Reviews

The First-Ever Circus International Film Fest

Emily Fulton

Last February, I was given the extraordinary opportunity to be the Festival Assistant for the first-ever Circus International Film Festival (CIFF). This was a volunteer position where I was a key team member in the inner workings of this revolutionary festival. Let me just say, it was an amazing experience.

CIFF was founded by Marisa Diamond in early 2021. Marisa is an inspirational circus professional and filmmaker, on top of being one of the first youth to hold a leadership role at AYCO. She founded the Circus International Film Festival because she felt strongly that circus films deserved proper recognition by the film industry and they were simply not receiving the attention they deserved at other film festivals.

In February, I started my duties as Festival Assistant. In the beginning, my main responsibility was to review the 95 submitted films. This was a mammoth task because we needed to make sure that only films that met our criteria were accepted. It was incredible that, in our inaugural year, films were submitted from 25 different countries!

Next, I helped notify the creators’ of the accepted films. I really enjoyed this part because the filmmakers were all so thrilled when they were notified of their acceptance! Then I had to upload the 84 selected films to our official YouTube channel. I was surprised that this took me a super long time to do because many of our awesome films were quite long and very high quality. It took me what seemed like forever, but I did finish the task in time for each film to be screened!

Next came the actual screenings. These started on March 14th and ran until World Circus Day, April 18th. Each film was screened for 24 hours via a private YouTube link sent out to our ~1,100 audience members each morning. I was amazed at how many people watched the fantastic films we were showcasing each day!

There were four competing categories this year; Under 18, Shorts – Documentary, Shorts – Performance, and Full-Length. To allow even more filmmakers to participate, we also had an exhibition only category this year. CIFF had 12 total jury members who selected the winning films in each category, and we even had audience choice voting!

And the 2021 Circus International Film Festival’s winning films are: 

**drumroll please**

Jury Selected Awards:

Roses and Thorns by US based youth circus creator Izzi Kessner (Under 18)

New Horizons by French based circus professional Antoine Menard (Short – Documentary)

Wake by UK based circus professional Tamzen Moulding (Short – Performance)

Cirque Du Cambodia by US based film professional Joel Gershon (Full-Length)

Audience Choice Awards:

Isla Bonita by Puerto Rican youth circus company ENC Puerto Rico (Under 18)

Fer Sumundo by Mexican based circus professional Arelly Cantellano (Short – Documentary)

Zéro Vulnérablité by French based circus professional Antoine Menard (Short – Performance)

TEN by Canadian based circus professional Katelyn Ryan (Full-Length)

Next came my favorite part: Interviewing the creators of the winning films! We hosted four Instagram Lives on April 17th. I had the amazing opportunity to interview Joel Gershon, the winner of the Full-Length category. It was awesome to hear about his inspiration for and experience creating his film Cirque Du Cambodia! That was definitely the highlight of my CIFF volunteer work!


CIFF is always looking for more volunteers! If you are interested, shoot an email over to circusinternationalfilmfest@gmail.com. We love volunteers of all ages and I would encourage you to reach out if you are interested. I assure you that it will be a rewarding experience, and who knows what great opportunities you will get through your volunteer work!

AYCO Festival Review

This year, the American Youth Circus Festival was a two-day virtual event April 17th and April 18th! Online activities include workshops, social events, youth-led activities, and more.


Emily Fulton:

Wow! This year’s Virtual AYCO Fest, equipped with a scavenger hunt, panels with circus professionals, a performance showcase, and lots of other great opportunities, was so much fun that it is hard to choose a favorite activity! If I had to choose, though, I think that my favorite activity would have to be the afternoon hangouts lead by my fellow Hup Squad Representative Carleigh. Now I have to admit; I had my doubts when I signed up for the hangouts because I was nervous that I wouldn’t have anything in common with the other attendees. Gosh, was I wrong! I enjoyed getting to chat with circus youth from around the country, and it was really interesting how much we had in common. I can’t wait to get together with my new friends at the next AYCO Fest!

Another really cool opportunity that I had at this year’s AYCO Fest was moderating the From Youth Circus To Professional Performance panel. I loved asking professional circus artists Kia Eastman, Tristan Nielsen, Spencer Mathey, Ariana Ferber-Carter, and Kerren McKeeman questions about their circus journeys. They all had such interesting stories to share, and I especially enjoyed their answers to “What is the weirdest circus creation that you have been a part of?” I made that question up on the spot, and I was super impressed with all of the unique experiences that had been made available to them through their circus careers!


Carleigh Saberton:

The American Youth Circus Festival looked a little different this year, but it was still a great time! We got to do circus with people around the U.S. from the comfort of our own home which I though was pretty cool. I hosted the hangouts and they were really fun! We had a lot of great conversations about our favorite things inside and out of circus and how our circus community is wonderful in so many ways. My favorite workshops that I attended were probably both of the juggling ones. I love to juggle; I’ve been working on numbers which is why Sean Petric’s 5 ball juggling was super helpful. I also learned cool 3 and 4 ball variations and partner tricks with my mom from Eva Rowland’s workshop! Thanks to everyone that made the festival possible during these crazy times!


Lyra Gross:

The AYCO festival was amazing! I got to meet so many new people! I learned so much from it and thought it was a great experience for circus lovers!


Sounds like the Festival was a great time and hope to see you at the next one!

Review: Omnium

Review by Carleigh Saberton

I had the amazing opportunity to attend Omnium’s virtual show this March! Omnium circus is all about diversity and inclusivity. This nonprofit organization features “multi-talented, multi-racial, and multi-abled performers” and has given the opportunity to all people and families to enjoy the show. Although I had a bit of trouble logging onto the show, I received help from a lovely representative and once I was there, it was very user friendly. There were 4 options that you could choose from. The Typical video included the hosts talking and signing as well as captions. The ASL video was very similar to the Typical video, both always had a way for the deaf and hearing to enjoy. They also had an audio description, where the audience can hear the dramatic music as well as a narrative of the people, actions and events taking place, and a plain language video, where the narrator spoke in a simple language that made everything very easy to understand. 

The show consisted of a variety of skills from cyr wheel to juggling, aerialists to acrobats and hoops to horses! All of the performers, from all over the world share a love of circus and have a strong appreciation of this organization. They strive to break the brand of society and embrace diversity. Watching the acts from my living room felt like being at a live performance but more exciting because we got to enjoy the incredible feats of strength from awesome camera angles and transitions. My personal favorite was Jen Bricker Bauer, an aerialist with no legs, who performed on aerial silks with her husband. Not only did she showcase her amazing aerial skills, she shared a touching moment dancing with her husband with her aerial silk ballgown. Overall, I really enjoyed the show. It was so inspiring, and I can’t wait to see how they continue to inspire people of all ages and abilities to pursue their dreams.  

Review: Artistes of Colour: Ethnic Diversity and Representation in the Victorian Circus by Steve Ward

Review by Revely Rothschild

To some, history books may seem boring– everything they discuss has already happened, so what’s the point? But from the moment I picked up Steve Ward’s Artistes of Colour: Ethnic Diversity and Representation in the Victorian Circus, I knew this wasn’t the case: the rich details and approachable writing make it a valuable and enjoyable read. Whether you know the ins and outs of Victorian circus as well as Ward, or whether this is as new of a subject to you as it was to me, you will find Artistes of Colour to be a compelling and accessible take on a largely unexplored aspect of circus history. 

Artistes of Colour is Ward’s way to celebrate those circus artists who have been unjustly forgotten, and to honor the memories of those who experienced racial discrimination during life. While the book does an excellent job of covering such a deep and important theme, it’s also a very accessible read. Each chapter covers one performer, so whether you intend to read the book cover to cover, or would prefer to read the chapters individually, you will find yourself immersed in a narrative that’s compelling for a variety of reasons. 

For one, he paints an awe-inspiring picture of all these artistes and their terrific skills (for example, one woman, Leona Dare, hung from her teeth from a hot air balloon). But it’s by using interviews, press clippings, and posters or photographs from the time that Ward really brings the performers (and society’s response to them) to life. Not only does Ward use media about the artistes, he also investigates their personal lives, and through that, these admirable circus heroes become lively, complex individuals in their own right.

Ward pays great attention to detail, not only in the lives of each individual performer, but also in the connections between all of them. One of my favorite elements of this book was the way that Ward makes references to previously-discussed performers in later chapters and describes the interactions or relationships between all the artistes. By drawing unifying ties between all the artistes, Ward reminds us of something that has always, and still is true about the circus community: no matter who you are, it can be your home.

Review by Stacy Gubar:

One may think that a non-fiction, historical novel would be overly dense and boring, but Artistes of Colour: Ethnic Diversity and Representation in the Victorian Circus by Steve Ward is anything but that. This work contains fascinating personal stories accompanied by broad overviews of the time period which creates a beautiful balance between entertaining anecdotes and important historical context. For this reason, I really enjoyed reading this book and did not find it overbearing in content at all. I also loved looking at the included timelines and pictures because they provide wonderful visuals of the discussed people and events. Additionally, they further dilute any possible insipidness and make the book very entertaining to explore. The timelines also work to contextualize and chronologize the book’s events, which ensures the work is accessible and easily comprehensible to a varied audience including adolescents like myself. In fact, the entire text is extremely well organized in a clear, logical order and includes a glossary at the end which allows readers to quickly locate sections they might wish to re-read. Furthermore, each chapter is concluded by a list of cited works which can be an invaluable resource for those wishing to learn more about the subject. I personally admire the citations because they allowed me to trust the information I was reading, and feel confident about the author’s integrity. In conclusion, I feel everyone would enjoy perusing this brilliant, accessible, and trustworthy look into the history of POC representation within the circus, and I highly recommend you give it a try.

Purchase your copy here!

Review: NECCA’s Circus Spectacular

By Stacy Gubar

Recently I had the pleasure of attending NECCA’s 11th annual Circus Spectacular show. The performance was truly incredible despite being virtual this year. NECCA admirably adapted to the current circumstances to create a beautiful programme for an admirable purpose. The board chair, Elizabeth Wohl, and Jenna Struble explained that the Circus Spectacular is the main source of fundraising for NECCA students needing financial aid, and that NECCA has recently been able to fund a blood drive, food drive, LGBTQIA+ scholarship, and BIPOC scholarship in addition to that. Additionally, the speakers acknowledged that NECCA is located on Native land and that all their work would not be possible without the sacrifice of the native people. I knew very little about the organization beforehand, but found NECCA to be a very admirable, responsible, and humble one. 

I was equally impressed and inspired by all the stunning performances the evening included. The Advanced Youth Troupe performed beautifully to the poem “Freaks” by Moo Butler. The poem was incredibly powerful and fit well with both the occasion and the choreography. The routine included fluid group dance, trapeze, ribbon (silks), German wheel, acrobatics, straps, and webs which proved to be a wonderful, varied display of circus skill. The group’s choice to wear mismatched costumes further highlighted the individuality of the performers and matched well with the poem’s message regarding inclusivity in circus. 

The next act, performed by the incredibly experienced and talented Joel Herzfeld, was simply breathtaking. It was a very creative hand balancing routine with clever theatrical aspects. Herzfeld demonstrated exemplary strength, balance, flexibility, and aptitude for fluid motion throughout the whole incredibly active routine. It was a mesmerizing and rare experience to view a hand balancing routine with so much motion and I was entranced the whole way through. 

Another very unique and seemingly gravity-defying performance was carried out by the incredible Eric Bates. This particular routine was no exception to Bates’ admirable use of performing arts to bring awareness to climate change, since the items being juggled were cigar boxes. I found this to be a very interesting choice, and one that created a juggling act unlike anything I had seen before. The routine was very active and upbeat and demonstrated such skillfulness that, in the hands of Bates, the nearly impossible feats seemed effortless. 

The next routine seemed to be equally effortless for the spectacular founder of Droplet Dance, Molly Gawlerl. It was a very beautiful, fluid routine with the Cyr wheel. Gawler and the wheel seemed to be one and the same, and were truly mesmerizing to watch. The incredible, heartfelt facial expressions Gawler displayed throughout the routine matched the music very well and added a beautiful theatrical aspect to an already stunning performance. 

Another very theatrical act was presented by Micah Ellinger and Sylvian Ramseier. They were an incredible acrobatic duo with a beautiful, highly emotional routine that I simply could not look away from. The dance elements blended wonderfully with the awe-inspiring acrobatic feats the pair displayed. Having experience with partner acrobatics myself, I was absolutely astonished by the ease with which they completed such advanced tricks. Their talent and strength made each feat seem effortless. Furthermore, they were so impossibly in sync with each other that I found it difficult to believe these incredible performers were regular humans. 

Another artist that must be extraterrestrial is the astonishing contortionist, Ariana Ferber-Carter. The routine Ferber-Carter presented at the Circus Spectacular was certainly spectacular and seemingly inhuman in the best possible way. The flexibility and fluidity demonstrated in this performance are unbeatable, and seemed so natural and effortless for this talented performer. I also really loved the shining body suit Ferber-Carter wore, and the way it emphasized the beautiful bendy positions demonstrated in the routine. 

The next routine, performed by Chloe Somers (Wailer), was a very creative, cheerful hula hoop act. I have not seen many hoop routines in my life, so I had no idea a childhood toy could be used in so many beautiful ways. Somers (Wailer)’s incredible coordination and creativity produced quite a spectacle that I could not stop staring and smiling at. I was particularly entranced when four, or perhaps it was even five, hoops were spun at once! That, as well as the entire routine, was truly incredible. 

Last but not least, Kevin Beverly and Gravity and Other Myths presented an incredible group acrobatic act. The seemingly impossible flips and leaps they performed convinced me that gravity truly is a myth for these talented artists. I also really loved the fact that the routine was performed alongside a band playing live music. As both a circus performer and ensemble flute player myself I really appreciated witnessing my two favorite things collide in such a beautiful, dynamic routine.

Despite being a virtual event this year, the 2021 NECCA Circus Spectacular was an amazing show. The combination of pre recorded acts and live, and very lively, ringmaster and emcee, Jeff Raz and Tristan Cunningham, allowed the evening to run smoothly, but feel personal as well. The concluding live Q&A with the featured performers also helped make the show feel more like an in-person experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event, and lament the unfortunate fact that I missed Mario Diamond’s pre-show because I am certain it was wonderful as well. 

Book Review: Juggling: What It Is and How to Do It by Thom Wall

Book Stack

Pre-order your copy here! (anticipated release date 8/31/20)

Reviewer: Emily Fulton

Rating: AAA+++ I would definitely recommend this book!

Thom Wall’s latest book Juggling: What It Is and How to Do It is definitely a must-read for any aspiring juggler. Beginners and seasoned jugglers alike can all benefit from reading this comprehensive guide to the all-too-much-forgotten art of ball juggling.  

Here are a few different reasons that I think you will become obsessed with this book from the second you turn the first page:

The Why Factor

Whenever I am learning a new skill, I will often be asked to perform some minor change in form.  I often counter this with a “why”.  I know that I will be 10 x more likely to do this change every time if I know what will happen if I don’t.  One of the great things about this book is that it explains “why” you should do something, which is an area I find many similar books often fall short.

The Appendices

Another great feature of this book is the appendices.  They include some great information and really help you dive deeper into certain subjects.  For instance, if you want to learn about all different kinds of juggling balls, just head on over to Appendix C.  This lets you choose when you want to learn more about a specific topic which leads to you thoroughly enjoying your juggling practice.

Circademics

Circademics (circus-academics), a term coined by Jackie Leigh Davis, is the study of circus in development and science.  Thom frequently features studies about juggling in this book, which is great!  He even gives you free access to the short book he wrote all about circademics, called What Scientists Have to Say About Juggling.  This way if you’re really into it you can continue to study the research he briefly touches on in this book.

A Few Extra Things That Make This Book So Special:

Jay Gilligan & Fritz Grobe

Two amazing jugglers and writers, Jay Gilligan & Fritz Grobe, each write a chapter in this book.  Fritz Grobe gives you a few of his inside tips on How to Juggle In Front of an Audience.  While Jay Gilligan teaches you 10 Ways to Make A Trick.  These writers add an extra element that you just can’t find anywhere else!

An In-depth Siteswap Explanation

Siteswap is often one of those things you’ll never really learn as a beginner or hobby juggler.  You might have been taught a few different siteswap patterns and maybe even what the patterns were called.  But chances are you didn’t and won’t learn how these patterns were developed, many using a numerical system that is the foundation of many intricate patterns.  Siteswap is almost definitely not what you heard from your friend who’s brother knew someone who watched a YouTube video from some guy who didn’t really know what he was talking about.  This book explains siteswap in great detail, teaching you the science of siteswap.  

Great Diagrams and Photos

One of my favorite parts of the book is the great charts and photos that really enhance your juggling experience.  There are long-exposure photos, taken with LED juggling balls, that actually illustrate how your juggling balls will travel.  If you’re a mathy person or like numbers, this book has you covered, with number charts that will tell you how and when to throw and catch a certain ball.  But if not, don’t worry!  Thom also included some very simple, easy to understand, diagrams just for you!

The Icing On Top……It’s Not Boring At All!

By now, maybe you’re thinking, “with all this information, isn’t this just a big, boring textbook?”  Well think again!  Thom writes this book like he’s in the room with you, teaching you the ins and outs of juggling.  He’ll give you inside tips on technique and presentation, so it honestly feels like you’re having one of his top-notch private lessons.  It’s really great to have a super-amazing juggling Cirque Du Soleil performer write a book in such a personable, down-to-earth way.

In short, I truly wish I had this book when I was first learning to juggle.  Excellent information is presented in an eye catching, easy going fashion to support you on your journey to ball-juggling mastery.

Reviewer: Rachel Ostrow

Juggling: What It Is and How to Do It is an absolutely spectacular book written by expert jugglers that compiles everything there is to know about juggling technique, history, progressions, performing, and more. It especially focuses on being creative and building a good juggling foundation that can be added on to. I mean three ball tricks, four ball tricks, 5 ball tricks, balancing – this book teaches you the easiest way to do them, what you could be doing wrong, and what you never knew you were doing wrong. It has perfectly selected diagrams for the visual learners, and even mathematics to understand conceptually. I also found it fascinating how many of the tips could also be applied to training and performing for people who are professional circus artists or those who have no prior experience whatsoever. Wall eloquently explains the steps for creating an act, including how to avoid stealing sequences, which can and should be used by every performer. It was so evident that everyone writing, especially Wall, is so passionate and carry such expertise in all aspects of juggling, such that it was a complete pleasure to read.

But the true test, did this book really help with juggling? It totally did! This book is honestly such an amazing source of learning and inspiration that could get anyone excited about juggling, and the tips are so extensive and useful, anyone with a bit of motivation (which this book certainly gives you) can up their juggling skills exponentially!

Pre-order your copy here! (anticipated release date 8/31/20)

Book Review: Body Talk, Basic Mime by Mario Diamond

By Julaine Hall

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Body Talk, Basic Mime by Mario Diamond is a fabulous guide for anyone interested in learning about mime. I read it having very little mime, basic theater, and some clown knowledge and benefited from it very much. Sure, one can do impressive athletic feats on stage and their audience will clap, but as artists it is our duty to give the audience the best possible experience while still being true to ourselves. Adding a bit of mime, clown, more intention with your movements, or simply thinking about proven techniques to make sure the audience can read your message well can be a great way to elevate your act to the next level. In the beginning, both the forward and introduction had me hungry for more knowledge on the art of mime. After this was a small section of definitions all for the  very same word: mime! Very detailed chapters filled with thoughtful exercises for each body part will cause you to consider the intention you give your movements with a new light. Also included was a thorough portion filled with information on The Seven Axes of mime (The Axes are a way of dividing the body into smaller expressive sections which you will learn more about if you read this book!) We then dive deeper into postures, energy and movement, general exercises such as imitating Chaplin and animals, visual effects, pantomime, and finally, improvisation. From this book, I gained an array of ideas to try to add to some of my old acts or incorporate into my new ones. It is a wonderful resource and I highly recommend it for anyone even the slightest bit interested in anything that has to do with the stage! Or as the dedication in the front says, “To anyone with a need to express themselves and cannot find the words.”

Book Review: Juggling – From Antiquity to the Middle Ages by Thom Wall

Book Review by Julaine Hall

In essence, this book is an in-depth look at many ancient practices of juggling, how society saw jugglers, and other interesting cultural tid-bits! One thing that makes this book truly astounding is something Mr. Wall mentioned towards the beginning of his book, “As with dance, so with juggling—the moment that the performer finishes the routine, their act ceases to exist beyond the memory of the audience.  There is no permanent record of what transpired, so studying the ancient roots of juggling is fraught with difficulty.” His works cited section has over 20 pages of sources! Much like an act jam packed with difficult skills, this book is jam packed with interesting fact after interesting fact and must’ve took countless hours of preparation and hard work before it was ready to put in front of the audience. Countries and civilizations the book focuses on include; Ancient Egypt, Israel & Babylon, India, Turkey, China, Japan, Russia, The British Isles, Spain, The South Pacific, Mexico, the Vikings, and Indigenous and Nomadic Cultures. Countries appear as chapters and each chapter covers a new set of topics. I found much enlightening information such as, juggling appears to have been a mostly female dominated activity in ancient Egypt, the South Pacific, and other areas. Also, William the Conquerer established a position called Royal Juggler which lasted around 500 years! It is quite interesting to look back at each juggling culture and compare it to our own. I would recommend this book to anyone wishing for some background information on the craft of juggling and circus arts in general (because as I learned in the book, the word, “juggle,” defines a broad range of definitions)! Thom Wall’s “Juggling- From Antiquity to the Middle Ages” is not only an enjoyable and informative book, it is also quite an impressive one! I am astounded at Mr. Wall’s depth of research and love for the subject.

Click here to learn more about or purchase the book! 

REVIEW: The Greatest Showman

Warning: May contain spoilers!

If you have an interest in the circus, you probably know that there isn’t always as much hype around the subject as other sports or activities get, especially in the media. However, the new musical movie “The Greatest Showman,” told the story of mister P.T. Barnum, founder of the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus. The movie brought the viewers through a heartwarming tale of how Barnum brought misfits together, through catchy songs and colorful visuals. The movie tells of Barnum’s want to have an amazing, magical life for him and his family. In the movie, Barnum is portrayed as a fun, inspiring man, but in real life that wasn’t exactly the case.

Barnum was driven to become wealthy and well known. In the movie, his first act towards this goal is the purchase of the American Museum. The movie leaves out altogether his first endeavor, the purchase of a black woman named Joice Heth, who he showcased claiming she was 161 years old. Encouraged by the hype around this impossibly old woman, Barnum then purchased the American Museum in New York City, which contained stuffed and wax animals and “curiosities.” Barnum built on the idea of the strange and unique, bringing in live attractions from all over that had something strange or different about them. Many were fakes and lies like the “Feejee Mermaid,” but others, such as the 25 inch Charles Stratton that we saw in the movie, were quite real.

In “The Greatest Showman,” P.T. Barnum left his museum to go on an American tour with the famous Swedish singer Jenny Lind. This was a part in the movie where we saw his flaws, as Barnum left his friends in order to be a part of a higher social class. Before the tour, Barnum had never heard Lind sing, which proves how desperate he was to be remembered as more than a museum owner. Like in the movie, the tour ended early, but not because of a scandalous relationship between Lind and Barnum. Neither were interested in being more than business partners, but they got in a fight that made Lind want to return home to Europe. After the scandal in the movie, Barnum returned to his friends, realizing he shouldn’t have ever left. In reality, he wasn’t the good man who learned his lesson that Hugh Jackman portrays in The Greatest Showman. Although a few “oddities” were also his friends, like Charles Stratton, Barnum was more obsessed with creating spectacles to the public, and making a name for himself. He got to where he was and became so successful mainly because of his lies and scams. For example, the “Feejee Mermaid,” was a source of attraction that he marketed as a beautiful woman with the tail of a fish, but was actually the head of a monkey sewn onto a fishtail.

In 1865, the American Museum burned down, like in the movie. All the employees escaped and no human lives were lost, but some animals weren’t able to escape, and the museum was unsalvageable. Barnum set out to reopen a new museum within a year of the burning of the first one. However, the new museum was heated using boilers, which were new and not very well tested. The second museum burned down to a boiler explosion in 1868. It wasn’t until the end of his career that Barnum became affiliated with the circus. He was in his sixties when he first teamed up with a traveling show in 1871 that he called “The Greatest Show on Earth,” something you’ve probably heard before. By 1875 he had full ownership of the show, and in 1881 he teamed up with James A. Bailey and James L. Hutchinson from the Great International Circus, to form and manage Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey’s Circus, which is still referred to as “The Greatest Show on Earth” today.

Although the real P.T. Barnum wasn’t the good man we saw in “The Greatest Showman,” he celebrated the odd and the unusual the way we still do in the circus. By creating a museum of things that people hadn’t seen before, he demonstrated the spirit of accepting and praising people for being unique. The movie may have not been one hundred percent accurate, but it honored the beautiful message that we have in the circus today. Every single person is at least a little different, learns a little differently, performs a little differently, or has different strengths. Like the movie demonstrated, we all have a place in the circus because all our strengths and specialties end up fitting together perfectly. As a quote from “The Greatest Showman” says, “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”

– Annika

REVIEW: A Cirque Nutcracker

A Cirque Nutcracker is the traditional tale with a twist, the original story presented in a humorous new way! A seasonal production at the Mesa Arts Center in Phoenix, AZ featuring Troupe Vertigo and the Phoenix Symphony, one word to describe A Cirque Nutcracker is ‘creative.’ The choreography, the storyline adaptation, and use of costumes to accentuate movements were all very inventive. As a lover of glitter, I adored the shiny and sparkly costumes. The main acrobat’s costume was wisely and carefully crafted. Her black and white striped tights emphasized her bizarre flexibility.

I found it comforting and inspiring as an aerialist to hear the crowds’ gasps whenever the entertainers displayed their unordinary talents. The passion and determination each artist held was revealed through their art. The performers were not the only impressive piece of the show, however. The Phoenix Symphony played beautifully and no mistake was heard to the untrained ear. Aspiring performers should audition for next year’s performance to gain experience!

– Cailey