use the circus as a theme. Subsequently, it characterizes various circus arts and how use in youth programs can be beneficial, especially pertaining to a youth peacebuilding program. The various circus arts that are described are: trapeze, aerials (lyra and silks), tumbling, trampoline, clowning, cycling, tightrope high wire walking, hand balancing, rhythmic gymnastics, dance, and animal training. This paper also outlines the integration of non-circus arts activities that can be adapted to assist a circus theme. It discusses how post-conflict zone youth can gain enrichment and empowerment through these circus arts. Finally, it concludes with a potential schedule for a youth peacebuilding program and how it could be adapted for various organizations.

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