Unity Circus Project is a social circus whose mission is to empower youth through circus arts while building bridges between communities of varying socioeconomic, racial, and cultural backgrounds.
Unite ~ Inspire ~ Empower
Unity Circus Project
Unity Circus Project is a social circus organization located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The organization facilitates youth and community development through the practice and performance of circus arts. Through our classes and workshops, we aid youth in the building of self-esteem. We provide safe spaces and access to positive role models while inspiring youth to strive for future success.
Unity Circus Project is the brainchild of Cornell Freeney who is a product of a social circus. Growing up in an underserved community in Chicago, he was on the path towards gangs until he stumbled upon Circesteem. It was there where he realized the power of social circus. That social circus opened many doors for him and after over 18 years of social circus involvement, he intends to open doors for youth in the Las Vegas area.
In search of a positive outlet, Cornell joined a social circus by the name of CircEsteem at the age of thirteen. He first took interest in tumbling and mini-trampoline. In 2005, Cornell started to train on the German Wheel. Preparing for The World Championships in Wheel Gymnastics, Cornell practiced every day before and after school. After two years of training, he competed in Salzburg, Austria. There he placed 7th all around, 6th in spiral, and 2nd in vault. Winning four gold medals, Cornell has also shown success in national competitions.
Upon graduating from High School in 2008, he started his career in German Wheel on ice, performing for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Understanding the importance of education, later that year, he enrolled at Illinois State University. There he earned a degree in elementary education and was able to grow his circus skills through Illinois State's Gamma Phi Circus program.
After college graduation, Cornell spent 2 years living out his dream of touring the world. Following his tour life, he spent 5 years acting as the program coordinator and Head Coach for Circesteem, a social circus in Chicago.
In the summer of 2020, he began the next chapter, which was founding and leading the Unity Circus Project so that he too can provide opportunities for youth.
Unity Circus Project Staff
My name is Brandon Beall and I have been a circus performer for over 6 years! I have performed in many acts including juggling, unicycles, and teeterboard. My absolute favorite acts to perform are tightwire and aerials. I love Unity Circus Project because it gives me a chance to teach and pass on everything I learned since I started my circus journey. I had zero circus experience before I started, but not long after, I was performing in front of thousands of people with some of my best friends. Running away with the circus ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made and I hope to pass that on to as many people as I can!
From biomedical device inventor, to LEGO engineer, to circus acrobat, Natalie Abell's curiosity has led her down paths she never thought possible. Since 2011 Natalie has devoted her energies to revealing to her students (adults and youth alike) the possibility and excitement of finding something unexpected within. In 2016 Natalie began working with Cornell at a social circus in Chicago. She fell deeply in love with the community and mission of creating strong bonds through collaboration, art, and self-confidence. This purpose has gotten into her blood and she is excited to be joining Cornell and his team at Unity Circus Project in Las Vegas.
Chris’s young life was split between acting onstage and bouncing around gymnastics facilities. In high school, he was introduced to the idea of blending the two with physical theater, attending intensive workshops with Pilobolus Dance theatre, among others. After high school, Chris graduated with a BA from Case Western University, where he also spent a year in London at the British American Drama Academy.
After University, he spent a year at Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theater. A year into his MFA program, however, he was swept away by the Circus and soon moved to Chicago, IL to teach at CircEsteem.
He spent over 4 years in Chicago, teaching circus to all ages and receiving daily professional training in a wide variety of circus arts with world renowned coaches, including Wolfgang Bientzle (eight-time Wheel World Champion), Nourbol Meirmanov (graduate of the Moscow State Circus School), and Paul Miller (Ringling Clown). This is where Chris fell in love with the circus, and specifically German Wheel. In 2009, he received a gold medal in the German Wheel National Championships, and went on to compete in the World Championships in Barr, Switzerland, finishing 15th overall.
Finally, it was time to roll out on his own and head to the Big Apple. Chris spent the next 10 years living in NYC, performing around the world, and creating his own German Wheel Workshop circuit for all ages and skill levels. Now he is excited to embark on a new adventure with the Unity Circus Project in Las Vegas, NV.