The Flying Trapeze may appear to be effortless, but don’t be fooled, there are years of training and hard work that go into becoming a skilled circus professional. To celebrate and bring awareness to this unique career, the American Circus Educators Association (ACE), a branch of the American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO), is excited to announce their newest honor, the Lifetime Achievement in Circus Education Award. The first-ever recipient is Master Lu Yi, who spent 33 years in the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe and has over 50 years of experience. Master Yi moved from China to San Francisco in 1990 to become Master Teacher and Founding Artistic Director at the San Francisco School for Circus Arts, now called Circus Center.
Circus Center is internationally recognized for training in circus arts for children and adults. Under Master Lu Yi’s leadership, the Circus Center’s training program has been built into one of the country’s best, training young performers who went on to win places in premiere circuses, circus schools, and touring companies around the world.
Highly respected within the circus industry, Lu Yi’s peers speak highly of his teachings and impact on those who have learned and worked with him.
“Among Master Lu Yi’s numerous contributions to the US circus community, one of the most visible is that he has probably taught everyone in the circus community how to hold a solid handstand – either himself or by one degree of separation,” said Jesse AlFord, incoming President of the American Youth Circus Organization.
In addition to announcing this prestigious award, AYCO is also launching a new branch of the organization, the American Circus Educators Association (ACE). This new branch is focused on supporting American circus educators. ACE is the trusted authority when it comes to all things circus education, such as professional development, safety guidelines, and networking.
“This a very exciting time for the circus community,” said Amy Cohen, Executive Director of AYCO. “With the announcement of the American Circus Educators Association, and the first ever Lifetime Achievement award given to Master Lu Yi, it is clear that the American circus education community is robust and our industry is evolving.”
This year’s award will be presented at the 2014 Circus Educators Conference, which will be held at and co-produced by the National Circus School Montreal (ENC) in Quebec, Canada. The conference runs from August 28th to September 1st and will feature a pre-conference focus group on safety, a variety of keynote speakers, social events, and 60 workshops presented by circus educators from nine different countries. Workshop examples include “Jugglers Anonymous” and “Mental Health in Social Circus”, as well as tours of the nearby Cirque du Soleil Headquarters.
Registration is currently open at americancircuseducators.org/events. For more information, or to arrange interviews and receive high-resolution photos, please contact Becki Cooper at 440-227-8794 or email@example.com.
THE AMERICAN CIRCUS EDUCATORS ASSOCIATION
The American Circus Educators Association is a branch of the American Youth Circus Organization that supports circus educators. AYCO and ACE work to connect, assist, advocate, and set safety standards for youth circus organizations, educators, and professionals across the United States. For more information visit www.americanyouthcircus.org and www.americancircuseducators.org
THE CIRCUS CENTER
Originally the training arm of San Francisco’s legendary Pickle Family Circus, Circus Center is today an internationally recognized training facility for the circus arts, offering recreational classes to thousands of adults and children year round. Its international faculty has performed in featured roles with elite circuses around the world, including the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe, Moscow Circus, Cirque du Soleil, Big Apple Circus, Teatro ZinZanni, and Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
MASTER LI YU
In his career, Master Li Yu worked for 33 years with China’s celebrated Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe, first as a star performer then as its Director. He was also Vice President of the Chinese Acrobats Association. During his long tenure with the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe, Master Lu Yi toured internationally, and his company was the first Chinese group to perform in Western circus productions, notably with Circus Knie in Switzerland and the Big Apple Circus in the US. He also taught circus arts for Circus Oz in Australia. In 1990, Master Lu Yi moved to the US to become Master Teacher and Artistic Director at Circus Center. He has judged international circus competitions in Paris, Monte Carlo, and China.