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Student Circus Performers at First Night Boston

A Downside-Up View of the World
By Taliesin Nyala 07F

Down-side Up Circus
Three Hampshire College students, Tara Jacob 05F, Victoria Quine 06F, and Lindsay Barbieri 06F rang in the New Year by performing with their group, The Downside-Up Circus, at First Night, Boston’s annual citywide celebration of community through the arts.

The Downside-Up Circus, founded in 2009, is the creative brainchild of Jacob, Quine, and Molly McLeod 05F. The group is dedicated to promoting social justice and sustainability through circus arts and performance.

For First Night, Jacob, Quine, and Barbieri performed a skills-based show full of acrobatic tricks, juggling, and comedy at the Hynes Convention Center as part of the FedEx Family Festival. Now in its 34th year, First Night brings local and international artists to Boston to showcase their talents in over 200 performances and exhibitions for the public.

down side up circus
"Circus is supposed to make you feel like 'oh, I could do this too'," says Jacob. "It's about connecting with people—that’s what we're trying to model. . . the circus world is really a community and we want to bring other people into it."

Though the core of The Downside-Up Circus is Jacob, Quine, and McLeod, they are a part of the “Circus Folk Unite!” group at Hampshire and do shows with other circus folk. Quine says that the circus world is a small one, with many connections within it—in fact, The Downside-Up Circus is financially sponsored by Bindelstiff Family Cirkus, co-founded by Hampshire alum Keith Nelson 88F.

The Downside-Up Circus group is already thinking beyond First Night to next summer, planning a six-week INTERROBANG tour in the Puget Sound region of Washington. Their goal is to inspire environmental justice through modeling sustainability: the three, joined by four others, will ride bicycles for the entire tour. 

The Downside-Up Circus site

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