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Lesson 4: Run Away With the Circus!


Summary

Anna and Pete start their new show. They do not agree about the circus. Are the performers artists or athletes? Do they perform or compete? Find out in the first "He Said - She Said" show.

Conversation


Anna: Hello, I’m Anna …

Pete: … and I’m Pete. Welcome to “He Said,

Anna: … She Said”!

Pete: Because there are always two sides

Anna: to every story!

Anna: Today’s show is about Circus Arts!

Pete: Circus? That’s not an art form.

Anna: Yes, it is.

Pete: No, it isn't.

Anna: Yes, it is.

Pete: No, it isn't.

Anna: Yes, it is!

Pete: No, it isn't.

Anna: Yes, it is!

Pete: No, it isn't.

Anna: Yes, it is!

Professor Bot: Oh dear. Anna and Pete do not agree about Circus Arts. But that's okay. Today’s lesson is about agreeing and disagreeing. Let’s listen to how Anna and Pete disagree or agree. Let’s hope these two can agree on something.

Anna: Today, let’s run away with the circus!

Recently, I went to a circus festival. There was a huge circus tent. And many different circus performers. It was a celebration of circus arts!

Pete: That looks fun, Anna. But I don’t think circus performers are artists. I think they’re athletes with interesting skills … and costumes.

Anna: Hmm, that is a very interesting point of view, Pete. And I completely disagree.

Pete: Anna, Michelangelo was an artist. Rembrandt was an artist. People who swing from ropes are not artists. I know it’s not easy to swing from a bar and catch someone by the hands. You have to be very athletic to do that.

Anna: That’s a good point, Pete. They are athletic. But they are called trapeze artists. Trapeze … ARTISTS.

Pete: I hear what you’re saying, Anna. I do. But where is the art? Look at these guys. They’re jugglers.

Anna: Yes, they are skilled in the art of juggling.

Pete: They have a special skill. But are they artists?

Anna: Yes!

Pete: No!

Pete: They're just throwing things back and forth.

Anna: Kind of like you and me, Pete. We’re going back and forth on this issue.

Pete: I don’t think we’ll ever agree on this one.

Anna: No, but we can agree that these young people are amazing.

Pete: Okay, yeah. We can agree on that. But, still, they are very athletic – flipping and throwing each other around.

Anna: Yes, I agree with you on that point.

Professor. Bot: They did it! They agreed!! Anna says she agrees that the performers are athletic. "That’s a good point, Pete. They are athletic. I agree with you on that point. " Now look for other ways they agree.

Pete: Anna? Anna!!

Anna: Sorry! Sorry! But he’s an artist too. He is telling a story with his sticks and his costume.

Pete: What story? What costume?

Anna: I see your point, Pete. I really do. But circus performers do more than physical tricks. Look! Look at these amazing performers!

Pete: I will admit -- I like their costumes.

Anna: You know, Pete. Let’s let the performers speak for themselves.

Anna: Kate and Piper tell stories while hanging upside down on a ring!

Pete: Was it hard to interview them upside down?

Anna: I interviewed them right side up, Pete. Kate says circus performing may be athletic but it’s not competitive. With most sports, you compete.

Kate: It’s an art form because like, other sports are competing. This is simply performing and having fun.

Pete: Okay, Kate made a really good point. In athletics, there is a lot of competition. But still …

Anna: Here’s Piper, Pete. Please pay attention, Pete.

Pete: But, I -

Anna: Shh.

Piper: Well, when you’re up in the air doing circus you have to perform. And so, we learn to embody characters, and to move fluidly and gracefully … in artistic ways.

Anna: And that …is why they are artists!

Pete: You’re right, Anna. Oh, you’re right. It’s just so beautiful.

Anna: I know. I know, Pete.

Professor Bot: Good job you two! I'm so glad that Anna and Pete finally agree! Pete said, " You’re right, Anna." I agree, too. Circus arts are beautiful. Remember the website!

New Words

admit - v. to say usually in an unwilling way that you accept or do not deny the truth or existence of (something)
athlete - n. a person who is trained in or good at sports, games, or exercises that require physical skill and strength
athletic - adj. strong and muscular
back and forth - adv. toward the back and then toward the front or backward and forward
bar - n. a straight piece of metal or wood that is used as a tool
circus - n. a traveling show that is often performed in a tent and that typically includes trained animals, clowns, and acrobats
competitive - adj. of or relating to a situation in which people or groups are trying to win a contest or be more successful than others
embody - v. to be a symbol or example of (something)
form - n. a type or kind of something
graceful - adj. moving in a smooth and attractive way
hang - v. to hold one's body in the air
Michelangelo - n. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer. Along with Leonardo da Vinci, he is often called a "Renaissance man" which means that he had great talent in many areas.
Rembrandt - n. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a famous Dutch painter and artist. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history, and the most important in Dutch history.
right side up - adv. with the top of something, or the head of a person, facing upward
ring - n. something that is shaped like a circle
rope - n. a strong, thick string that is made by twisting many thin strings or fibers together
run away with - phrasal verb. to secretly leave a place with a person or a group
side - n. one of two or more opinions, positions, etc., that disagree with each other
trapeze - n. a short bar that is hung high above the ground by two ropes and that is held by circus performers who perform athletic tricks on it
twirl - v. to turn or spin around and around

Learning Strategy

The learning strategy for this lesson is Apply a rule. When you use English, you often apply rules you have learned. If you are not sure about how to say something in English, you can look for a rule that will help you.

In this lesson, Anna and Pete are talking about circus performers. Are they artists or athletes? Anna thinks of this rule: 'athletes compete in sports.' The performer Kate says circus performing may be athletic but it’s not competitive. Anna helps Pete to understand that circus performers are artists because, as Piper says, they move "in artistic ways."

How about you? How do you apply rules while you are speaking English? Can you think of an example of a rule that you applied recently? Write to us in the Comments section or send us an email.

Listening Quiz

See how well you understand this lesson by taking a listening quiz. Play each short video, then choose the best answer.

Free Materials

Word Book
Word Book

Download the VOA Learning English Word Book for a dictionary of the words we use on this website.

For Teachers

Send us an email if you have comments on this course or questions.

Topics: Expressing opinions; Expressing agreement and disagreement

Learning Strategy: Apply a rule

Comments

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