LaVahn grew up in the State of Wisconsin, the "state of circuses." He is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a Masters in scene design and theatre history and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in scene design and theatre technology.
LaVahn is a professor of drama at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va. He has taught courses in theatre technology, special effects, scene design and lighting. He recently received the Outstanding Educator in Theatrical Design and Technology, Founder's Award from the United States Institute of Theatre Technology, Southeastern Section.
LaVahn is a nationally known circus historian and teaches the only accredited course in America on the history of the American circus at theUniversity of Virginia. He co-authored a book entitled Step Right Up! The Adventure of Circus in America and has produced a video on the Clyde Beatty Circus. LaVahn teaches circus history and is also an archivist for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. He has appeared on a two-hour documentary on the Arts and Entertainment Network commemorating 200 years of circus in America.
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