Friday, January 28, 2022
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Circus Showcases Skills and Women’s Resources

Kansas City’s Juggling Club treated UMKC community members to a preview of the group’s upcoming show last Thursday afternoon.

The juggling club, together with the UMKC Women’s Center, set up a mini circus of sorts at the University Playhouse to showcase the talented all-female cast that will be performing this year. The event also featured a resource fair where organizations and resources for women, both school-sponsored and independent, were highlighted.

The Great Kansas City Show will be presented this Saturday at Rockhurst High School at 7:30 pm.

“It is an all-female cast of circus performers from around the world,” said Robin Rosetta, who helped coordinate the showcase with the Women’s Center. “Our headliners this year include performers from Germany and world renowned street performers.

The Great Kansas City Show is performed annually, but this is the first time it will feature an all-female cast.

“That is why the UMKC Women’s Center and I got together to form this women’s resource fair. We wanted to showcase all female organizations in the metro area,” said Rosetta.

The event coordinators decided to feature an all-female cast because juggling in particular tends to be a more male-driven circus art, but there are so many great female jugglers and circus performers out there, said Rosetta.

Bria Brown (left) and Kiarra Edwards (right) stand behind the Sister Circles information table.
Bria Brown (left) and Kiarra Edwards (right) stand behind the Sister Circles information table.

Dr. Brenda Bethman serves as the director for UMKC’s Women’s Center and worked with Rosetta to organize the event.

“Originally the circus act came to us and we talked [about] doing some stuff together and promoting their show this year,” said Bethman.

What began as a partnership intended to promote the all-female circus show evolved into a community event aimed at drawing attention to all of the resources available to women.

“This is how the Women’s Center always works,” joked Bethman. “We think we’re going to do this small little event and then we end up having a hundred people.”

Rachel Sweet attended the event to represent Mayor Sly James and his Women’s Empowerment Initiative.

“The initiative is all about making city government work better for women, and one of our key partners is the UMKC Women’s Center,” said Sweet. “It’s important to have events like this so women can see the options they have. If you don’t see it, how do you know what resources are available?”

The recourse Resource Fair brought together 40 organizations. The event was both informative and fun. Students and faculty could enjoy games, popcorn was available, and circus music playing in the street. Every 15 minutes, performers from the Great Kansas City Show wowed those in attendance with juggling, acrobatics, and aerial silk performances.

Cate Flaherty (circus performer from Boston) teaches Kevin Sansberry (UMKC director of human resources) how to juggle.
Cate Flaherty (circus performer from Boston) teaches Kevin Sansberry (UMKC director of human resources) how to juggle.
Jayda Jones plays bean bag toss.
Jayda Jones plays bean bag toss.
Robin Rosetta entertains the crowd with an aerial silk performance.
Robin Rosetta entertains the crowd with an aerial silk performance.

sdanley@unews.com

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