A Modern Version of Running Away and Joining the Circus: From Inner City to around the World


  • Jessica Hentoff Circus Harmony


Circus has always been about defying the most basic rule we live under: the law of gravity. In the branch of circus called social circus, participants defy even more than that.  The notion of social circus being an outlier, somehow less legitimate than its mainstream professional counterpart, is being turned upside down (circus style) as some social circuses foster innovative new circus artists who also defy society’s low expectations of people from their neighbourhoods and backgrounds. This is the story of one of them.   

“Running away and joining the circus” is a classic childhood plot. Jessica Hentoff, director of American social circus organization Circus Harmony, gives the true account of Sidney "Iking" Bateman, someone who went from social circus to Cirque du Soleil.  In this modern version of the classic story, this young man ran away, joined the circus, and found a new home.

Author Biography

Jessica Hentoff, Circus Harmony

Jessica Hentoff has been teaching and performing circus arts for over forty years. Jessica is the artistic/executive director of Circus Harmony where she uses circus arts and her vision to build character and community and help children defy gravity, soar with confidence, and leap over social barriers.






Location, Locatedness, and Mobility (Section Editor: L. Patrick Leroux, Concordia University)