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The 2023 CSAW Tuition Grant Program was made possible thanks to generous support from Spiegelworld. 

The CSAW Tuition Grant program is providing two $5,000 Tuition Grants for US Circus Artists of Color this year - one for Adults (ages 18 years & over ) and one for Youth (17 years & under)



 The CSAW Tuition Grant Program recognizes that circus education is often expensive and inaccessible. These factors disproportionately affect BIPOC artists. This program strives to promote and increase accessibility and inclusion in circus education. CSAW hopes our tuition grant program will continue to grow and provide more opportunities as the years go on.

To be eligible to apply for the CSAW Tuition Grant for US Circus Artists of Color you must identify as a person of color who is a citizen, resident alien, or permanent resident of the United States looking to further their education in circus. A CSAW Tuition Grant may be applied for to help pay for any circus education related expense. This includes, but is not limited to: circus school, application fees and/or audition expenses for pursuing circus school, higher education in circus arts, preparatory programs, pre-professional programs, attending pole or aerial dance studios, private lessons, classes or any other cost which is related to learning in circus. 

The CSAW Tuition Grant Program for U.S. Circus Artists of Color launched in January 2022. Originally, CSAW planned to award one grant of $5K to a circus artist in need. However, at the discretion of the CSAW Selection Committee, three Tuition Grant recipients were chosen instead, each receiving grants of $5K, $1K and $500 respectively!

In September 2022, during our most recent round of Tuition Grants, CSAW was able to award two grants of $5K, one for adults (21+) and one for youth (under 21)! 


A HUGE thank you to Andrew Dunn for making the additional 2022 Tuition Grants possible!

Check out our Tuition Grant recipients below!



William Alejandro Larson Ormeño - Adult Tuition Grant Recipient

(18 years and over)

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William Alex Larson is a Juggler and Circus Theatre artist from Northwest Arkansas. While working on his honors thesis from the University of Arkansas, Alex discovered his passion for telling meaningful stories through juggling and circus and has continued his pursuit by attending L'École de cirque de Québec. Alex is overjoyed to be a CSAW Tuition Grant Recipient, and is looking forward to continuing his studies!

Alex will be using all of the Tuition Grant funds to help fund his continued studies at the prestigious École de cirque de Québec in Québec City, Canada.

Jacy Orion Johnson Becker - Youth Tuition Grant Recipient

(17 years and under)

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Jacy found his love for performing in the Nutcracker at age 6. Then he discovered circus arts, doing anything that gets him high up in the air. The higher the better. He knew this was the performing opportunity of his dreams. Jacy is from St.Paul Minnesota where he has trained at Circus Juventas @circusjuventas for the last 9 years. Since then Jacy has followed his dream to fly as high as he can possibly go in Vault Mini and Russian Swing. He currently performs in Vault mini, Acrobatics, Stunt Parkour and Shoot-thru Ladder, also training in Hoop Diving, Russian Swing, Fire Jump Rope (and how to safely play with Fire).

Jacy will be using his grant fund to train for more advanced flips to add style to his high flying and create his own fire props to set his performance ablaze. He is currently trying to set his shoes on fire.



Asom Snow Hayman-Jones - Youth Tuition Grant Recipient (Under 21)


Asom is a life-long athlete turned circus performer who loves nothing more than throwing and catching his friends on stage. Asom went from collegiate sports to clown class and could not be happier. He was raised in a small town in Northern Vermont and has now moved to California to pursue his circus dreams at the San Diego Circus Center. There he will be training hand to hand, banquine, Russian bar, and columns. He aims to entertain and create art through his own form of expression and movement. This winter he will be auditioning for Ecole Nationale de Cirque in Montreal in attempt to put him closer to his ultimate goal of Performing with Cirque du Soleil.



Asom will be using his tuition grant to fund his 2022-23 academy year at San Diego Circus Center and for his circus auditions this winter!

Damian Stuchko - Adult Tuition Grant Recipient (21 & Up)


Damian is a queer circus artist in the Memphis metro area, fusing Mongolian contortion, handbalancing, neo-burlesque, and drag into their performances. They began their circus training as a stilt walker with Weightless Aerial Company (Memphis, TN), before moving to Chicago and attending The Actor's Gymnasium's Professional Training Program (Class of 2019-2020), majoring in Contortion at the urging of their coach, Oyunchimeg "Oyuna" Yadamjav. Their background includes working as an assistant stage manager for The Actor's Gymnasium 2018-2019 season, backstage managing the inaugural show at the Teatro ZinZanni Chicago Speigeltent, co-creating an aerial adaptation of "Edward Albee's The Zoo Story" with Rhodes College, and co-creating "ANARCHY Americana: a queer virtual cabaret" during the pandemic. They can be seen performing around Memphis and the MidSouth as "Dandy, the Modern Lizard Boy".

Dan will be using their grant to fund their advanced contortion training with Gunnar Fields (Minneapolis, MN) and working with Rosa Yagaantsetseg of Circus Harmony (St. Louis, MO) to create a traditional Mongolian contortion act using a custom contortion table and canes created by Nicole Comito (NYC, NY). They will also be using this grant to fund classes and training at Bendy Beast Fitness and High Expectations Aerial Arts, two women-owned and operated fitness studios in Memphis, TN.



Sophia Layos-Wagaman


Sophia Layos-Wagaman is an aspiring circus arts performer from Fairbanks, Alaska.

A competitive gymnast since 2013, Sophia has competed at U.S. Gymnastics invitationals in Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Alaska. She has spent the last four years adding circus skills to her repertoire including straps, lyra, wire and partner acrobatics.

She performed with the Golden Heart Performing Arts Studio in the 2021 Solstice Soiree. 


Sophia will use her grant to further her skills by attending Circus Smirkus Camp this summer and investing in additional circus skills training. She hopes to pursue post-secondary circus arts training after she graduates from high school in 2023.

Roux Haile

(First Runner-Up)


Roux Haile is a transdisciplinary artist, community organizer and educator. In addition to being a dancer and tattoo practitioner, they are the cofounder of Ori Gallery in Portland Oregon: an art space committed to redefining the white cube and making a home for marginalized artists. In their work, Haile centers the creation of collaborative and intentional spaces specifically for Black folks infusing healing and liberation into every aspect of their practice. They cultivate an intimacy in their dedication to artistic labor which affirms Black Queer and Trans people particularly through their tattoo and dance practice. With knowledge of how misogynior, transphobia, ablism and white supremacy inform dominant culture and practices, Haile calls upon kinship and collectivism to reimagine these processes and relationships.


Haile will use their tuition grant for classes with a pole instructor and a basic acrobatics course, as well as some adaptive gear they can use for accessibility purposes.

Lyla Lawless

(Second Runner-Up)


Lyla Lawless is an 11-year-old student at Circus Harmony located in St. Louis, Missouri. She specializes in contortion, hand balancing, and partner acrobatics. She works extremely hard inside and outside the circus ring. She's a straight A student at Gotsch Intermediate School and she’s very passionate about everything she does.

Lyla will be using her tuition grant for handstand and balance private lessons with former CSAW Microgrant recipient, Kyran Walton.

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