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Circus Harmony – Bringing The Middle East To The Midwest

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - A few years ago, Shaina Hughes left the center ring at City Museum to make a connection half a world away.

"It was amazing," says senior Shaina Hughes, 17.  "It was hot, but it was amazing."

She and other Circus Harmony tumblers traveled to Israel to take in a new culture.

"We are a circus made of blacks, whites, Jews and Christians," says Max Pepose, 17, a tumbler in the troupe.  "But I think seeing that circus there really kind of made us understand that we're making a difference here as well."

Now the high flyers at the far out City Museum want to bring the Middle East to the Midwest.

"So they can see where we live and how it is down here," says Donald Hughes, 12, Shaina's brother.

They've begun a Kickstarter effort called 'Peace Through Pyramids.' The goal is to bring the Israeli, Jewish and Arab 'Galilee Circus' to America where they'll train and perform with their St. Louis counterparts.

The program uses circus to bring people together because it's about trust, overcoming fear, and making people laugh.

The troupe has to raise $20,000 by June 15th in order for the circus to circumnavigate its way to St. Louis.

"But while they're learning to flip, fly and juggle," says Jessica Hentoff the artistic Executive Director of Circus Harmony, "they're learning important life skills like focus, persistence, teamwork, and we work very hard with helping them not just defying gravity, but also leaping over social barriers."

Building friendships and breaking down walls.

"It doesn't matter," says Shania.  "We see each other as friends and sometimes family."

After all, it's not about your background or where you're from, but who you are and what you do, that can make a world of difference.

Donate Here - Peace Through Pyramids

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