In 2021, Rabun Gap’s Cirque program celebrated 20 years of wowing audiences and inspiring students.
Cirque at Rabun Gap has become a valued school tradition and is a major part of campus life and culture. Rabun Gap was the first high school in the United States to establish a program for circus arts. Cirque combines elements of theatrical performance, acrobatics, and dance, utilizing the talents of each student group to create an original and unique storytelling experience. Students perform on a variety of apps including aerial silks, Spanish Web, trapeze, German wheel, aerial lyra, and more.
Cirque officially began its mainstage debut in 2001 under the leadership of former arts faculty member Larry Smith. He started with a core group of students who performed circus arts for class projects and small shows. Over the years, the program expanded to include a yearly, originally scripted and student-led production on the Rearden stage and making an impact for hundreds of alumni.
“There’s nothing like Cirque at Rabun Gap. There is no other school who does anything like it,” said Head of School Jeff Miles. “We are proud to offer such a unique experience led by our exceptional arts faculty members, and are thankful for those teachers and alumni who have built the legacy for a phenomenal program.”
Today, Rabun Gap’s annual Cirque performance is now one of the most anticipated theatrical events in the region, drawing sold-out crowds from multiple states. In addition to the annual performance, Rabun Gap students also have the opportunity to participate in Cirque training year-round at both the high school and middle school level.
Sean Lakey is director of the arts department and leads our multifaceted Cirque program. For Mr. Lakey, Cirque represents the pinnacle of performing arts at Rabun Gap and culminates the hard work of all arts disciplines.
“The Cirque program at Rabun Gap has grown and evolved over the last two decades into a truly unique experience,” said Lakey. “The students have an incredible amount of ownership and pride in the program, and it is one of the cornerstone memories of Rabun Gap for so many. The sheer amount of effort, creativity, problem-solving, and athleticism that the students pour into this program year after year is a constant source of inspiration.”