Isla Merten, a member of Circus Club, juggles white disks, showing off her skills to other students

Humboldt Circus clowns around campus

Let your freak out

by Gabriel Zucker

As his staff flew around his body. It became an extension of himself, twirling over the pavement. Man and tool became one through dance. Liam Boyd, a transfer student, and part-time circus performer ran up to the booth with a clown nose and a staff in hand. He had no idea Humboldt had a circus club and was overjoyed to meet everyone. Boyd started to perform with his staff and soon was joined by others, slowly growing into a full-grown performance.

The Humboldt Circus is one of many student-led Cal Poly Humboldt clubs. These clubs give students a safe place to meet like-minded individuals and learn new skills.

Photo by Gabriel Zucker | Louis Parr and Isla Marten sit behind the Circus Club banner, calling people over to check them out. Feb. 11.

On Wednesday, Feb. 10, student clubs set up booths around the Quad. This gave new students a chance to learn about and join these clubs, opening the door for new friendships and experiences.

Louis Parr, President of Humboldt Circus, brought a box full of circus props to their booth. Immediately the traffic in front of the booth increased.

“Circus is a magical place, full of fun and free creativity,” Parr said. “You are allowed to do whatever you want to, within the circus.”

Every week Circus hosts “Play Time” Monday from 5-8 pm at the West Gym. There they give students a chance to let their inner freak out in an artistically unique way. In this space, students are given complete freedom to explore and experiment to their heart’s content, trying new things every time, or perfecting one act over the course of the year.

Isla Merten, a longtime member of Humboldt Circus, walked around the Club Fair. They juggled everything from bowling pins to thin disks. Soon they were joined by more and more interested students, all signing up for the club and trying out some of the cool props. By the end of the club fair, multiple students had stopped what they were doing and taken a couple of minutes to try out different props and write down their emails.

Photo by Gabriel Zucker | Louis Parr, President of Circus Club, does bike tricks around the quad, during the Club Fair on Feb. 11.

Humboldt Circus gives its members endless possibilities for what they can perform and act out. Character acting and improv also have a place in Humboldt Circus. Props are used for tricks, laughs, and skits, adding a new layer to the performance. This year Merten moved away from the props and instead focused on improv and clowning.

“A clown means being creative and open to work with what you are given,” Merten said. “The spirit of play and creation.”

Embodying the clown, they act out scenes by themselves and with others. Merten uses improv to expand and perfect their character. Humboldt Circus, like all the other student clubs, gives a social place for students to bond with one another. When asked about who usually joins the club, Merten didn’t miss a beat.

“It’s a club for introverted weirdos,” Merten said with a laugh. “We have extroverted weirdos too.”

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