Keith Fasciani performing with an audience member at the United Palace on June 14.
Over the past year at the United Palace young people have had the opportunity to learn classical music, West African drumming, theatre, writing, and dance. These community art programs are aimed at doing more than teaching children new art forms. The goal is also to help them develop the social skills and self-confidence that will help them succeed in life, whether or not they decide to pursue a career in the arts.
This July we will explore a new artistic medium as we launch the UPCA Circus Arts Camp. Under the guidance of Jessica Hentoff, the Executive/Artistic Director of Circus Harmony in St. Louis, we are providing young people the opportunity to learn tumbling, balancing, clowning and juggling from real circus performers. The camp will culminate in a series of performances including at least one upon the Palace's main stage.
With a mission to teach the art of life through circus education and help people defy gravity, soar with confidence, and leap over social barriers, we found that Circus Harmony's mission very much complements our own goal of transforming lives through the arts.
The camp will be led by Keith Fasciani, a native of the Kingsbridge neighborhood in the Bronx who is an actor, clown, dancer, director, and educator. He obtained his B.F.A. in acting from Boston University's College of Fine Arts. Then he spent two years at the Clown Conservatory at the San Francisco Circus Center and was a founding clown performer with the Medical Clown Project, San Francisco's first therapeutic hospital clown program. He also performed with Circus Bella and the New Pickle Circus.
If you have caught Keith's warm-up act before any of the young people's performances UPCA has hosted this month during the Stroll you've experienced the magical blend of art, charm, physicality, humor, and love that he brings to his craft. (See the photo of him above improvising with an audience member on the Palace stage on June 14.)
Keith will be joined by Keaton Hentoff-Killian who grew up in Circus Harmony. He has performed in Israel as part of Circus Harmony's Peace Through Pyramids collaboration with the Jewish/Arab Galilee Circus. Keaton is currently studying at the prestigious Ecole Nationale du Cirque in Montreal where he is majoring in acrobatic tight wire.
The third instructor will be Terrance 'T-Roc' Robinson who was literally found tumbling on the street by Jessica Hentoff. He was half of the acrobatic, dynamic duo Bateman and Robinson with Sidney "Iking" Bateman. Together, they taught and performed circus arts from the mountains of Colorado to the deserts of Israel. An accomplished acrobat and hand-balancer, currently, T-Roc is attending the Ecole de Cirque de Quebec (Circus School of Quebec) in Quebec City where he is majoring in acrobatics and Chinese Pole.
The UPCA Circus Arts Camp will be from July 8 – August 2, 9am – noon. It is for 10- to 15-year-olds. The camp is free with $35 application fee. Enrollment is limited to 25 with a priority given to young people from Washington Heights and Inwood.
An orientation meeting will be held at the Palace on Monday, July 1 from 6-7:30pm.