Trombley Elementary sends in the clowns

BY REBECCA JONES

Trombley Elementary had a circus-like atmosphere the week before Christmas break.

The school became training groung for a group of trained lions,elephants, seals and unicyclists Dec. 19 during a day-long Cirque Amongus event, which lets students explore the world of the circus from the inside.

Where else could children don crazy, colorful costumes and clown makeup and perform feats of fancy for their teachers?

Students from kindergarten through fifth-grade spent the morning learning to perform 10 tricks such as tightrope walking, magic, juggling and trapeze routines. During the afternoon, children perfected their talents and put on a two-ring show for parents and school administrators. Each troupe performed a three minute act.

As expected, children had fun with the event.

Fourth-grader Jamison Sexton wore a tutu and clown pants during his bit. He said he wanted to look like a clown, so he just "slapped something on" and pranced around on stage to offer comic relief.

Children also learned valuable skills, including perserverance and teamwork, said Teresa Abrahams, an instructor with the Livonia-based company that offers the event.

For many students, it was their first experience with the public speaking and thinking creatively under the pressure of a short deadline.

Trombly's rendition was the first time Cirque Amongus has been performed in the United States. The program started about five years ago in the Netherlands, where Abrahams' husband and brother-in-law are from.

Organizers said Trombley's pilot program was so successful, they hope to bring the act to other Midwest schools soon.

For more information about Cirque Amongus, visit www.cirqueamongus.com.