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Tumbling (And Hooping) Toward Ecstasy And Poetry Beyond Forgetting

Flying forward rolls as therapy? Bloomington's circus scene offers opportunities for growth. And the Alzheimer's Poetry Project: breaking through with verse.

If poetry can be a tool for improving the quality of life, so can hula-hooping, juggling, and acro-yoga.

Since the turn of the last century, when Bloomington’s homegrown dog and pony show grew into Gentry Brothers Famous Shows, the town has been an incubator of circus culture. The renaissance of the circus arts over the last few decades isn’t so much about running away with the show as it is about feeling better right where you are–

“It’s not about a thigh gap! It’s about a straight-legged inversion.”

–aerialist Laura Pence

Today at the Café,  we present the second part of Aubrey Seader’s exploration of Bloomington’s thriving circus scene. Last week, we introduced you to Henry Gentry, who ran the country’s largest traveling circus from a home base in Bloomington a century ago, and Bernadette Pace, who midwifed a new generation of performers from her backyard trapeze starting in the 1980s. Today, Aubrey Seader explores how those performers have parlayed their time under the big top into a unique opportunity for growth for folks back home. People of all shapes and sizes, ages and genders are finding their power through activities that originated in the big top.

And we continue our inquiry into the ways poetry is reaching new audiences to promote a greater quality of life.  On a previous episode, Shayne Laughter introduced us to Adam Henze, who is using slam poetry to enliven classrooms and enhance the literacy required in the new millennium.

Today, we discover how poetry is helping elders with memory loss manage their sense of isolation. Those who suffer from memory impairment often seem lost to the world around them, and their loved ones have been known to withdraw from meaningful communication with them. The Alzheimer’s Poetry Project seeks to restore those connections and enhance the health and welfare of those dealing with memory loss. The project has been acclaimed by the US Poet Laureate, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the MetLife Foundation, and has served dementia patients in 26 states and abroad. Carter Barrett observed the project in action at a Bloomington senior center earlier this fall.


Stories On This Episode

Poetry Beyond Forgetting

In his Alzheimer's Poetry Project, Gary Glazner uses poetry as a tool with dementia patients to promote creative expression and connection with others.

Circus 2.0: Seizing The Power Of The Greatest Show On Earth

Bloomington's second-wave circus veterans exchange death-defying feats in in the big top for breakthroughs in the studio.

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