Hup Squad 2023: Meet The Team! 

Anneliese!

I’m Anneliese Richardson (she/her), but most people call me Ani (On-ee). I’m 15 years old and I live in Mosier Oregon. I’ve been doing silks for about two years now, and have dipped my toes in trapeze and lira. Aside from doing aerial, I’m incredibly passionate about reading and writing, and I actually have two small published pieces of writing, which excites me all the more for the HupSquade blog! I also love skiing and acting, I’m on my school’s ski team and growing up in Oregon I have been skiing since I was a baby along with the fact that I’ve been in many plays, and am currently taking acting classes! I’m so so so so excited to join the squad and thank you so much for this opportunity!!!!!

Aodhan!

Hello, My name is Aodhan Lane. I am a 13 yr old circus artist from Cleveland, Georgia. I fell in love with the circus when I watched The Greatest Showman as a young child. I began taking circus art therapy when I was 8 years old at the Circus Arts Institute. During Covid, my life changed and I moved across the US briefly to Austin, TX, where I had the opportunity to attend the Uprise Circus Flying Trapeze program and several classes at Sky Candy. Now, I am back in Georgia, training at Akrosphere with one of my first coaches, Michael Edwards from Circus Arts Institute. Currently, I am a level 2 static trapeze artist and company member. I am also a student in the Academy of Clown Arts and Circus Smirkus summer camp in 2021. It is my dream to go to a circus college and be a part of a professional circus someday. 

Outside of the circus training, I busk as a mime, create short films, homeschool, and am a working actor.
I am excited to be a part of the AYCO Hup Squad. As a person with disabilities, I hope that being a part of the squad that I am able to bring awareness to the benefits of circus for people like me.

Daisy:

Hi there! I’m Daisy, I’m 17 years old, and my pronouns are she/her. I live in Chicago and train at Aloft Circus Arts, Chicago Center for Dynamic Circus. I started doing aerials when I was about 3 and absolutely fell in love with silks. My favorite skills to train are silks, straps, and trampoline, but I work on a lot of other skills as well, including handstands, clown, and teeterboard. I love to train my circus skills, but I also love to teach, and currently teach silks and kids circus at Aloft Circus Arts. Even though I love my circus community in Chicago, I’m grateful to have trained in the summers with Circus Smirkus, San Diego Circus Center, and NECCA.

Emily:

My name is Emily Fulton (she/her) and I am a 16-year-old circus artist from New Hampshire. I have been training since 2017 and especially enjoy my time spent creating art with lyra, contortion, and hand-balancing. I have recently become fascinated by the rapidly-emerging field of circus films which lead me to become the Festival Assistant for the Circus International Film Festival. When not circusing, you will find me snuggling with my cats, reading tons of books, researching random fun facts, and trying new vegan recipes off the internet.

Emma:

Hello! My name is Emma Weill-Jones (she/her), I’m 13 years old, and I am from the crazy city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! I’ve been doing circus since I was 5 or 6 years old at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, and over the last few years I’ve also been taking lessons with a coach at a separate studio as well. I’m also a runner and dedicate a few days each week to go running with a program at my school! Running helps to engage the muscles that I don’t really use during circus, and I love how it lets me explore my community. I’m a bit of a generalist and focus a lot on fabric, but I also train on some other apparatuses, but I also do partner acro, contortion, unicycle, some wire, a little bit of juggling, and I’m always open to try something new. When I’m not in circus I’m usually doing homework or sleeping, but I also love horror movies, writing, journalism, STEM, and TV shows that I can binge watch in 2 days. I am so ecstatic to be a part of this year’s Hup Squad and what it will bring!

Laci:

Hi! My name is Laci (she/her) and I’m a 17 year old aerialist from Annapolis, Maryland. I’ve been training aerial once a week for almost four years now at Studio 180, now The Newman Dance Center, and additionally at Rise Above Aerial Arts. My favorite apparatus that I’ve only discovered this past year is trapeze, but sling is a close second. I also have basic skills on silks and on pole. My favorite skill to do on trapeze is an inverted Montreal! Other than aerial, I do pointe and ballet, enjoy art (drawing, painting, charcoal, and alcohol markers), hanging out with my dogs, and hope to join the women’s rowing team at Loyola next year. If you’re interested in following my circus and art journey, feel free to follow me on instagram @_freckledlemons. I’m so excited to be part of the Hup Squad and share my love of circus with everyone!

Lyra:

My name is Lyra Gross, I live in California, and I’m 16 years old. I’ve been doing circus since I was 7, and have been in hup squad for two years now. I practice circus arts at Le PeTiT CiRqUe and often travel for shows with them! My main disciplines are forms of aerial arts (Mostly hard apparatuses and straps) but I also love foot archery, juggling, acro, and fire spinning. Aside from circus arts I love to play piano and guitar as well as sing. I also just joined my school water polo team which has been a really fun experience since I haven’t done too many team sports before. I’m so excited for this year’s Hup Squad and can’t wait to see what awesome projects are going to be created with this team!

Olympia:

Hi! My name is Olympia Davis (she/her), and I am 15 years old. I have been training aerial for 5 years at Empowered Movement Aerial in Hood River, Oregon. My favorite apparatus is the static trapeze, but I also really enjoy silks. I have tried flying trapeze and love it, but unfortunately I don’t get to do it often because the closest location is four hours away. My favorite skill on silks is pillar splits, and chocolate croissant or flip to stand on trapeze! Other than aerial, I spend most of my time riding and caring for my horses, and baking! I am so excited to be part of the Hup Squad!

Sylvia:

Hi everyone! My name is Sylvia Faulk (she/her). I’m 12 years old and I live near Washington, DC. I started as an aerialist and circus performer when I was 8. I perform with the Trapeze School of New York, Washington DC Youth Circus Troupe. (Shout out to my TSNYDC pals!) My favorite apparatus right now is the Silks, but I also really enjoy Lyra. When I’m not doing Circus, I’m usually snuggling with my dogs or reading romance novels <3. My Insta is @supersylviestar.

Thayer:

Hello everyone! I’m Thayer and I use he/him pronouns. I’m 18 years old and living it up in Minneapolis, Minnesota! Circus has been a part of my life since 2016. Most (if not all) of my free time is spent Juggling and clowning around or something related to the arts. I work for a branch of the International Jugglers’ Association called the Youth Juggling Academy as a social media manager and graphic designer. Outside of circus arts, I am a senior at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists in the Theatre track. My favorite things to do when I’m not doing circus are theatre, show tech, visual arts, and learning about the world in general. I’m so thrilled to be a part of this team! My Instagram is @thayerslichter if you want to give me a follow and/or talk about juggling!

T’Kai:

Hello everyone! My name is T’kai (ta-kai), I am 17 years old and my pronouns are she/they. I live in Chicago IL and I attend Circesteem on the advanced troupe which is known as Team. This will sadly be my last year on Team because I am a senior in highschool. I have been practicing for 7 ish years now. And my favorite circus skill is balance on the rolla bola which I am now working on stacking them and doing more jumps with a jump rope on it. When I’m not doing circus I like to watch films, draw and listening to a ton of music. Feel free to follow me on my instagram @sinecidal I’m so excited to meet you all!

Aloft Circus Arts Sanctuary!

Review by Daisy Coleman

Once a month, my circus gym, Aloft Circus Arts, hosts an amazing circus cabaret show called Sanctuary. This past month was no exception! The October 22nd Sanctuary was a fabulous combination of Halloween-themed acts, including a vampire trapeze act, juggling poetry, a quick-change on the Spanish web, a fiery bird on the sling, and more! 

Sanctuary originated in Aloft’s old training space as a show called “El Circo Cheapo Cabaret,” a very punk rock show which included occasionally letting people in for free if they successfully did ten pull-ups. Sanctuary today has become a combination of this original punk rock show and a classy cabaret including a live band. The owner of Aloft, Shayna Swanson, says “Sanctuary is a place where professional circus artists can present their acts 100% the way that they intended them to be seen. That’s what makes the show so special. It comes from the heart!”

My personal favorite act within this show was by David Chervony (Instagram: @daviddrops) who performed an amazing juggling poetry act. He recited a poem called “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” by Wallace Stevens, and for each verse, he performed an extremely serious yet hilarious trick. This was the perfect combination of performance and comedy and is so unique to a show like Sanctuary.

(Photos by Michelle Reid @mreidphotog)

Because of the originality of every act, Sanctuary is an incredibly unique show from month to month; the acts are never the same! If you’re ever in Chicago, see Sanctuary! 

The ACE Educators Conference 2022: A Personal Review

By Guest Writer Stacy Gubar (Hup Squad 2021)

In October of 2022, I had the incredible honor of attending the American Circus Educators EdCon. The event itself was an experience like no other, but even more exciting was seeing ideas manifest to reality. 

For several months before then, I was working with my colleagues on the Event Planning Committee to organize this very EdCon. Finding a host studio, lunch options, and gift bag goodies was no easy feat. However, we were very fortunate that the host studio, Sky Candy, was very involved in both the planning process and the execution. 

For myself, ACE/AYCO representatives, and work study participants, the EdCon ‘began’ the night before its official opening as we all gathered in Sky Candy’s studio to compose the gift bags. That night I was in awe of Sky Candy’s studio space and how clean and organized it was. 

Still, I was filled with even more wonder the next day as EdCon officially began. I was amazed by the camaraderie that became instantly tangible among strangers. It was a very surreal experience to see people from across the nation engage in conversation and companionship despite varying backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, and areas of expertise. Over those few October days I came to truly understand and appreciate how unifying the circus is. I was also very pleased to see the circus community striving to become more inclusive by providing workshops on plus-size bodies and LGBTQIA+ identities in the circus.

In fact, this EdCon offered a great variety of workshops and social activities including discussions about circus studio organization, bodily health, youth involvement, safety precautions, performance techniques and apparatuses, and much more. I greatly enjoyed each workshop that I got to attend, and learned so much valuable new information. I also enjoyed my position as a seller of ACE merchandise. A great selection of stickers, clothing, books, and raffle tickets was available for attendee purchase. 

Another incredible item available at the EdCon was the delicious food. It was provided by a catering company that operated at the same plaza Sky Candy is located in. They were incredible with providing options for everyone’s dietary needs including many vegetarian and vegan foods. In addition to the great lunches, there were also opportunities to dine with circus friends in the evenings. I personally attended only one such social dinner, but loved my time there. It was incredibly entertaining and bonding to play board games, converse, and dine with the circus community in attendance.  

This was the first EdCon that I personally attended, and I am already so eager to attend the next one, because this experience was simply amazing. All the stress of planning the event, flying across states, and figuring out my role at the EdCon was so worth it. The event ran rather smoothly and I had great fun. Everything was even better than I had envisioned, but I am eager to continue working to improve future EdCons even more. Nonetheless, this experience was a dream come true and I am forever grateful to the amazing staff of Sky Candy and the wonderful attendees of the event that made my time there so enjoyable.

The Importance of Assistance

By Annika Egerstedt

I recently graduated from high school and moved from Atlanta to Las Vegas to attend college. With the move, I started training in new studios. One major thing I learned  was how important my support system is. In Atlanta I had my group, my friends who I had trained with for years and who pushed me when I needed it. I didn’t realize how much of an impact they had on me and how lucky I was to have someone to support and encourage my training. Going to a new place is scary. I was nervous to go to new classes and intimidated when meeting new people. There were days I would cry in my car on my way to class, so tired of being uncomfortable. The cool thing about being in a new place is realizing the moment when that discomfort turned to excitement. I was suddenly counting down the day until my next class, excited to see my new friends again.

While everyone I have met so far has been so supportive and nice I was still hesitant to open up. I had been in one place my whole life, growing up with a tight group. Since moving a couple months ago, I have made new friends and have begun forming a new support system. These new friends have allowed me to sign up for classes without the fear of failure. I have realized that I don’t need to compare myself with others in the class since everyone is there with the purpose to learn. It’s great when friends cheer after you make an improvement or just chatting about our weekends during warmup. I had to reestablish these with a new group. 

I started in Vegas afraid to sign up for a class on an apparatus I am advanced on. I was so worried that I wouldn’t fit in. After just a few months, thanks to my new friends, I have started branching out, signing up for classes on new skills. Not only do I receive support but I can give it, and I love seeing the improvement of those around me. I seem like part of a community again. Having this support system is vital for putting my all into a task, for stepping out of my comfort zone, and for continuing my improvement in a new home. While I still have my support in Atlanta, I now have new communities I can rely on. This is comforting for the future. No matter where we are, our community is constantly supporting us. So if you are facing a move to a new city, remember that even if it’s hard to start, you’ll soon make friends again. And if you have a new person in your studio, welcome them into your community. One of the best traditions in circus arts is how we support each other.

The importance of warm-up and cool-down

By Olivia Egerstedt

As circus performers, we love learning new tricks, impressive feats, and pushing ourselves to do hard things. It’s tempting to jump right into a training session, and not “waste time” with a warm up or cool down but in actuality this will do way more harm in the long run then good. You’ll get more out of your training if you prepare your body for the training, and protect it from injury so that you can continue to train. 

A proper warm-up is important to protect athletes from injury and muscle strain. A good warm-up should be at the very least 5-10 minutes and should include some form of cardio to get your blood pumping, dynamic movements to get your joints moving and to stretch your muscles and prepare them to work, and then some static stretching at the end to further stretch your ligaments and muscles and to help with flexibility. You should never rush into a workout. If you skip a warm-up you’re putting yourself at risk of an injury as your body is not ready to bend and stretch in the ways you want it to. Doing a warm-up gradually increases your heart rate, helping it get ready for activity and giving it time to adjust to beating faster. It also increases your blood pressure and blood flow to your muscles, warming them up and telling your body they are about to be used. This increase in blood flow also allows for more oxygen to be brought to your muscles. More blood reaching the muscles also aids in the delivery of important fuels required for energy production such as glucose and free fatty acids. A proper warm-up also stimulates the nervous system, allowing for more control and coordination, as well as enhanced joint mobility. Warming up increases the suppleness of the muscle, enhancing the mechanical efficiency and power of the exercising muscles. Overall it helps you loosen up, which will help prevent many injuries such as pulled muscles or soreness. As they say, “Motion is lotion”.

It’s just as important to cool down properly at the end of a workout. A cool down lowers the heart rate and gives the body time to return back to its natural state. It cools the body temperature and returns breathing to a steady pace. As you work out, your muscles and tendons expand and contract and by taking time to bring them back to a resting state in a controlled way, you are less likely to have tight muscles, or have them seize up. By cooling down you are returning your muscles to their optimal length-tension relationship. You also reduce the stress put on your heart and muscles by bringing them out of their heightened state in a controlled, regulated way. The overall goal of a cool down is to return your body’s functions back to their normal state in a controlled way so that you avoid injuries. This is also the time when you can get the most out of your stretching and when your body is most ready to bend. For a cool down incorporating nice deep stretches can do wonders for your muscles and help improve your flexibility. Some good resources to learn more about what to do during warm-ups and cool-downs can be found on @shannon.mckenna.aerial on instagram as she shares a lot of good stretches and conditioning that can be added into a warm-up or cool-down as well as this blog entry by Daisy Coleman with exercise and stretches that you can add to your future warm-up and cool-down: circusismylife.com/30-minutes-of-aerial-warm-up-and-stretches/

Improving Through Injuries

By Annika Egerstedt

Injuries are common for athletes. Our bodies get tired from excessive use. And when an injury happens, it’s difficult to continue training and maintain strength as the injury heals. I recently suffered from a shoulder injury. I felt like I had failed and worried that I was going to be set back in my training. I was dead set on continuing to practice but worried about making it worse. Despite what I initially thought, I was able to continue aerial and continue to grow, although with a newfound caution. Physical therapy allowed me to understand my injury and to identify when my shoulder was becoming upset and what to do to strengthen the injured and supporting muscles. 

Shoulder injuries are quite common in aerial and the most important tool for healing is seeking help from a professional. I went to a physical therapist and through the exercises she assigned, I was able to go back to practice soon after. For many months I had to avoid things that aggravated the injured muscles, meaning no straight-arm inversions and no flamenco grips for me. I made a list of skills that made my shoulder angry and put off those skills until my shoulder was strong enough to support them. 

The hardest part is knowing when to take a break in order to give time for muscles to rest. A lot of injuries, such as the one I suffered, come from overuse. Pushing oneself allows for improvement, but it’s important not to go too far. I have to remind myself that it is important to take breaks from time to time and, while it may seem counterproductive, in the long run it will allow for more improvement. The good thing about circus is it is quite diverse in skills. While to heal you might have to cut back on one thing, but it is a great opportunity to work on something new that might have transferable skills and be fun.

Changing Your Mindset

By Olivia Egerstedt

Many of us in circus and sports communities in general struggle with feelings of self doubt and comparing ourselves with others. I found myself struggling with these feelings a lot this summer when I was in a circus intensive program. I’ve trained mainly in aerial, and I didn’t have the tumbling, dance, or hand balancing backgrounds that some of the other participants had. This led me, especially at the beginning, to have a lot of doubt about whether or not I deserved to be there and I worried  about my abilities. 

I know I’m not alone in this feeling, not just in the general circus community but also specifically in the training program I was in. It’s really hard to be trying something new while surrounded by people who are already good at it. Something you have to tell yourself is that everyone has to start somewhere, and when you see someone who is good at something, you aren’t seeing the full amount of work they put in to get that way. We all started by learning the basics. Everyone goes through a period where they aren’t good at things, that’s just part of learning, and you’re not going to be great at everything the first time you’re trying it. Chances are the people surrounding you were just as bad as you when they first tried it too. 

I am an aerial teacher for kids and teens and I see this kind of comparison and self doubt a lot in my classes. It’s very difficult to see those around you getting tricks that you’re struggling with, especially when you are younger. As a teacher, something I tell my students is that everyone starts somewhere and I started the same place they are. It will get better and easier. Everyone has days where their body’s just can’t do as much as they could do the day or week before. You’re not going to be able to put 100% into everything all day everyday. Sometimes your body needs a break or can’t entirely keep up and that is entirely normal and ok. The important thing is you’re trying your best and forgiving yourself for not being perfect all the time. Sometimes all you can ask of yourself is to go through the motions as best you can. The best thing you can do for feeling like this is to try and change the mindset you have around setbacks and difficult situations. It’s not necessarily about what you can or can’t do but that you’re putting in the work to get better. If you’re not succeeding at a trick, you’re still getting stronger and closer to being able to do it. You showed up and you did your best and that’s what you need to remind yourself in these moments of doubt. You’re not alone in this and you will get better. Every step towards succeeding is something to celebrate and sometimes that step is just showing up on days when you don’t want to. Trying is succeeding.

What We Did This Summer: Part 1

Wow! The Hup Squad had a jam packed summer full of workshops, intensives, and more! Read on to find out more about all the different programs and places they traveled to!

Jocelyn:

This summer I was lucky enough to be able to go to both Trapeze School New York (D.C) and Le Petit Cirque’s summer intensives! I learned a lot from both camps for different reasons, and I think the two of them will be quite beneficial in the future. 

I will start with Trapeze School New York’s D.C) Advanced Camp that I did at the beginning of summer! As you may or may not know TSNY’s specialty is flying trapeze; so therefore I learned a lot of fun new skills on flying trapeze that I wouldn’t have gotten from many other places. But along with flying trapeze I also got to do silks, lyra, sling, dance trapeze, juggling, corde lisse workshops! Though juggling may not be my thing, it was still fun to try and learn something new for a change. My Top 3 favorites were lyra, sling, and corde lisse; in the corde lisse workshop we got to do both Spanish web and rope! 

Next is Le Petit Cirque’s Casting Intensive in Los Angeles that I went to in August! At LPC’s intensive I got to try so many new things from some amazing teachers. Throughout the week we got to go to workshops while preparing for our show at the end to showcase what we’ve learned! Some of the workshops included were contortion, trapeze, hand balancing, rhythmic stretching, dance, tumbling, and partner acro. I learned so many good tips and tricks from all the classes that have helped me a lot. My favorite classes were tumbling and contortion, though I did really like them all! 

In conclusion, these camps really made my summer so much fun and I’m so thankful I was able to participate in them both! I highly suggest that you check out these intensives. 


Daisy:

Hey there! Since the summer of 2022 is coming to a close and we’re heading into fall fashion and weather, I want to highlight some of my favorite memories from this summer. Between teaching a summer camp in Chicago and training all the way in Vermont, I felt very busy, but I also had a lot of time to explore the town of Brattleboro (VT) and relax at home! Here are the highlights:

June 20th – July 1st

I co-taught the kids’ summer camp at my circus studio, Aloft Circus Arts This was my first time teaching a summer camp and I was very excited to do it!! 

July 11th

I began the road trip to Vermont! A very long but fun car ride that included many college tours as I prepare for next year

July 18th 

First day of the NECCA performance boot camp! There were about 14 of us, a large group, and as the weeks passed everyone became more familiar.

July 18th – August 5th

NECCA performance boot camp

July 30th

Goat yoga!! A little break from circus! As well as a great way to exercise and play with animals at the same time.

August 5th 

NECCA show!! A fantastic day! We all had so much fun getting to work together.

August 6th – 8th

Visit to Montreal and 7 Fingers An absolute highlight of visiting Montreal, I was so so excited to see the building and where everyone trains and rehearses.

August 10th

Home! The final return! Time to relax after quite a busy summer.

That’s my summer recap! It’s been a great one and I’m looking forward to the year ahead.


Emily:

Hello circus world! I’m back from my whirlwind-circus summer, which had me traveling all over the northeast. My journey took me from my rural New Hampshire town to the big and bustling city of Philadelphia, back to a dreamy circus retreat in the woods of New England, and finally led me to the wonderfully artsy community of Brattleboro, Vermont, to finish off the summer. Thanks for coming along on the ride :

The first program of my summer was the Circadium School of Contemporary Circus’s inaugural summer intensive program. I was initially drawn to this program because I am interested in attending their professional training program after high school, and it certainly did not disappoint. As I walked in on the first day, my jaw dropped in awe of their beautiful campus, a former Catholic church with beautiful stained glass; a green oasis nestled in the middle of Philadelphia. Our days were modeled after their full-time college program, with mornings filled with skill-based sessions and afternoons reserved for theater, circus history classes, and open studio time. Our week culminated in a short experimental presentation modeled after Circadium’s weekly “Friday Presentations.” 

I found myself especially challenged by the afternoon theater lessons in a way I hadn’t expected, but that pushed me to perform well beyond my comfort zone as an artist. The small class size enabled me to quickly form close bonds with my fellow students, who ranged in age from me (the youngest at 15) to talented artists in their 40s and 50s. Circadium’s fantastic coaching staff pushed me physically and mentally, and I can only imagine how much I would benefit from attending their program full time. 

Next, I was back in New Hampshire for a nature-infused aerial workshop to learn the unique art of tree dancing from Serenity Smith Forchion of Nimble Arts and arborist Mark Przekurat of Renaissance Acres Tree Care. Every day began with a meditation and included both time dancing in the trees and ample time learning the rigging techniques that kept us safe throughout our dances. We were taught how to rig our own harnesses, ascend and descend safely into and out of the canopy, and perform tricks like front tucks, cartwheels, and splits by our teachers, Serenity and Mark. We learned the story of the woods we danced in, their bark and leaves, their wisdom and personality; their strength.

I cannot begin to encapsulate the magic of this retreat in words, for no combination of mere letters can begin to describe the tranquility I found there, in the trees, as though one with the wonder of nature for a brief instant. Time slowed to a gentle lull under the tree’s beautiful leaves, not in the tedious way of waiting but in the freeing way of experiencing each moment fully. Each dance was unique, a conversation with the maples, who were generous to sacrifice their bark to release our art into the world. Tree dancing is an ethereal combination of aerials and nature, a serene blending of the artist and the canvas unparalleled to any other discipline I have ever trained.

Finally, I was off to the New England Center for Circus Arts for my final program of the summer: Performance Bootcamp! This was the only program I attended with an audition process (which consisted of a video and written application questions), so I was elated when I learned that I had been accepted. At NECCA, we had dance, movement quality, and career planning classes, in addition to focused daily training in our specialty areas. I enjoyed our packed days and thrived on the 9-5 training regime (I wish I could train that much full-time!). Our cast successfully performed a 1.5 hour show, complete with 13 individual acts, artistic transitions, and an ensemble dance, for a packed audience on the final day of the three-week program. 

This was by far the most professional step I have taken in my circus training so far, and the artistic growth I experienced because of it was tremendous. Performance Bootcamp made all the tools I needed to dive deep into my art readily available: fantastic coaches, a state-of-the-art training center, and the time and space to explore my apparatus. I chose aerial hoop as my specialty area with the hope that I could take the steel ring I knew so well and reimagine it into something new and sparkly, and special. Inspired by Saffi Watson (an incredible graduate of ENC in Montreal), I created a 3.5 minute lyra act that utilized my contortion skills to blend aerial and ground in a way I have never had the time to explore. I am proud of the piece I created and cannot wait to continue exploring the seemingly endless artistic possibilities I brushed over while experimenting with my hoop.

I leave this summer with new muscles, new bruises, and a new zest for circus life. I am grateful for the experiences, friendships, and skills I have gained throughout these past months. Each person I have met on my journey has helped me learn and grow as an artist and person in their own way, and I cannot wait for whatever adventures next summer may carry my way.

A postcard from NECCA

Dear circus friends,

Greetings from Vermont! I have been training at NECCA for the past couple weeks for the Performance Boot Camp: a fantastic intensive where we each create and develop our own acts to perform in a show at the end! My experience has been so amazing, from training all day long (an absolute dream) to getting to explore the town of Brattleboro and all the fun things it has to offer (which includes goat yoga)! This program has been a fantastic chance to train seriously, to learn new skills, and to spend my summer away from home!

 

My opinion is just one out of our whole group, these are the postcard thoughts from some of the fabulous people I’ve gotten to know and train with this summer:

“Challenging and exhausting but also very inspiring to find out that I can do things that I didn’t know I could” ~ Nina (lyra)

“It’s been transformative. It’s really cool to come in, be myself, and make friends. Also incredibly tiring” ~ Doug (handstands)

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”~ Jay (straps) 

See you down the road NECCA!

-Daisy

 ACE Teaching Resource Review

By Annika Egerstedt

I had the pleasure of reviewing the Gender and Circus Coaching Guide from ACE. This guide touches on issues around using mindful language and fully understanding these concepts. I think a document like this is vital as we go into this new era of acceptance and as we see more and more people stepping into their true identities. 

The guide has a section on pronouns but it also discusses the issue of gendered praises and how certain words can have feminine or masculine undertones. Reviewing this list not only brought to my attention how this might have a negative effect on someone who is embracing a new gender identity, but also how stereotypes are perpetuated concerning gender in circuses–for example, how men are meant to look strong and powerful in their movements while women are graceful and flexible. This mindset allows a teacher to be mindful of the words they are using and understanding the connotations of the words we use.

This guide isn’t just a helpful tool for knowing pronouns and gender identities, but also for understanding why it is so important that someone is identified correctly. This includes knowing the difference between gender and sex as well as acknowledging the effects stereotypes have on the way people are perceived. It’s not enough to just know what to say, but to know why to say it, why it is so important that aerial is a safe space for everyone, and what struggles students might be facing.

As a teacher I loved reviewing this document as it has a lot of good information that I look forward to bringing to my classroom. Not only does it have advice specific to teaching but I think this guide would be beneficial for anyone, teacher or not, aiming to be more mindful in the studio. This is an amazing tool to have in your toolbox and will help in creating a more mindful and supportive learning environment.