Wolf Files: Strange Summer Camps

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The $175 program, now in its second year, is sponsored by the nonprofit Progressive Arts Alliance, and stresses hip-hop culture as a community-building force. Students even learn how spray-painting graffiti can lead to a career in art. Circus Camp: Not all the kids at Circus Camp can be class clowns. They need tightrope walkers, jugglers and magnificent men and women on the flying trapeze.

Before you run off and join this circus, you'll have to apply, and pay $795 for the two-week session. Some years, more than 800 kids apply for the 50 slots in this summer program, held at the state college campus in Purchase, N.Y.

Once under the big top, kids learn the art of applying greasepaint, throwing custard pies, riding a unicycle, and so forth from members of the famed Big Apple Circus, including performers who have worked with Ringling Bros. and the Moscow State Circus.

The program ends with a live show, and then campers pile into impossibly small cars and go home.

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.