Carly Schuna fell in love with the German Wheel at a juggling festival. Her devotion led her to help found a space for circus arts in Madison that has attracted a wide variety of people and interests.
Schuna started with juggling at age 11. After moving to Madison, she discovered the Madison Area Jugglers. She went twice a week, and eventually went to a juggling festival where she discovered the German Wheel.
“I fell in love with the German Wheel. I never wanted to get out. I dreamed about it for two weeks,” says Schuna.
The German Wheel is like a giant hamster wheel for adults. It has straps for your feet and athletes do gymnastic moves inside the wheel.
Schuna purchased her own wheel about a month after being introduced to it. German Wheels are big and you need a lot of space to practice, so Schuna and a few friends decided to look for a large space. They eventually started the Madison Circus Space to provide training in and practice space for the circus arts.
Among the people to discover the Madison Circus Space was Becca Krantz. A scary bout with breast cancer and a double mastectomy left her reevaluating her life and the things she wanted to be doing.
“I want joy to be one of the criteria when I’m deciding between things,” says Krantz.
A friend told her about a trapeze class and Krantz knew immediately that she’d found something that fit her new criteria.
“I didn’t even hestitate,” says Krantz. “I didn’t even know if I could do it, I just knew I want that.”
For Krantz, the Circus Space is about overturning assumptions about what’s possible.
“It just makes me happy to watch people doing it,” says Krantz. “And it’s healing me physically and emotionally.”
That’s just what Schuna hoped people would find.
“We literally built this with our blood, sweat, and tears,” describes Schuna. “Madison is a very welcoming community.”