Hayden Lawn transforms into Circus Extravaganza

Circus performer Mary Adrenaline flies upside down during a performance on Hayden Lawn. The Arizona Circus School performed on the Tempe campus today with Project Humanities. (Photo by Diana Lustig)

Circus performer Mary Adrenaline flies upside down during a performance on Hayden Lawn. The Arizona Circus School performed on the Tempe campus today with Project Humanities. (Photo by Diana Lustig)

Hayden Lawn was turned into a real-life circus Tuesday morning.

The scene was filled with performers from the Circus School of Arizona, along with performance equipment, including an aerial ring and curtain, a performers pole, a box of magic tricks, hula-hoops and a mini unicycle.

However, this was no ordinary circus. The event was designed to connect humanities and arts.

 

 

Neal Lester, a professor of English and the director of Project Humanities, said this event is only a piece of their movement with hopes of helping people talk, listen and connect. Still, their goals don’t stop there.

Alongside the lawn was a booth of students and leaders from Project Humanities handing out buttons, pamphlets and spreading their message.

“(The event aims) to get people to value, understand and invest in humanities.” he said. “We do these types of projects to bring attention to these ideas. With such a dangerous world, all of this is important to remind people that these values still really do matter.”

The host of the circus spoke intermittently about these values, which Project Humanities also calls the hash-tag campaign: #respect, #integrity, #compassion, #kindness, #forgiveness, #empathy and #self-reflection.

There were multiple performances during the course of the event, but there were only four performers.

The first was Paige, a vocalist, who sang multiple songs, including “Happy” by Pharrell and “Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston. Although technical difficulties prevented the musical track from being heard, Paige continued singing a cappella to the claps of the crowd.

The second star was meteorology junior Charlotte Adams, a pole performer. Although short, her performance caught the attention of people walking along the sidewalk who stopped to watch her hang upside-down, spin around and dance.

The third performer was the multi-talented Crystal. She started off as a fire breather, followed with a small burlesque show and finished off with a performance on a bed of nails.

Brent Fiasco, 36, a magician and clown, was the fourth star. Fiasco has been a circus performer for 17 years and has mainly performed in the southwestern part of the U.S.

“(The circus has taught me) coordination, agility, commitment and how to take a punch, figuratively and literally,” he said.

Circus performer Mary Adrenaline teaches ASU sophomore earth and space exploration major Bridget Russell how to hoop on Hayden Lawn. The Arizona Circus School performed on the Tempe campus today with Project Humanities. (Photo by Diana Lustig)

Circus performer Mary Adrenaline teaches ASU sophomore earth and space exploration major Bridget Russell how to hoop on Hayden Lawn. The Arizona Circus School performed on the Tempe campus today with Project Humanities. (Photo by Diana Lustig)

Performers invited multiple people from the crowd to learn and take part in the show. One of these participants was earth and space exploration sophomore Bridget Russell.

Russell participated in the hula hoop event and was coached by Mary, the performer.

“I wanted to help participate in the art of hula-hooping, because it looked fun and sparkly,” she said. “Also, don’t ever be afraid to say yes and expose yourself to new experiences. Even if you feel like you look like a fool, who cares, because it is fun!”

Reach the reporter at aincardone@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @AshleyIncardone