Krystal Younglove: Becoming ‘York’s Circus Sweetheart’

Misunderstood by a new audience, Krystal Younglove nearly gave up her passion as a fire dancer. A unique ask gave her the opportunity to truly connect with the local crowd.

Presented by: Our York Media
Written by: Anthony Machcinski
Krystal Younglove (Photo by Ken Bruggeman/Our York Media)

Krystal Younglove spent 12 years as a fire dancer performing on the West Coast. She nearly gave it all up in 2017 while seeking a “culture shock” by moving to York.

“It was depressing,” the 28-year-old says. “Performance opportunities were rare, there were no outlets for my art, and out here, people treated me differently because they weren’t used to it.”

She added stilt walking and other traditional circus arts to her act but still had little luck. On a whim, and in an effort to help a friend advertise her waffle booth, she asked Yorkfest organizer Mary Yeaple if she could “mosey around” on stilts. Mary said yes, and began to build her reputation as York’s stilt walker.

“She gave me a chance,” Krystal says. “I was finally out in front of people and could show them what I do.”

The coolest thing is when I’m walking on stilts and there’s a little girl who looks straight up at me and gives the biggest smile.

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Krystal Younglove

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Krystal became enamored with fire dancing as a high school student in Fresno, California. She was mesmerized by two friends who performed and thought, “I need to do this.”

She created a set of poi – tethered weights swung by the artist – using two tennis balls and a pair of knee-high socks. She then taught herself by attending skill share parties.

Over the years, Krystal sometimes singed the hair on her arms or accidentally set the fringe cloth on her shorts on fire, but the artform created an outlet to transform herself.

“I feel graceful,” Krystal says. “This is something that I can move with that doesn’t make me feel like an awkward duck.”

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Krystal hopes to one day earn the title of “York’s Circus Sweetheart.” She’s already recognized as the “lady on stilts” when walking downtown.

Krystal loves the adrenaline rush while she’s on stage. There’s a connection she shares with the crowd, Krystal says.

“The coolest thing is when I’m walking on stilts and there’s a little girl who looks straight up at me and gives the biggest smile,” Krystal says. “It melts my heart.”

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