Recreation and leisure activities are an essential component of holistic wellness. It is also true that due to loss of income, budget cuts, or the limitations placed on in-person gatherings, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the ability of individuals and groups to participate in the activities that normally empower them and provide necessary routine. The Circus for All Project aims to help replace those sorely missed resources by providing free and subsidized virtual programming that is intentionally designed to meet the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social needs of participants who have been impacted by the pandemic. 

Specifically, the Circus for All Project aims to provide accessible movement-based programming and circus toys to a wide variety of individuals, families, and organizations that have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs are intentionally designed to be inclusive of all ages, sizes, genders, and levels of ability. Available virtually and in-person with social distancing practices in place, Circus for All include a variety of Circus Arts, Creative Dance, and Yoga instruction, targeting numerous physical/functional, cognitive, emotional, and social capacities.

The Circus for All Project is a “one-man show” directed by Benjamin Berry, a professional teaching artist and circus performer based in Western New York. His movement journey began when he first picked up a hula hoop in 2013, and was instantly inspired by what would become his primary artistic discipline. This led him to become certified to teach Hoop Dance by Hoopnotica in 2014, gaining international recognition by participating in the online hooping competition “Hooping Idol Season 5,” and teaching several cross-country workshop tours since 2015. These efforts ultimately earned him the title of Hooping.org’s Male Hooper of the Year in 2016. 

While hoop dance was his gateway to creative movement, his true passion is education. In 2019, he enriched his pedagogy by receiving training in Holistic Circus Therapy, a modality which utilizes occupational therapy principles to build physical, cognitive, emotional, and social capacities through circus arts, as well as the developmental movement-based BrainDance Method through the Creative Dance Center. His signature program, “Circus for All,” blends elements of creative dance, prop-based circus arts, and yoga. Since moving to Buffalo in 2017, Benjamin has presented his eclectic curriculum in over 60 local schools, libraries, and other community-based facilities. His mission is to spread the physical, emotional, and social benefits of creative movement to individuals of all ages and levels of ability. 

To learn more about the program, visit the Circus for All Current Projects page on our website, where you’ll find clickable links to Benjamin’s website and an accessible juggling class previously shared during Inclusion Festival ONLINE.