Come one come all! Over the last few years, members of the Bates Circus Club have met up to practice their skills, learn new tricks from other club members. Now, the club is looking to demonstrate their skills on stage at the Gala dance later this year.
Club practices typically take place weekly, though attendance at each practice is not mandatory and members come as often as they can. According to club president Mary Szatkowski ’18, a typical practice will have around four participants from a pool of around eight members. The club has had a recent surge in interest after the recent winter activities fair and is expecting to get a few more steady members.
Practices are loose and casual. After warming up with some stretches and “basic climbs,” members take turns practicing tricks and teaching others new skills. Tricks can be performed with a variety of equipment including “aerial equipment” like silks, which hang from the ceiling to the floor and can be climbed and used for a variety of acrobatic feats, as well as “ground equipment” like juggling balls and unicycles. According to Szatkowski, practices usually last about an hour and members will often spend time socializing after. Official meetings are weekly and members will sometimes meet up on their own time to practice.
“Occasionally we’ll meet up unofficially a second time a week if people are free but we only have one planned meeting on Sunday,” said Szatkowski.
While the Circus Club hasn’t had a performance in over three years, this year will be different. The club’s members will be performing as part of the festivities at Gala, an opportunity that the group is extremely excited about. According to Szatkowski, the club is looking to hone its skills over the next few months in hopes of wowing the crowd.
“The last few years we’ve just been doing this for fun. We just found out about [the performance] last week, so we have two months to figure out what we want to do and plan our routine and look graceful,” said Szatkowski.
Szatkowski added that the performance will match Gala’s theme, which she chose not to reveal, as it is still “secret.” Gala will most likely be the club’s only performance this year. In preparation for the Gala performance, club members are hoping to not only to improve some of skills that they already know, but also pick up new ones.
“We hope to have some variety…we have some equipment in storage, so we’re also going to take a look at that and see if people are interested in learning something new in the next two months,” said Szatkowski.
Though small in numbers, the Bates Circus Club has many dedicated members. One member, first year Emma Proietti has been practicing circus arts for six years at a gym in her home town and looked specifically at colleges with circus clubs. Other members, like Szatkowski, have been active in the club starting from their freshman year.
“When I toured Bates, the tour guide was the star of the circus club and told me about it. So when I came to Bates this was the one club I was planning to join,” said Szatkowski.
Whether swinging through the air and climbing towards the sky with silks or balancing on a unicycle, the members of the Bates College Circus Club have a unique set of talents. Their skills will be on full display come Gala.