Cirque du Longhorn

Hula hoops may be considered relics of decades past, but UT’s Longhorn Circus is bringing them back to campus—along with quirky group dancing, acrobatic yoga, and poi. The new student group came together last semester to bring this alternative exercise and lighthearted fun to the Forty Acres.

But it’s not all games—the group’s members are true circus artists, and it’s hard not to stare when they practice acrobatic yoga, or acro-yoga, on the South Mall. Two partners—a base and a flyer— move in tandem, the base using his limbs to hold the flyer in various yoga positions.

Longhorn Circus also practices poi, which requires the performer to swing sock-like tethers attached to weights in a variety of geometric patterns. Graduate student David Purtseladze found his niche in the Longhorn Circus because of his longtime interest in the performance art, which originated in New Zealand.

“I practice poi so I can do it with fire,” Purtseladze says. “I love the sound and heat of it. It’s like a gust of wind when it whizzes by.”

Members say the group helps relieve stress and builds camaraderie, which can be difficult on such a large campus.

“There’s not enough hula-hooping and being silly at UT,” member Anna Lewis says. “We come here for skill-sharing and to have a great time.”

Photos by Jeff Heimsath


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