Making Waves: Youth Circus Connects Kids to Each Other and the World

My Nose Turns Red Youth Circus is busy.

Depending on which day of the week it is, Director Steve Roenker is at one of six schools and recreation centers across the region – from Blue Ash to Covington – teaching kids to ride unicycles, juggle, walk on stilts, and roll around in a German wheel. On Saturday mornings, students from all of those schools who are working on advanced skills get together for four hours of intense practice. Serving more than 300 youth every year, My Nose Turns Red offers kids the chance to do something really different, while learning skills that they can use almost anywhere. MNTR German Wheel

Summer circus programs are offered for children as young as four, and some kids perform with My Nose Turns Red for many years. As they gain confidence with the different circus skills, they can choose to become apprentice coaches and learn the skills to coach younger students and plan performance routines. Coaching gives the teens an opportunity to learn leadership skills, be a positive role model, and even earn a little money.

Anna Kaiser, age 17, and Jackson Savage, age 16, currently serve as Assistant Coaches. They both agree that it is tough work: “The most difficult thing about being a coach is managing a room full of kids who sometimes just want to play,” says Anna. She thinks that the leadership experience will eventually help her to lead co-workers. Jackson agrees, “Just knowing how to handle kids, not even in large groups, is an enormously useful skill in itself. And you never know, perhaps someday I really will have half my bicycle stolen (as so many people have joked) and I will not be left helpless, thanks to My Nose Turns Red teaching me how to ride a unicycle.”

Jackson’s mother, Mary Pat Buck, sees her son learning other valuable lessons, too. “ He’s learning the value of "try, try again". Learning is a process. The achievement of a goal, whether it is a new circus trick or something more academic, doesn't magically appear. It is earned.” Cate O’Hara, Anna’s mother, notes, “I originally signed my kids up for circus just because it is fun. However, along with the fun comes teamwork, leadership, balance (literal and figurative), strength, humor, creativity, and resiliency.” Youth Circus

Jean St. John, the company's Managing Director, notes that the younger kids are eager to follow in their footsteps. In a recent rehearsal when Steve asked who wanted to learn to be assistant coaches, kids piped up immediately with “I want to be Anna!” and “I want to be Jackson!”

Anna and Jackson have both enjoyed learning a new set of skills on the German wheel and the opportunity to learn from circus professionals from all over the world. Steve connected with a renowned German wheel teacher living in Chicago, Wolfgang Bientzle, and that relationship helped My Nose Turns Red bring instructors from Japan and Israel to Cincinnati to work with advanced students. Jackson says, “Meeting a performer, learning from them, and getting to know them is infinitely better than simply watching them do seemingly impossible tricks.”

Connecting young people to new friends from other schools and experts from around the world, My Nose Turns Red Youth Circus provides a unique service to the Cincinnati region. Catch their 2012 Youth Circus Extravaganza on April 28th and 29th at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater.


Making Waves: Cincinnati Shakespeare's Home Team Creates Community

Jeremy Dubin and Brian PhillipsGreat cities offer a wide variety of art – from modern dance to classical theater, opera to puppetry. The more arts experiences available in a region, the more people participate, and the greater the benefits for everyone who lives there. Generating all of that art requires lots of resources. A thriving arts scene needs artists – especially artists who are committed to living in the communities where they work.

For eighteen years, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has built the region’s artistic community by producing Shakespeare and the classics with a resident ensemble of actors. Recruited from all across the country, the professional actors who join the ensemble sign on for an entire season of work, performing in five to ten shows in a single year. Audiences get to know the performers and enjoy seeing them play a wide variety of roles – the actor playing the romantic lead in Romeo & Juliet may be the funny butler in next month’s The Importance of Being Earnest, or the mysterious villain in Dangerous Liaisons. Actors often stay for two to four years with the company and some have been with the organization for over a decade. Working together for long periods, the actors develop a greater camaraderie, understanding of each other’s strengths, and level of trust - like a great baseball team.
CSC Company Photo

When not onstage at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, resident ensemble members are often seen on other local stages including Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Know Theatre of Cincinnati, and the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, among others. Producing Artistic Director Brian Phillips coordinates with these theatres to share everything from scene shop equipment to lighting designers. “The collaborative spirit of the Cincinnati theatre community allows audiences to see a wide variety of plays, playwrights, musicals, and experimental performances,” says Brian, “By working together and sharing resources, we produce more theatre more efficiently, so that more people can enjoy it.”

“Ensemble Theatre is proud that Brian Phillips came to Cincinnati to be an intern with our company and he has stayed to help sustain and grow the Shakespeare Company,” says D. Lynn Meyers, Producing Artistic Director of Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. “ETC was founded on the principle of giving local professionals a wonderful place to live and work and Brian has embraced that with his hiring of a resident company.”

The growing pool of professional actors in the community benefits other arts organizations as well. Over the past ten years, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company actors have performed with Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company actors also serve as teaching artists in schools throughout the region, record commercials and voice-overs for local businesses, and create podcasts, blogs, and viral videos enjoyed by people all over the country. By providing a home base for these artists, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company provides a critical fuel for the region’s creative engine – skilled artists with a passion for their community. 

CSC Artistic Associate Jeremy Dubin has been performing with the company for over twelve years, but he still gets the same question: Why are you here? Why don’t you live in New York or L.A.?

Jeremy responds, “New York and L.A. both have actors in abundance. The result is that actors there (with the exception of a very small percentage) become anonymous cogs in a vast machine that views them as expendable. Here in Cincinnati, I have a voice and a role to play within the arts community and the community at large. I have been able to develop personal relationships and an ongoing artistic conversation with our patrons. I am able to feel that what I do is a benefit to the community, and the community, in turn, has provided me with an opportunity to keep doing what I love.”


March 10th Sampler Round-Up


The LAST Macy's Arts Sampler day of 2012 is almost upon us!
The first two Arts Sampler days have been great -thousands of people from around the region met up to experience free art right in their backyard. Saturday, March 10 promises to be loads of fun. Snag a schedule or download the Sampler Mobile App for free on your smart phone.

click to download a printable calendar for Saturday, March 10!



Downtown Cincinnati - Hands-On Arts and Performances for Families
Families can easily spend the entire day Downtown exploring the arts.  Get inspired at the Taft Museum of Art with a day celebrating great African American artists in our community.  The line-up includes a one-man show about Martin Luther King, jr., “Martin’s Dream” by Deondra Means; gospel and soul music by the incredible Fo Mo Brothers; see the current exhibit of prints by Romare Bearden and try your hand at making a collage; then end the day with music by Tracy Walker, one of the Taft Robert S. Duncanson Artists in Residence for 2012.

On the top floor of the Contemporary Arts Center, The UnMuseum will have family art and craft activities starting at 1 p.m.  The Main Library on Vine Street will host silhouette artist Pattie Purnell and the Blue Chip Jazz Band at Noon.

Families with younger children will appreciate the combination of crafts and interactive theatre at Learning Through Art’s Books Alive! program starting at 11 a.m, and the Ballet Theatre Midwest and My Nose Turns Red Youth Circus performances at Emanuel Community Center at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Museums, Murals, and Music for Adults
Head over to the Contemporary Arts Center and check out their new exhibit, Spectacle: The Music Video, an incredible exploration of the art and history of music videos. At 3:00 p.m., take a guided tour that shows you how to look at things in a whole new way with the UnProfessional Development workshop.

ArtWorks is offering two one-hour guided bus tours to visit some of its incredible Downtown murals, at 11 a.m. and 12:30 a.m.  Appropriate for all ages.   You can also take a Highlights of the Taft guided tour at the Taft Museum at 1:30 p.m.

Catch some great singer/songwriters including acoustic folk/roots/blues musician John Ford and guitarist Dave Hawkins and fiddler Peg Buchanan at the CAC starting at 12:30; and Tracy Walker at the Taft Museum at 3:30 p.m.

For Families on the Move
Do your kids need to get their wiggles out? Try a taste of West African drumming and dancing at the Carl Lindner YMCA with the African-American Drum and Dance Ensemble at 12:30 p.m.—a great opportunity to get the whole family up on their feet and moving to the beat.

Then, head for the Cincinnati Ballet for a whole afternoon of moving and grooving  from ballet to belly-dancing and Chinese martial to Bollywood-style Indian dance.  Starting at Noon, the line-up includes Cincinnati Ballet, the CCM Preparatory Dance Department, Anaya Gypsy Dance, Blue Ash Shaolin Do, and Experience India.

Neighborhood Fun
If your family includes grandparents, take everyone to The Grove at Springfield Township. They’ve got a full afternoon of great American music ranging from barbershop with the Southern Gateway Chorus to roots band Wild Carrot to country-western swing with Laura Hazelbaker & the BuckeyeRoos, plus a chance to learn the lindy-hop with the Living History Dance School.

Clifton Cultural Arts Center has American and Celtic music starting at Noon with Raison d’Etre, Clark and Jones, and the Cincinnati Caledonian Pipes and Drums.

Middletown Arts Center hosts the Madcap Puppets’ production of “Jack and the Gentle Giant” at 12:30 p.m.  Children are invited to stay afterwards for a puppet-making workshop with the performers.


Macy's Arts Sampler Returns this Saturday Feb. 25th

This Saturday’s Macy's Arts Sampler offers everyone the chance to discover international cultures through art, and enjoy some hands-on experiences in highlighted neighborhoods.

Bing Yang dancer

Take a Trip Around the World- No Passports Required

Stop in at the new NrityArpana School of Indian Dance in Mason and learn the steps to a classic Indian folk dance, a few yoga poses, and see Mehendi henna painting.  Then, discover Haitian music and mask-making at the Kennedy Heights Cultural Arts Center.  You can also spend the afternoon at the Sharonville Fine Arts Center and experience African drumming with Bi-Okoto, Chinese dance with Bing Yang Chinese Performing Arts Center, and the Cincinnati Black Theatre Company.

Galleries and Hands-On Activities in Northside

Northside continues to grow as an arts district and could be the place you spend the whole afternoon.  On Saturday, you can take in the exhibits at Prairie Gallery, Thundersky, and Visionaries and Voices.  Families of all shapes and sizes can join artists from Visionaries and Voices to create their own ceramic tile representing their family starting at 11:00 am.  For those with active kids, Dramakinetics offers four fun workshops where kids can move, dance, play and sing.

Families make tiles at V&V

Spotlight on Northern Kentucky

Activities ranging from historic dance and ragtime bands to origami game shows and circus acts will be happening all over  Northern Kentucky.  Peraza Suzuki Group and Jonathan Heart’s Origami Game Show will be at Baker-Hunt Art and Cultural Center.  Forget-Me-Not Historic Dance company and Melodic connections perform at the Campbell County Public Library in Cold Spring.  At the Newport library branch, see Jonathan Heart, storyteller Omope Daboiku, and the NKU Youth Chorale.  The KSO’s Newport Ragtime Band performs at 2 p.m. at the Erlanger public library.  And Circus Mojo presents two show-stopping demonstrations  of circus acts at 11:30 am and 1:00 pm.

Great Performances and Activities for Kids of All Ages

UC-Clermont hosts two great theatre performances on Saturday.  First, for younger children, ArtReach: a division of The Children’s Theater of Cincinnati, presents their delightful production of The Ugly Duckling at 10:00 am.  Stick around afterwards for face-painting, beading, an art treasure hunt, and more.  Then, at 1:00 p.m., older kids and adults can enjoy highlights from Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s hilarious A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  On the east side of town, the Women’s Cultural Club in Mariemont hosts an open house at The Barn, featuring an exhibit of children’s artwork.

Macy's Arts Sampler at Kennedy Heights

Best Bets for Young Children:  The Ugly Duckling at UC-Clermont, 10 AM.  Dramakinetics in Northside.

Best Bets for Grade-Schoolers:  Anything this weekend!  Pick a neighborhood spot near you: Northside, Northern Kentucky, Sharonville, Batavia (UC-Clermont), and spend the whole afternoon.

Best Bets for Teens and Adults: Gallery hopping in Northside, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at UC-Clermont, KSO’s Newport Ragtime Band.


Macy's Arts Sampler roundup - February 11


Macy's Arts Sampler AppWe are unbelievably excited that the first of three Macy's Arts Sampler days are almost here! Starting THIS Saturday, the Cincinnati region will come alive with free arts events all over the city for everyone to come enjoy. We've been hosting Sampler Weekends for 26 years now, and have been working hard to make new improvements to help you get the most out of these unique experiences.

Our newest addition to Sampler this year is our Macy's Arts Sampler App! In addition to a complete listing of Macy’s Arts Sampler events, the Sampler app includes show descriptions, a mapping function that provides directions to venues, and connections to Facebook and Twitter.  Users can bookmark events to create a personalized schedule, and even make a donation to the ArtsWave community campaign directly from the app.
"Macy’s Arts Sampler is our signature event each year with over 100 free performances and activities all over the region" said Rebecca Bromels, ArtsWave’s Director of Communications. "We wanted to offer everyone the very latest technology to help them find favorite arts groups, events in their neighborhood, and the best activities to enjoy with family or friends.” Content will be updated in real time to keep audiences up-to-date on performances and any last-minute changes.

Most of all, we see the Macy’s Arts Sampler app as an opportunity to gauge the community’s interest in a year-round arts event calendar and app.  “We know that there’s some desire for a collaborative arts calendar,” says Mary McCullough-Hudson, President and CEO of ArtsWave. “Public response to the Sampler app will provide us with important feedback on this idea and guide our next moves in this evolving medium.”

Now, on to THIS Saturday!


Know Theatre at the Cincinnati Symphony, Macy's Arts Sampler 2011


Arts Roundup:

 Downtown Itinerary for Families:

  • Start the day at 10 am at Music Hall with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s family concert, The Big Bad Brass Bash!   Highlighting the brass family of instruments, the concert includes the delightful story of Tubby the Tuba featuring Carson McTeer and narrated by Stacey Woolley.  Check out the Highland Dancers in the lobby after the show.
  • Head up the hill to Mt. Adams for events at Playhouse in the Park and Cincinnati Art Museum.  Kids can enjoy two great shows: the Z Puppets Rosenschnaz presenting “In a Fool’s Kitchen” at Playhouse (10:30 and 1:00 pm) and Madcap Puppets’ “Jack and the Gentle Giant” at CAM (Noon and 2 pm).  Playhouse also has backstage tours and creative dramatics class for kids.
  • At the Art Museum, there’ll be international music from Kique Infante, Sakura Ladies Chorus and the Bacchanal Steel Drums.  And, the BombShells of Cincinnati will be bombing the Great Hall at CAM with their latest creation: Operation Truly Newly (fiber) Chihuly.  BombShells will be on hand to help guests create their own yarn creations to add to the huge fuzzy chandelier.

Places to Play All Day:

  • Carnival of Arts at the West Chester Library starts at Noon featuring local musicians, theatre groups, and more.
  • Wyoming Fine Arts Center features programming all day starting at 9 am—music, dance, make and take crafts, etc.
  • Fitton Center for the Creative Arts also has a full day of programming starting at 10 am including make and take crafts.
    Three back-to-back choral concerts by Cincinnati BoyChoir, Cincinnati Children’s Choir, and MUSE at St. John’s Unitarian Church in Clifton starting at 1:00 pm.
  • Stroll around the Columbia-Tusculum neighborhood and visit Ballet Theatre Midwest, New Edgecliff Theatre, and the Irish Heritage Center starting at 11:00 am.

Toddler Activities:

  • If your wee one is not quite ready to sit still for the Symphony concert, you need to check out Linton Music’s Peanut Butter and Jam concerts at the Clovernook Center for the Blind at 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM. “Bim Bam Boom!” will feature percussion instruments which is sure to delight little drummer boys and girls.
  • Also, Wyoming Fine Arts Center has Musik Kids activities for Babies from 9 to 9:30 am, and for toddlers from 9:30 to 10.

Great Picks for Adults and Teens:

  • The Whipping Man, at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati at 2 p.m.  Please note this production contains strong adult language and themes and may not be suitable for all ages. Limited seating available. Call 421-3555 to reserve tickets.
  • Porgy & Bess: Opera Redux at Kennedy Heights Presbyterian Church at 7:00 pm.  One hour version of the Gershwin classic staged by Cincinnati Opera.  You can also catch this show at Noon at the Fairfield Arts Center.
  • Mini-classes and performances at Contemporary Dance Theatre in College Hill starting at 11:30 AM.
  • Playhouse’s Scene Shop tour leaves on the hour from 12:30 to 3:30 at 1430 Gilbert Avenue—a fascinating chance to see how sets are painted and constructed. 
  • New Edgecliff Theatre offers an open rehearsal of the upcoming one-man show, St. Nicholas, at the Columbia Performance Center at 1:00 pm.  Audience members can make “suggestions” for the scene to the actor and director.
  • The Betts House offers free admission to their exhibit “The Big Shake” at 1 pm.


What are you looking forward to on Saturday? Let us know here, and please share your pictures, videos and experiences via Facebook and Twitter using the #MacysSampler hashtag.