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Bellingham
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Running Away With the Circus

Josh Bersos hangs out on Tuesday, Jan. 31. // Photo by Harrison Amelang

Ladies and gentleman, children of all ages, step right up to see Western students showcase their talents in the Bellingham Circus Guild.

The Bellingham Circus Guild is the only local establishment for performers to practice and share their skill sets with the public.

The guild came to Bellingham in 2008 and specializes in a variety of acts including juggling, aerial, acrobatics, hooping, wire walking, clown/physical comedy and stilting.

Senior Manijeh Mehdizadehkashi is a trapeze artist at the guild, and has been practicing there since moving to Bellingham. 

“They invited me to work in some of their shows. I’ve been sticking around. It’s really exciting,” Mehdizadehkashi said.

Static trapeze is performed on stationary bars and ropes. It can be used in single or partner acts. Dance trapeze is different, as the bars and ropes are attached to a single swivel that spins circularly during the act. Mehdizadehkashi is skilled in both of these variations.

Mariah Brown-Pounds (left) and Josh Bersos (right) practice their routines Tuesday Jan. 31. // Photo by Harrison Amelang

The lyra and trapeze require a lot of strength and precision. Both involve as much brawn as it does grace. Senior Siobhan Daly is experienced with trapeze and stilts, but her passion is aerial lyra. Aerial lyra is a performance acrobatics on a steel hoop suspended from the ceiling.

“[I really enjoy] seeing what my body can do and slowly getting stronger and stronger,”  Daly said.

Mehdizadehkashi has seem similar personal growth and credits her participation in the circus guild for a nearly 80-pound weight loss.

“I’m healthier and happier than I ever have been,” Mehdizadehkashi said.

“[I really enjoy] seeing what my body can do and slowly getting stronger and stronger.”

Siobhan Daly 

Although the thought of circus performing may seem daunting to newcomers, it is something almost everyone can do, the Bellingham Circus Guild offers private classes and group workshops to community members interested in the art.

Manijeh Mehdizadehkashi balances on a static trapeze Tuesday Jan. 31. // Photo by Harrison
Amelang

The guild hosts Juggle Club, a free and public event, every Monday night from 7 to 10 p.m. Vaudevillingham, an uncensored variety show, is held on the 15th of every month. The show is a fundraising event open to all and the guild is always looking for performers to be featured in the show.

“It’s beginner friendly. They just come in, and the teachers are very good,” Mehdizadehkashi said. 

Everyone involved in the guild is a volunteer. All proceeds from classes and shows go toward keeping the doors open.

Dating back to the 1700s, the art of circus performing has been an international form of entertainment for all ages. Acts ranging from equestrian to contortion have been celebrated across the world, as
obscure talents and skills drew crowds of epic proportions.

While the frequency of circus performances has declined since then, the grandeur of the art has not.
Performances are more spectacular than ever with the help of
production technology and performers
dedicated to their craft.

“My Circus Valentine” shows will be open to all ages and the other three will be a 21+ cabaret. 

Not only will the show feature the artistry of the performers, there will also be interactive segments and a dress-up photo booth. More information, and how to purchase tickets, can be found at the guild’s website: bellinghamcircusguild.com

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