INTERVIEW: NECCA Advanced Youth Troupers

I interviewed three fellow Advanced Youth Troupers at the New England Center for Circus Arts about their experience with circus and in the troupe. Here’s what they have to say:

How long have you been doing circus?
Cassidy: I’m 14 and have been doing circus for a little over two years. Throughout my younger years I did gymnastics. Although it’s very different than circus there was a lot of overlap skills that helped me get to where I am today in circus.
Gabbi: I have been doing circus for almost nine years, since I was six.
Alden: I’ve been doing circus since I was 10 (almost 6 years ago). I started circus as an outlet for creative energy and exercise, but since then it has turned into a huge part of my life.

How long have you been in the Advanced Youth Troupe?
Cassidy: I’ve been in advanced for just about a year now.
Gabbi: I have been in the Advanced Youth Troupe for almost 6 years.
Alden: I joined the Advanced Youth Troupe around 2 years ago.

What are your main focuses right now in circus?
Cassidy: Right now I don’t have one strong focus but I’m looking to improve in many new areas. This session I’m spending half my time doing handstands and contortion and the other half I’m currently doing duo halo. I’m also want to continue doing partner acrobatics which was my focus all of last year.
Gabbi: Right now in circus I am focusing on Strap Loops as my individual apparatus, but I am also working a lot on strength building, tumbling, and flexibility.
Alden: Since I joined I’ve focused mainly on juggling, tumbling, and more recently a little bit of pole.

What do you love about circus?
Cassidy: Circus is such a complex art form. It allows you to find whatever is right for you. It doesn’t grow old because there is so much to learn. One of my favorite things about being in the troupe especially is getting to perform. In troupe we get to communally work on skills and performing without the intense competition that many other sports involve. One of the absolute best things about circus is the community. The community aspect in circus is prevalent in everything we do.
Gabbi: There are so many things that I love about circus. The ability to do so many interesting and different things, being able to work on whatever I want to work on, performing, and being able to say to people “Yeah, I’m in the circus”.
Alden: I’ve been in love with circus since I first started it and I think I will love it forever. It is a beautiful mixture of exercise and training, and friendship and performing. Nothing competes to the feeling of doing something that has taken a long time to be able to do.

Why did you start doing circus?
Cassidy: I started doing circus after my best friend had a circus birthday party and I had so much fun my parents set up a private lesson for my birthday. After that I decided to sign up for a class. I keep doing circus because I haven’t stopped enjoying it and I still have a lot to learn. I also kept doing it to stay in shape. Circus has helped my body image too. Before circus I solely strived to be thinner whereas now I strive to become stronger and accept my body.
Gabbi: Originally, I started because I was getting to the level in gymnastics that competition came in, and I was really not into that. I heard about a homeschool class and loved it from the beginning.

How do you plan to involve circus in your life as you get older?
Cassidy: I really don’t know how circus will be involved in my life as I grow older. Right now I just want to keep doing circus for as long as I can.
Gabbi: There are so many things that I can do with circus as I get older. I hope to keep it in my life whether it’s joining a tour, or becoming a teacher. It’s certainly a really fun and important thing in my life.
Alden: The circus is my home, and I want to give back to it in any and every way I can. I hope to perform and teach in the future, and I will try my best to get into NECCA’s professional training programs, and then see where I can go from there!

– Larkin

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