Dogwood event presents once in a lifetime opportunity for students

Published 9:21 am Thursday, April 14, 2016

To celebrate the 25th anniversary, organizers with this year’s upcoming Dogwood Fine Arts Festival wanted to feature artists with a strong connection to the Great Lakes State — as well as the Grand Old City.

This year’s opening act, the Starfish Circus, will definitely fit that criteria.

The pair of shows, which will take place at the Dowagiac Middle School Performing Arts Center May 5 and 6, will feature students from the local school district, who will be performing dazzling aerial acrobatics, choreographed stunts and side-splitting comedy alongside the professional performers with Kalamazoo’s Aerial Angels.

Performers with the Aerial Angels will teach kindergarten through 12th grade students how to perform various stunts and tricks in a two-week crash course, culminating in the two staged shows during the Dogwood Festival. No experience in dancing, gymnastics, theater or any other performance art is necessary — children just need to fill out some paperwork and show up to the open tryouts for the show, which will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 23.

As explained by program founder Allison Williams, the Starfish Circus doesn’t just give students a chance to show off in front of an eager audience on stage — it demonstrates to them that they can perform seemingly impossible feats, which can give them an added boost of confidence they will carry with them the rest of their life.

One of the strengths of the Dowagiac school district is the number of ways that local students can express themselves artistically, be that through the school’s band or choir programs or through the district’s annual spring musical.

However, nothing the district offers is quite like the aerial stunts and tricks featured in the Starfish Circus.

We think this program is a wonderful way for local children to try something new. Not only will students get a chance to impress their family and friends with their newly developed skills, but they will also get a chance to bond with classmates in a fun, fresh setting.

Who knows? Maybe a few of students will even find their calling.

We encourage students who are interested to give the Starfish Circus a shot, and we hope that the community shows up en masse to pack the auditorium during the performances. We’re sure it will be something that nobody will want to miss.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.