Local Performer Teaches York Seniors to Clown Around

YORK PA – East Greenville resident Jenny Hill, and colleague Chris Tamburro of Lancaster, recently taught senior citizens how to clown around – as though they were performing under a big top – in a 14-week series of circus-themed sessions at the Golden Connections Community Center in York Township.

The program concluded Wednesday (Aug. 17, 2022) with a celebration and party, according to photographer Dawn J. Sagert of The York Dispatch newspaper. Its “picture gallery” of Sagert’s color images showed how the smiling pupils demonstrated what they had learned. The event also was the subject of a WPMT-TV Fox43 news story.

The activity “helps battle depression” and, for some of the seniors, “it may even give them a purpose,” center Director of Social Services Kasie Ream told Fox43. “It’s a way for them to connect with people that are going through the same things in life that they are.” The circus lessons were free to the participants, the newspaper reported.

During their Wednesday performances, some seniors balanced feathers on the palms of their hands. Others put hula-hoops to active use. A few were dressed as clowns who swirled wide swaths of colored fabrics – using a technique described as “spin poi” – through the air. Several reached the dance floor, shook themselves with new moves, and laughed over their gyrations.

Hill, on her “Acts of Jennius” website, describes herself as a professional circus performer, arts educator, and writer. She is registered as a teaching artist with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Arts-In-Education Program, and according to her resume recently completed training “to conduct workshops and residencies with elders and those living with dementia and Alzheimers.”

Tamburro’s website describes him as “a multi-talented circus artist and teacher” who is part of the Arts in Education program in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Funding was provided by a partnership of the Cultural Alliance of York County, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the York County Community Foundation Embracing Aging Program.

Photo by Nick Fewings via Unsplash, used under license