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Join the circus without running way

If you've ever dreamed of being in the circus — but lacked the grace, coordination or verve — here's your chance. Kind of.

The second annual Flow Arts Festival opens in Lake Worth today, giving everyday people a chance to learn what is known in the circus world as "object manipulation," or "prop spinning." This includes juggling and "anything that involves manipulation of a prop," event organizer Casandra Tanenbaum says. "Overall, it's a festival based on movement."

Dance, yoga and tai chi are also offered at the event, which takes its name from the idea of being in a state of "flow."

About 40 classes will be taught from Friday through Sunday at Bryant Park, 10 S. Golfview Road. Admission costs $50 per day in advance and $75 at the gate, with discounts for three-day tickets.

"But any one individual workshop would cost at least $60," Tanenbaum says.

Among the featured circus arts are "rope dart" and "puppy hammer," both of which are versions of poi, an ancient form of prop manipulation from the Maori traditions of New Zealand. The activities consist of swinging weighted balls on the end of a string or cord in rhythmic patterns.

"Any time you see a photo of fire-dancing or fire-spinning, it's probably a poi artist," Tanenbaum says.

She says this festival is "unparalleled in the community" because it is open to people who aren't familiar with such activities.

"Very few are open to the public," she adds. "They tend to be private affairs on private land available to those who are already doing it. So here you can get into the flow — without being in the know."

Friday is especially valuable to beginners, with entry-level workshops in prop manipulation from 1 to 7 p.m. and a children's zone, a free space for kids to explore on their own in a staffed area while adults take classes.

Tanenbaum teaches hoop-dance lessons in West Palm Beach through her business Hoop So Fly, but she'll defer this weekend to hooping mavens such as Kit Spins from Los Angeles and Luna Breeze from Kansas City, Mo., a hoop-dance instructor who works up to eight hoops at once.

"She has combined Native American traditions with modern American hoop-dance," Tanenbaum says. "So she has incredible formations and designs with large hoops that echo Native American spinning traditions, made with small hoops."

For those who just want to watch, a free instructors' showcase performance, including fire-spinning, is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Spam Allstars, a nine-piece Afro-Cuban funk band from Miami, will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Go to, 954-356-4725

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