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Our Services

If you have something you want to celebrate, Ignite Circus would love to celebrate with you!

We customize our entertainment to suit your needs. From birthdays, galas, and community events to weddings, graduation parties, and everything in between, let us add some flair to your special event!

When you invite Ignite Circus to help with daytime parties, festivals or community events, hula hoops will be spinning, juggling balls will be flying, and giant bubbles will be bursting as Ruby Rainbow twirls throughout the crowd, entertaining children and adults alike! Interactive entertainment is our favorite, and Ruby Rainbow loves to make new friends! Ruby will come to your event with plenty of tricks up her colourful sleeves to encourage new friends of all ages to be active and to learn new skills through play.

As the sun sets, let us light up your night with a spectacular fire show featuring Newfoundland’s leading fire artist, Danielle Knustgraichen, as artistic director. Danielle has trained with the industry’s top professionals and continues to hone her skills as a performing artist. She works diligently to push the boundaries of her craft via special effects and costume design, all of which accompany the technical elements of her performances. Danielle specializes in fire eating and dancing with flaming hula hoops. That said, she has a wide network of talented artists at her fingertips who are eager to join her on stage. And if heat’s not your thing, don’t fret! We offer fully customizable LED shows featuring SpinFX’s Phoenix Hoop technology!

If you want it all, we’ve got a solution for that, too. Ignite Circus can take things up a notch by bringing along our aerialist friends to fly above the splendor of your event. We can even pair your event with imaginative paint artists who will transform your guests through exquisite face and body art. The options are endless, meaning you get a dazzling production that’s truly unique!

Contact us to discuss your special event. We promise to make it fabulous while suiting your budget, venue, and desires!

Birthday Parties
🎂 Classic Circus Party🎈

If you want to turn your party into a circus, then you’ve got to invite Ruby Rainbow! Ruby will arrive ready to entertain, complete with a full artillery of circus-themed games. You and your guests will learn to hula hoop and juggle or get started in classic skilled toys such as diabolo or flowersticks. We even have a photo booth to help capture all the memories of your special day!

  • Price: $150.00
  • Includes: 1 hour of interactive party games and entertainment with Ruby Rainbow and a gift for the birthday child (hula hoop or set of 3 juggling balls).
  • Add on: Loot bags for 12 guests $100 (each additional participant: $7.00).

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🎂 Deluxe Circus Party🎈

Have you ever dreamed of running away to join the circus? Our Deluxe Circus Party package can help with that! You’ll get all the perks of our Classic Circus Party package plus an all-inclusive immersive experience that lets you become the star of the show for a day. Ignite will even decorate before the party and clean up afterwards! This package also includes a super spectacular cake lighting ceremony with our professional fire eater — a dazzling addition that you and your guests will never forget.

  • Price: $200.00
  • Includes: 1 hour of interactive party games and entertainment with Ruby Rainbow and a gift for the birthday child (hula hoop or set of 3 juggling balls), as well as decorating before the party and clean up after.
  • Add on: Loot bags for 12 participants $120 (each additional participant: $10.00).

Interested in this option but in need of a suitable venue? Our friends at Cirque’letics have space to rent for an additional $50 per hour. (Don’t worry, we’ll handle the logistics for you!).

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🎂 Extras🎈

🔥 If you have a fire in your veins, maybe it’s time to talk about adding an extra spark to your Deluxe Circus Party with a choreographed fire show.

🌈 Splash on more layers of colour by adding face painting to your event! Starting at $50 for your first 12 guests.
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Contact us to get started on your perfect party! (Don’t forget to talk to us about giant bubbles, balloons, and Sparky the Lion!)

Let us ignite the night by turning your party into a Neon UV/LED Glow Party!

Ignite Circus will get your party started by adorning the venue with illuminated black light, fiber optic and LED decorations for enchanting lighting. Guests will be treated to accessories such as glow sticks or bracelets. Prizes supplied by Ignite can be won through dance-offs or black light reactive hula hoop competitions. Party setup comes complete with a black light photo booth!

Close the evening and top off your dance party with a dazzling LED hula hoop performance featuring state-of-the-art SpinFX Phoenix Hoop technology for a truly unique and personalized light show! (Lessons in the flow art form of hula hooping is also part of this package if requested.)

The Neon UV/LED Glow Party is fantastic for teen parties or can be transformed to suit your 19+ venue!

✨ Glow parties start at $225 for 12 guests (each additional guest $15).

💎 Try our white party option for bachelorette parties or weddings! Prices start at $250 for 12 guests ($17 for each additional guest).

🎨 Want to take your party to the next level? Add UV body painting from Get Faced Entertainment for only $100/hour!

🏰 If you need a location, don’t fret! Our friends at Cirque’letics have you covered with space rentals available for $50/hour.

Ignite Circus was born of a desire to share professional skills with the local community in an environment that’s as fun as it is safe.

Workshops and class offerings are at the core of Ignite’s vision of bringing people together through play. The tricks and skills learned in circus arts are the vocabulary used to communicate with the audience. Similarly, physical literacy encompasses the knowledge of one’s body — how it works and how that knowledge can be used to perform superhuman feats.

Whether it’s getting that gosh darn hula hoop to keep spinning or spicing up you next dinner party by eating some fire, Ignite’s qualified instructors can help you on your journey! Our workshops specialize in early education jump-play-throw activities for younger children. We also teach more traditional circus arts such as juggling, hula hooping, unicycle, and rola bola for all age groups. Students who appreciate creative movement can take advantage of our workshops in flow art techniques including fans, staves, and poi — all techniques that teach foundational skills and pave the way for fire performance.

Ignite’s mobile workshops are great for team building activities or physical education events, most notably due to our large inventory of portable workshop equipment. Performance-minded individuals who wish to enhance their skills can avail of our private lessons. Group classes can also be arranged, provided there is a minimum of five participants. We really do have something for everyone!

Social Circus

Social Circus is a program and philosophy that aims to empower youth via circus skills. There’s literally something for everybody (and every body) in circus — all it takes is a supportive environment and a newly learned skill to help someone realize just how strong and capable they truly are.

Ignite regularly seeks partnerships with community organizations dedicated to helping at-risk youth, and a main goal of our Social Circus program is to teach risk assessment. Social Circus can guide youth to the discovery of their own boundaries and abilities in a safe environment. Rather than discouraging risk-taking, Social Circus’ core mandate is to teach risk mitigation and resilience through exploration.

Danielle Knustgraichen, a graduate of École nationale de cirque, leads workshops with community partners such as Thrive, the Boys & Girls Club of St. John’s, and Choices for Youth. These workshops allow participants in Social Circus programs to explore life lessons and social issues such as acceptance, courage, and consent. “Be more brave, not less afraid” is Ignite’s Social Circus motto. Being more brave helps participants acknowledge their fear and understand why it exists while allowing themselves to overcome that fear and not be limited by it.

Ignite is always open to exploring new partnerships with community groups serving our youth. If you think a Social Circus program would fit well into your organization’s recreational mandate, we’d love to hear from you!

Our Story

‘Sometimes you don’t know when you’re taking the first step through a door until you’re already inside.’
— Ann Voskamp

Our Story

Have you ever watched a movie where the main character hops from one life event to the next, hurling themselves forward until they reach a place so much bigger than they’d ever imagined? You think, ‘Wow, real life isn’t like that — MY life isn’t like that.’

But it is.

It’s almost like I was destined for the circus or something.

A movie might tell a character’s life story in two hours, but real life takes time. When you watch a movie, you’re passive — a watcher. In real life, you don’t always appreciate the magnitude of your own story until you take time for reflection.

This, my friends, is my movie — my reflection.

My opening scene wasn’t splashed on the Hollywood screen in a fury of fire and rainbow glitter, but it ran in the independent cinemas the proverbial red carpet long ago forgot. Dolly Parton sang about working ‘9 to 5,’ but boy, did I work it. It was during a rather beige administrative job that had my first run-in with a hula hoop.

[Enter Jen Brown.]

Jen is my co-worker and, as it turns out, she’s also my soul sister. She’s big into hula hoops and brings some to work. It’s not long before she has me hooping with her during lunch breaks. To say I’m hooked would be the understatement of the century. We have our share of mishaps, of course. Don’t think for a second that I touched a hoop and instantly bent it to my will. NOPE. (Some time down the road, I’ll teach children and ask them if they want to hear the secret to every magic trick. Naturally, they nod vigorously — ‘Yes!’ — and their smiles grow even wider. I tell them to get super close and then I whisper, ‘It’s practise.’ And it’s true.)

Through Jen, I carry on with my newfound hoop love, so much so that I land myself a gig in a fundraiser for Thrive. I’m stoked, but I’m also wondering how I’ll pull it off, especially since I plan to use a fire hoop … and I’ve never actually done that before. (Oops.)

[Exterior. Day.] I’m hula hooping alone in the park when Thomas Jordan of Wandering Brush approaches me. He’s booked as a face painter for the Victoria Park Lantern Festival and is wondering if I’d hoop to keep his patrons entertained while they wait during the event. Yes, please!

[The scene skips ahead to the Lantern Festival. Cue sound of a cassette tape on fast-forward.]

Thrive fundraiser! L-R: Danielle Aubut, Aaron McKim, me, Paula Graham.

There I am, doing my hoopiest of hooping when I meet Paula Graham. She’s using fire poi and asks if we can hang out. (Spoiler alert: we do.) I’m hooping, and Paula is all about the poi, and it’s not long until a new cast of characters make their entrance: The St. John’s Juggling Club. Soon we’re all hanging out, and I’m not alone anymore. There is much rejoicing!

It is during my time learning to fire hoop that Aaron McKim, fearless leader of the St. John’s Juggling Club, bestows upon me a motto that I will never forget: ‘Be more brave, not less afraid.’ I don’t think he could’ve anticipated just how deeply that would resonate with me, but it stuck like the smell of kerosene to sweaty cotton.

Through the jigs and the reels (as they say in Newfoundland), I soon find myself borrowing a fire hoop from Susan Jarvis (💖!). So when it’s time for my Thrive fundraiser gig, I’ve learned enough about fire hooping to pull off a routine. After that, I forge ahead with more volunteer gigs, including routines for the Seniors’ Resource Centre with the St. John’s Juggling Club.

And Paula! Did I mention I started The Spinsters entertainment group with Paula at this point?! Because that’s exactly what I did.

[Interior. My place.] I sit at my laptop. My fingers dance across the keyboard as I learn about Performers Without Borders. Social circus! This is a thing?! OF COURSE IT’S A THING!

[Exterior. Signal Hill. Day.] All the friends I’ve made since that fateful day in Victoria Park gather to help me make an application video for Performers Without Borders. The mood is high! We laugh and play and record. The video is a success! Then the editing is finished, and off it goes!

Then comes the rejection letter.

Not getting the Performers without Borders gig in India is disappointing, sure, but I take it in stride. Besides, I’ve met Danielle Aubut! She’s a professional aerialist working out of a new studio named Cirque’letics. She’s gearing up to compete in the PPS Aerial Performance Tournament in Hong Kong and needs someone to come along to keep the positive vibes a-flowin’. She needs a positive vibe cheerleader, man. I mean, come on — I was born to play that role!

The rejection letter sucked, but making the Performers Without Borders application video was a blast!

Once again, fingers are dancing on the laptop keyboard as I book my flight to Hong Kong. More excitement. More circus!

[Email notification chimes on phone.]

What the—?

[Reads email.]

‘It is with great pleasure that we offer you a place in our Performers Without Borders program.’

It turns out the original recipient of that honour couldn’t take the position. I stare at that email for a good twenty seconds before breaking down into the most fantastic ugly cry in history. (I’d never win an Oscar, but whatever.) That cry was real and visceral and WHY IS LIFE SO UNFAIR?! I’d gotten the offer I’d always wanted after already paying for my Hong Kong adventure and now I’d have to turn down the thing I’d wanted so badly.

James has joined the cast at this point. He’s new, but he’s a pro. He could’ve torn up his contract then and there, but he didn’t — instead, he comforts me and talks to me and listens to me. He helps me cope with everything I’m feeling, and it makes all the difference.

[Time passes.] Despite the disappointment of not being able to go to India, I have an epiphany: If I can’t go to Performers without Borders, then I can create a program here instead! [Enter Cara Carroll.] (Spoiler alert: Cara is now on Ignite’s Board of Directors!) We create a social circus program via the Boys & Girls Club of St. John’s. I might not have the experience and ready access to the tools Future Danielle will have, but I put myself out there, and that’s a big deal. I try. And people have fun, so what’s not to like? (Hooray for fun, right?!)

An early photo of The Spinsters (a.k.a., me and Paula).

[Hard cut to a Paul Engermann musical montage of events and endeavours: programs at Cornerstone with Danielle Aubut; cabaret-style shows; charitable events.] I’m performing regularly with The Spinsters and we are a force of laughter, fire, and fun. I’ve found my niche and intend to stay there.

The natural next step for me is to upgrade the soundstage of my life and apply to École nationale de cirque (ENC). I’m accepted and promptly begin learning how to operate a social circus. I study under the Teacher Training program and not only learn about the world but also about myself (to say I recommend the program would be an understatement). I mean, at this point I already have a BSc. in Behavioural Neuroscience, as well as a postgraduate degree from the Marine Institute but, you know, you’ve got to have something to fall back on. (Just FYI: My circus degree is the only one I ever intended to use, in case anyone’s keeping score for an Emmy nomination.)

[Flashback. My Spinsters sister Paula eventually moves to Halifax before I embark on my ENC adventure.]

Relaxing with my École nationale de cirque classmates.

[Flashforward. My ENC internship with Halifax Circus finds me reunited with Paula.] Happy times! The plot is riding high! Cue the inspirational 80s music! (Are we doing ‘St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)’? Oh, yes — we’re doing that.)

I have a fantastic time with Halifax Circus — not only because I’ve found Paula again, but also because Mike Hirschbach enters at stage left. I learn so much about social circus from Mike and my experience at Halifax Circus as a whole — I don’t think words can even come close to summing up that experience.

If you’ll allow me to stretch across geographical divides for a second, I need to mention that, along with my instructors at ENC, both Mike Hirschbach in NS and Aaron McKim in NL end up teaching me so much on my journey. More than anything, they show me how important it is to be an emphatic instructor, and, for that, I owe a thousand standing ovations.

[Exterior. Bannerman Park. Day.] I’m back in NL. I’ve completed my stint with ENC, and I’m ready to face the world … but I’m alone again. At this moment in time, it’s just me, my hoop, the sun, and my dreams. Except, I’m not truly alone, am I? James is still on the set, making sure I’m ready for each take. The players are everywhere, whether they know me by name or just as ‘the happy girl with the hula hoop in the park.’ Cue my reflection scene: I have a network of fascinating and talented people! Time to get to work, Danielle.

Are three musical montages in a script too much? Because we’re doing another montage now. (It’s totally 80s music again. It’s also Starship.)

Workshop time! I live to teach. 🙂

I rejoin forces with Danielle Aubut and, by natural extension, Cirque’letics. I keep The Spinsters going and continue to perform under the name. I do workshops with various groups, including Choices for Youth. Then I manage to borrow an Australian gem and expose NL to a whole new level of fire.

Shade Flamewater, a master fire artist from the beautiful Oceanic continent of Australia, comes to St. John’s in the summer of 2017. In an instance of using Facebook for good instead of evil, I connect with Shade, and we realize that out of everywhere else in Canada, NL is the first to have a suitable venue. (We also reach booking capacity first. How’s that for box office fire? 🔥)

At this point, I have an epiphany: There’s a huge demand for this! People want it, and I can bring it! It’s all the reassurance I need — I set off on my journey to bring fire and clowns and circus in general to anyone who would notice.

[Enter, stage left: Wendy Morgan.] Wendy is a gifted face painter, an equally talented event organizer, and the driving force behind Get Faced Entertainment. She instantly scoops me up in the fervour of the freight train that is her enthusiasm and off we go! She gets me out of St. John’s-Metro and soon I’m exploring other parts of the province with my LED hoops in tow. I make new friends, I laugh, I hoop, and I glow, baby!

Get your glow on!

[Cue the 2018 Victoria Park Lantern Festival, reprising its role in my life as a staple of circus collaboration.] The difference this time around is I’m the artistic director of the fire show. There are equal parts joy and nerves but as Kristen Langille Dahl once told me, whenever you’re nervous, you’re just really excited.

[Close-up. Present day.] I launch Ignite Circus and I reflect on how far I’ve come. I struggle to express the explosions of love in my heart without sounding like I’m accepting an award. Nothing I can put into works will ever do justice to the feeling I have when it comes to working, teaching, living, and breathing circus — I’ve resigned to the fact that some feelings just can’t be translated to the written word. All the same, I can try to come close, so here goes:

I want so many things. I want to encourage and nurture. I want to share and teach. I want to create a stage for the stageless. I want to let everyone in my orbit know that they are loved, and they are needed. I want more freedom, laughter, and love in this world. I want to give courage and smiles to everyone and for them to do the same for others.

I want everyone to run away with me and join the circus.

Signature
Danielle Knustgraichen
Founder, Ignite Circus
 ✨🌈✨

We Have Incredible Friends!

What We've Done & Where We've Been

Fire Eating
Gravel Pits Tour
Holdfast
Lantern Festival

We’d Love to Hear from You

Quick — make some noise! Grab your Hinkle Horn and your Three-Nozzled Bloozer! Tune up your Poggle Horn and your One-Nozzled Nozzer!

…Or you can just use our contact form if you want to get our attention. (It’s not as fun, but it works!) 🎺 🎷

‘Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves.’
— Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate (1989)

‘I am a clown … and I collect moments.’
— Heinrich Böll, The Clown (1963)

‘If you never did
You should.
These things are fun
and Fun is good.’
— Dr. Seuss, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (1960)

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© 2018 Ignite Circus