The Circus Arts Club at Central Michigan University is getting noticed around campus, one juggling trick at a time.
This registered student organization is just what it sounds like – a club for those with a passion for circus arts, juggling and balancing acts. Members have the opportunity to hone their skills, learn new tricks and meet people with similar interests.
The club boasts a roster of approximately 50 members and meets twice a week to practice and enjoy each other’s company.
Brighton senior Matthew Peplinski, the president of the organization, said he got the inspiration for the club after someone taught him a new trick at a drumline festival a couple of years ago.
“I realized that it was much easier to learn when you have somebody guiding you and teaching you than it is on your own,” he said. “I wanted to have a place where those who had never tried circus arts could come and learn something new, experienced members could share their skills, and everyone could have a place to hang out, relax and meet people who share that interest as well.”
However, the club isn’t all fun and games. In between hula hoops and high ropes, the group takes time to give back to the community.
“We do some volunteer events and shows, but I made it a rule in the constitution that we wouldn’t accept money for events. The goal isn’t to make money for the participants. We sometimes volunteer at the elementary school or the Mount Pleasant library; anywhere that’s having an event for a cause,” Peplinski said.
On top of volunteering for the community, the Circus Arts Club serves as an outlet for some students. Dewitt graduate student Kimberly Tate, for example, enjoys this creative opportunity the club provides.
“I love to hula hoop, and it’s just a safe haven. We hang out, we put on music and jam, and we learn from each other, too,” she said. “The jugglers might have a different perspective on it, and they might pick up a hoop and do something completely crazy with it that I’d never thought of before.”
The RSO offers another benefit, too: a good workout.
“It’s a way to express the creative side, but it’s also a good form of stress relief. Plus, I get a great workout from it. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been before,” Tate said with a laugh.
Club adviser Nancy Eddy said it was her interest in acting and the circus arts that led to her becoming the adviser.
“I was in graduate school at the time, and I was taking a circus skills class. My masters of fine arts is in acting, and many acting schools have you take a circus arts class to help with coordination and balance and such,” she said. “Matthew was in two of my classes at the time when their current adviser left the school. He knew I was interested in the circus arts, and he asked me to be their new advisor this past September.”
For Peplinski, though, the interest goes beyond juggling tricks and acrobatics.
“I’m actually an elementary education major, so for me personally, I love to teach and to learn, and the circus arts are awesome to me because you never stop learning,” he said. “There’s always something else to try.”