“Flying children” highlight new photo exhibit


Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

Circus Harmony has a number of close connections to the St. Louis Jewish community, including its mission of tikkun olam, to repair the world.

Its artistic/executive director, Jessica Hentoff, founded Circus Harmony as a non-profit arts education and youth development organization in 2001. Since then, Circus Harmony has developed into a world-renowned social circus organization that uses circus arts to motivate social change.

In addition to performing under the big top annually with Circus Flora, Circus Harmony’s young entertainers have performed on the streets of St. Louis, the boardwalk of Tel Aviv, the countryside of Puerto Rico, and many other places where they have brought joy and triumph of the circus to people around the world.

Now, those travels are part of a new photography exhibit, “Watch Out for Flying Children.”


‘Watch Out for Flying Children’ 

This photographic journey follows the flying children of Circus Harmony as they defy gravity, soar with confidence and leap over social barriers in St. Louis and beyond. The exhibit opens March 15th at Lambert Airport in the Lambert Gallery on the lower level near Gate C and will run through Sept. 15.  The photos span the years 2004 through 2022.

In 2007, Circus Harmony started its first “Peace Through Pyramids” partnership with the Galilee Circus— a Jewish/Arab youth circus from the northern part of Israel. In 2015, it brought the Peace Through Pyramids program to Ferguson and has now expanded to other St. Louis communities as well as internationally.

In 2019, Circus Harmony was the recipient of the Missouri Arts Award for Arts Education, and in 2020 received the What’s Right with the Region honor from Focus St. Louis.

Live show 

On Saturday, March 26, at 1 p.m., Circus Harmony youth circus performers will perform live in the ticketing area of the main terminal at Lambert Airport, followed by an opening reception in the Lambert Gallery at 2 p.m. The event is free but there is a charge for airport parking.

Familiar faces

St. Louis audiences will recognize three Jewish performers among the images in siblings Elliana Grace, Kellin Quinn Hentoff and Keaton Hentoff-Killian. (Hentoff is their mother.)

Grace has been in the circus since before she could even walk. Her first entry into a circus ring was with Circus Flora at just 2 weeks old.

Raised in St. Louis as a member of Circus Harmony’s élite youth troupe – the St. Louis Arches – with additional education at the École de Cirque de Québec, Grace has performed and taught in Montreal, Israel, Dubai, and across America.

She has extensive experience in such disciplines as Lyra (solo and duo), static trapeze, tumbling, hula hoops, bareback horse riding, upside-down loop walking, and more. In 2013, she toured as Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s youngest-ever female human cannonball.

Kellin Quinn Hentoff is also a native St. Louisan. Growing up as one of Circus Harmony’s St. Louis Arches, Hentoff went from being thrown to doing the throwing. At the ripe age of 17, he moved to Montreal to attend circus college. After graduating, he had a fantastic two years entertaining crowds around the world.

Other alumni from Circus Harmony can currently be seen performing with Cirque du Soleil, Les 7 Doigts de la Main, Australia’s Circa Contemporary Circus, the Flying Wallendas, and other renowned companies.

You can catch the current flock of flying children in their weekly shows at the City Museum. You can also follow the flying children via their website, www.circusharmony.org, or on social media.