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Cirque du Soleil cast members visit KCMO charter school rooted in arts

Performers teach life lessons through acts
Cirque du soleil at school.jpg
Posted at 5:01 AM, May 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-25 10:24:10-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Students at Academy for Integrated Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, use the arts to help them learn concepts. In a lesson about clouds, students stood up and danced like clouds. A math teacher had students bend to form acute or obtuse angles.

“It’s very fun for me. It’s like not boring. It keeps students active,” said Samerrah Robinson, a sixth grade student at the charter school.

Wednesday, Cirque du Soleil cast members surprised the students with a short performance which lived up to the teaching goals of the school.

Two performers showcased their prowess in hula hoops and juggling. The performers answered questions and invited two students to try the skills. At the heart of their performance was a simple message.

“If you’re ready to try, you’re ready to learn. You’re going to make mistakes along the way, that’s how you learn,” said Santé Fortunato, a hula hoop performer for Cirque du Soleil.

Robinson noticed how one performer dropped her juggling pins during the performance.

“She kinda picked it back up and was practicing again. So yeah, you gotta keep on practicing,” Robinson summed up the experience.

“You can’t learn how to juggle without learning how to drop first,” Fortunato added.

Dr. Tricia DeGraff, the executive director at Academy for Integrated Arts, said school should be fun for students. She’s happy they were able to see how arts can turn into a career.

“That might be one of the things they remember from this school year because it was unique, it was exciting; something they can remember forever,” DeGraff said.

Cirque du Soleil will perform its show titled “Corteo” Thursday through Sunday at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Mo. Tickets begin at about $39. Shows take place at the following times:

  • Thursday, May 25: 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, May 26: 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday May 27: 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 28: 1 p.m.