Born and raised in Atlanta, Kasumi graduated with distinction from Georgia State University from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies with a degree in Public Policy and Economic Development.
She has been in youth and family circuses since the age of four. She began teaching when she was 16 and performing professionally at the age of 18. The social circus mission was what drew her to working for CircEsteem. Kasumi has been a social circus teacher in Atlanta and Chicago for the past 10 years.
Interview with Kasumi Kato, May 2014
1. What do you love most about working with CircEsteem?
I love the kids! They fill me with so much joy and energy. I don’t think I could do my job without the constant instant gratification of those sweet faces. I also really enjoy the freedom I have within my program to design and implement new ideas. The flexibility of our programming and the undying dedication of our staff inherently provide our youth with programming that can bend to their individual needs. It gives me great satisfaction to make an evolving program that really suits the needs of the children we serve in fun and creative ways.
2. How does CircEsteem play an important role in shaping the life of the kids it serves?
The friendships the youth build while in our programming affect them for their entire adolescence and young adult lives. From friends to role-models, CircEsteem has been graced with such talented and adoring youth and staff throughout it’s 13 year history. I am continually reminded of this when trainers and graduated youth come back to visit, and, after so many years, are welcomed back with such excitement and enthusiasm.
3. What was your first circus experience that you recall?
Performing in a children’s art fair in Atlanta dressed as a clown when I was 5. I specifically remember that I wanted to be painted like a Ronald McDonald clown. I was the cutest, most terrifying clown there!
4. Can you tell me one of your most treasured memories of CircEsteem?
So many! Just the other day one of our youth said that I was the circus mom, and Sam was the circus dad! We are a little circus family here, and the kids really attach themselves to the community.
5. How many different circus skills can you do?
All of the skills! (except pole).
6. Is there any circus skill you wish you could do or plan on learning that you haven’t yet?
Chinese pole looks so cool! And oh, the strength!
7. What animal do you wish you could have as a pet and what would you name it?
I would love to have a big tortoise named Quinton or something super formal sounding.