At 15, Jesse Patterson has set herself apart from other performers, perfecting the art of the twirl as a student sat Lone Star Circus Arts Center.
Lone Star Circus’ professional organization and nonprofit school was created when eighth-generation circus performer Fanny Kerwich realized she was juggling too many people between her Far North Dallas studio and after-school program at Dallas International School in Preston Hollow. Kerwich, a multitalented performer hailing from France, decided to introduce Dallas children to the circus to give them the opportunity for expression and growth. It was at the school that little 10-year-old Jesse Patterson felt comfortable learning balance and coordination on the trapeze, until she saw a Cirque du Soleil performance that made her excited about hula-hooping. “I got really good after my first year,” Patterson gushes. “I even had a solo.” Now, the Ursuline Academy sophomore can balance up to seven hula-hoops on different parts of her body while performing in dazzling outfits. She has been handpicked by Kerwich to perform alongside professionals in Lone Star Circus’ upcoming December production of “Charivari.” Patterson practices weekly at Lone Star Circus School, takes private lessons, watches YouTube videos and has transformed herself into one of the top hula-hoopers in the region. “I think I practiced hula-hooping more than I did my own homework,” Patterson admits. She recalls a spring 2012 performance at the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra where Kerwich was supposed to do a performance during intermission, but had Patterson do the two 15-minute intermissions instead. “Most people don’t see the circus like performance art,” Patterson says. “But this is very European; it’s not like the regular circus.” Her grandmother Valerie Center pipes in, “Some people say to me, ‘Oh, you let her be with those kind of people?’ It’s professional. It’s art. It’s not like she’s out in the alley with elephants.” Now Patterson is awaiting news to see if she will make it to the International Circus Festival of Moscow in January 2014. Patterson already has passed the first phase of auditions and is excited about the news to come. “I think she is going to be a circus star, no doubt,” Kerwich says.
Want to know more about Lone Star Circus? Visit lonestarcircus.com.