Flashback: Sailor Circus, 1952

Sailor Circus began as a Sarasota High School gym class in 1949.

By Ilene Denton October 30, 2019 Published in the November 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine


It's hard to imagine that today’s Sailor Circus—with its twice-annual, near-professional productions filled with sparkly costumed kids doing fearless feats of circus skills—began as a Sarasota High School gym class in 1949. At 70 years old, it’s the oldest youth circus program in the country, now run by parent organization Circus Arts Conservatory. This photograph shows a young man in a T-shirt and white gym shorts carefully climbing the high-wire in front of packed bleachers on the Sarasota High football field in 1952, three years after the program started. Inspiration for a future Nik Wallenda, perhaps? 

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