Author Archives: Jeff

A note from Executive Director Kristina Wicke

Let me start by saying, THANK YOU for being a part of our SANCA Circus Community! You are at the heart of everything we do and you inspire us every day to make SANCA better, more fun, and more accessible. Thank you for your continued feedback and we are committed to taking your suggestions and manifesting positive change.
Summer is just around the corner and in our efforts to improve the quality of our program offerings, I wanted to take a moment to let you know about some exciting developments at SANCA.
Summer Camps! – Following the resounding success of our Summer Camps last year, we are working hard to ensure that this Summer is our best yet. We’re thrilled to announce we’ve added more weeks of our Specialty Camps and redesigned our ongoing partnership camps with the Seattle Children’s Theatre and the Pacific Science Center. Oh, and last year, we nearly sold out 100% of our camps and we’re filling up faster than last year already-enroll your child today!
Business Hours – We’re changing our hours slightly this Summer, have a look:
MondayFriday: 8:45 a.m. – 9 p.m.
SaturdaySunday: 9:45 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.*
*Note we’re shifting our weekend hours one hour later
Enrollment Periods – In an effort to streamline our enrollment process, and after much feedback from our community, we have opted to give more time for all current SANCA students to enroll through Priority Enrollment. We will be replacing our Re-enroll week with an additional week of Priority Enrollment for all currently enrolled SANCA students and families. If you are currently enrolled in a SANCA class and hope to re-enroll in the same class, we encourage you to enroll early. Doing so will not only increase your chances of enrolling in the class you prefer, but will also allow us to open more classes that you desire.
Introducing “Creative Circus” Single Serving Classes – We are excited to announce that we are expanding our Single Serving class offerings with a 55-minute Creative Circus class for each age group!

Creative Circus offers an exploratory and creative approach to circus, aiming to provide current and new students alike with chances to experience the playful side of circus, all while building skills and getting a healthy dose of physical exercise.

Creative Circus will be offered at $10 for current students and $20 for the general public.
A Note about Make-up Classes – After receiving feedback from our students, parents, and coaches about our Make-up classes, we have decided to discontinue Make-up classes and focus on expanding our Single Serving class offerings.
We know this is a significant shift for our Session students, and that changes in schedule and structure can be difficult and require a period of adjustment. For this reason, we are offering our new Creative Circus classes at a significant discount for current students. We are confident that through an alternative approach to circus that focuses more on the creative, collaborative and joyous sides of circus, we can improve the quality and variety of our programming.
Student Handbook – SANCA is debuting a Student Handbook that is a comprehensive guide to SANCA’s Session classes, policies and generally important information including overviews of all of SANCA’s programs. This is a resource for you to better access what SANCA has to offer. Starting in Summer, look for it on our website, in your confirmation e-mail, and in our office.
Finally, YOU make SANCA. We are committed to serving you better and we want to work with you to make SANCA the best that it can be. If you have questions, suggestions, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to send them to studentservices@sancaseattle.org.

May all your days be circus days,

 

 

 
Kristina Wicke

 

SANCA’s Social Circus program receives a $5,000 grant!

The Lucky Seven Foundation has awarded SANCA a $5,000 grant for the Social Circus Program.

SANCA Social Circus uses circus arts as means of positive intervention for Seattle’s most vulnerable communities, and is dedicated to deepening and expanding safe space for youth. The Social Circus curriculum combines circus arts with educational social intervention to help young people, using an arts-based curriculum that emphasizes 21st century skills: creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. The program works with Seattle’s most vulnerable populations, including youth who are homeless, refugees or immigrants, or have disabilities. We help young people develop confidence, realize their strengths, and discover hidden talents, and work with them to enhance their quality of life, boost their self-esteem, and encourage their participation and active involvement.

The Social Circus program partners with 30 schools and youth organizations, giving $46,000 in free circus classes to at-risk youth annually. Partners include Powerful Schools; South Park, Delridge, and Garfield community centers; Refugee Women’s Alliance; the Broadview Shelter; and Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

Thank you Lucky Seven Foundation!

Spring Festival of Flight: Candyland!

SANCA School of Flight Presents the Spring Festival of Flight: Candyland!

June 2nd
Open House: 5:30pm
Youth Flying Trapeze Show: 7:30pm
Adult Flying Trapeze Show: 9:00pm
June 3rd
Open House: 2:00pm
Youth Flying Trapeze Show: 3:00pm
Open House: 6:00pm
Adult Flying Trapeze Show: 7:00pm
The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) welcomes you to our Spring Festival of Flight! SANCAs flying trapeze school will be open to the whole community for a full weekend of open houses and shows. First time flyers are encouraged to try flying on the trapeze during the open house and to stay for the flying trapeze shows that feature the SANCA School of Flight team flyers performing high-flying tricks and feats of derring-do!

This is a non-ticketed event. Contributions are welcomed at the door.

Open House details:
A limited number of attendees will have the chance to take a turn on the flying trapeze. Each turn is $5. No advanced reservations. One turn per person. Participants must be present to sign up. Flyers must be 4+ years old to participate.

In Somnia – Professional Preparatory Program final show

Where do we drift off to when we sleep? Leave the waking world with SANCA’s Professional Preparatory Program graduates as they entwine themselves in a dreamscape of aerials, acrobatics, handbalancing, dance, Chinese pole, and contortion. Fall into our circus dream and lose yourself in what you find there.

Sponsored in part by:
Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
4Culture

Welcome SANCA’s New Executive Director – Kristina Wicke

I am pleased to announce that Kristina Wicke has accepted an offer from the SANCA Board of Directors to become Executive Director. She will begin full-time on October 31st, and is already meeting with SANCA program managers and lead staff.

kristinawicke-cornicello-2309-sq-smKristina has a long history of excellent and dedicated service to SANCA. She served on the board for ten years of SANCA’s twelve-year history. Twice, Kristina has answered the call to serve as President of the Board, most recently during the past year. Kristina also has an excellent presence in the local and national arts community. In the past 20 years, she has served as company manager of the 5th Avenue Theater, general manager of ACT: A Contemporary Theatre, associate general manager of A Christmas Story: The Musical during its move to Broadway, and tour manager for The Flying Karamozov Brothers. Kristina brings a wealth of business acumen to the position of Executive Director, having served for three years as the store manager of the thriving local business Title 9 Sports at Greenlake — the company’s most successful location.

Kristina is thrilled to bring her passion for circus to this next stage of SANCA’s growth. She says, “I am honored that the Board of Directors has placed their confidence and faith in me to lead SANCA into its next chapter. SANCA is an amazing organization doing singular work in the community, and I’m excited to begin the journey. I am looking forward to the challenges and the fun!”

SANCA has experienced incredible growth and success in its relatively short life. Kristina is the Board of Directors’ unanimous choice to lead the organization’s continued success. The Board has the fullest confidence that Kristina will continue to be an excellent steward of SANCA’s mission to improve the mental, emotional, and physical health of children of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities by engaging them in the joyous creativity of acrobatics and circus arts. We are confident that in Kristina Wicke we have found the right leader to help us all write the next chapter of our important work. Please join us in extending her a warm welcome in her new role at SANCA.

SANCA’s Board of Directors and staff would like to extend our utmost gratitude to Carl Bystrom for his service as Interim Executive Director. We are grateful for his contributions in managing SANCA through a time of transition. Carl’s dedication to the staff, students, and the greater community of SANCA are deeply appreciated, and SANCA continues to be a thriving organization because of Carl’s leadership this past year.

Sincerely,
Gaye McNutt
SANCA Board President

When $13.21 makes all the difference

“The kids had such a sense of pride and accomplishment after they went on the flying trapeze. While a sense of accomplishment is important for every child, it is especially important for kids in our program who have been severely traumatized. We cannot thank you enough!” —Kayla Blau, Broadview Shelter & Transitional Housing Program

Ready to take that leap!

Ready to take that leap!

A contribution of just $13.21 is all it will take to make a huge difference for our Flying Trapeze Program!

SANCA’s Flying Trapeze Program is a crucial part of our work with underserved youth like those who visit us from the Broadview Shelter, Street Youth Ministries, Refugee Women’s Alliance, and so many more.

For many of these kids, flying trapeze is their first experience of building their own confidence and self-esteem in a safe and supportive environment where they can also have fun and take a break from their daily struggles.

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Rene, a blind student, learns to fly.

Classes for these youth are ALWAYS FREE. A guiding principal of SANCA’s mission and vision is that no child will be turned away due to lack of funds. We never want to say no to a kid who wants to experience flying trapeze and the boost in confidence it brings.

At the same time, the flying trapeze program is SANCA’s most expensive program. It requires more highly specialized equipment, and the largest coach-to-student ratio out of any program we run.

Helping to fund the equipment we need for flying trapeze is a huge part of what keeps our program running for these kids.

A ventilation fan for the tent will keep our students cooler and drier when flying, and will preserve and maintain expensive equipment by preventing damage due to moisture and mold.

We need to raise $10,703 by August 31st to purchase the fan. Will you help us?

Just $13.21 from you, and each of our other currently enrolled students and families, will meet this goal! Please make a contribution to the Fund our Fan campaign today!

Carl Bystrom headshot smThank you,
Carl Bystrom
Interim Executive Director

Fund Our FAN! – A campaign to install a ventilation fan in the Flying Trapeze Tent

We just launched our Fund Our FAN campaign to install a ventilation fan in our Flying Trapeze Tent – and I want to send out a huge thank you to our first six donors who took the swing on the first day!

Thank you Velibor Peric, Autumn Sakai, Lori Adams, Kevin Nelson & Raina Domek, Nikki Watters, and David Greenspoon!!

Flying trapeze is a huge part of the circus experience – it’s an amazing confidence builder, an exciting and fun way to overcome fears, and a wonderful way to build team spirit and camaraderie in a non-competitive environment.

Every year at the SANCA School of Flight we:

  • Bring underserved and at-risk youth from communities and organizations like the Broadview Emergency Shelter, Refugee Women’s Alliance, Powerful Schools, and others to experience flying trapeze. In learning to fly, these youth have positive and meaningful experiences with peers and mentors that can be life changing.
  • Give hundreds of summer camp youth a flying experience they will never forget.
    Run classes for more than 3,000 flyers.
  • Hold spring and fall shows with four teams of performing flyers ranging from ages 5 to adult.

We need to ventilate the tent. It is:

  • Too hot in the summer
  • Too damp in the winter
  • Equipment gets damp and moldy and needs extra maintenance
  • Flyers must use a lot of extra chalk to stay dry and safe

A ventilation fan provides:

  • Airflow and cooling on hot summer days
  • Reduces condensation and moisture in the winter
  • Keeps equipment dryer and in better repair
  • Makes the environment safer, cooler, and more comfortable for our flyers
  • A huge savings in ongoing equipment maintenance time and costs

This equipment installation will cost SANCA $13,843 – but your contribution today will help defray those costs and invest in the future of flight for all our students.

By supporting the installation of a ventilation fan, you’re helping SANCA to continue to share the joy of flight with thousands of children, youth, and adults in the years to come.

We can’t do it without you! Please join our campaign today.

Carl Bystrom headshot smThank you!
Carl Bystrom
Interim Executive Director

Social Circus: Community, Empowerment, & Play

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Article by Ian Jagel,
Social Circus Director

 

There is power in circus.

It is an invaluable experience for the children in our shelter and transitional housing program to have a fun, active, invigorating field trip. The moms in our program are extremely stressed out and overwhelmed with court dates, housing appointments, food banks, parenting plans … the list seemingly never ends. As much as they wish they could provide fun activities for their children, it often isn’t realistic in times of crisis. The field trips to SANCA provide an extremely necessary outlet for the kids’ energy, [and their] desire to connect with safe adults and to try new things. [The] kids had such a sense of pride and accomplishment after they went on the flying trapeze. While a sense of accomplishment is important for every child, it is especially important for kids in our program who have been severely traumatized. Oftentimes, they were around violent or unsupportive parental figures who made them feel like nothing they did was good enough, severely impacting their sense of worth and autonomy. This active, supportive, positive environment was extremely impactful on our community’s most vulnerable children. Thank you so much for your skilled instructor’s support, encouragement, and above all for this opportunity. We cannot thank you enough!
—Kayla Blau, Children’s Advocate, Broadview Shelter & Transitional Housing Program

Ian Jagel works with a group of teens from Refugee Women's Alliance (ReWA).

Ian Jagel works with a group of teens from Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA).

Yesterday’s class was AWESOME! The kids were really into it, and they all seem excited to move forward … The physical aspect of circus is what appeals to most of the kids. The [performance] aspect is much more scary, and it’s the part that I really hope we can get them excited about, since that’s where this program has the potential to be truly transformative … The great thing about this program is that words are supplementary and the body is the primary site of expression, which puts these kids on a different footing than they’re used to.
      — Deepa Bhandaru, Lead Teacher and Program Coordinator, Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA)

The feedback from Kayla Blau and Deepa Bhandaru illustrates the transformative power of circus. It is an honor to work with the youth from the Broadview Shelter and ReWA here at SANCA — the circus school with the most regularly enrolled students in the United States. At SANCA we have a unique and exciting opportunity to be leader in the world of circus arts education and part of the Social Circus movement.

Social Circus is an innovative social intervention approach that uses circus arts to assist with participants’ personal and social development by nurturing their self-esteem, and help them to build trust in others, acquire social skills, become active citizens, express their creativity, and realize their potential. Social Circus is a powerful catalyst for creating social change because it helps marginalized individuals assume their place within a community and enrich that community with their talents. In nearly every country in the world, Social Circus programs are developing innovative, multi-disciplinary approaches to positively impact those most at-risk in their communities. Initially a grassroots movement, Social Circus is now a global network.

At SANCA we’re looking to circus programs across the world for connection with the global circus community and asking, “What is the most compelling work being done in circus education? What approaches are most effective in manifesting personal and collective transformation through circus arts? Who can benefit?”

Youth from ReWA learn to juggle and pass rings.

Youth from ReWA learn to juggle and pass rings.

The more we ask, the more we realize that SANCA is already a leader. We are exploring new approaches to the Social Circus movement. Recently, the American Circus Educators (ACE) organization recognized SANCA in their new network of national Social Circus programs that meet the needs of at-risk populations and address social issues such as social isolation, the impact of trauma and violence, and the lack of access to arts and cultural activity.

As we connect with the broader world community of Social Circus, we’re busy cultivating relationships locally. You don’t need to go across the world to find refugees, trauma survivors, or homeless youth — they are all right here in Seattle. We know because SANCA works with hundreds of these kids every year. You’ll see SANCA coaches teaching regular circus classes in community centers and public schools in the Delridge, South Park, Rainier Valley, and Beacon Hill neighborhoods. In these community programs, we’re emphasizing youth development, social inclusion, and physical play. This spring, we’re expanding our ongoing partnerships with more classes and adding Garfield Community Center as a new partner.

Teens from the Refugee Women's Alliance learn to work together balancing and sharing body weight in preparation for acrobatics.

Teens from ReWA learn to work together balancing and sharing body weight in preparation for acrobatics.

Another new partner, the Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA), is nearing the end of their first session and the participants are collectively developing a culminating performance to share with family and friends. We’re already looking forward to more classes with them this summer.

SANCA’s Every Body’s Circus program is also growing with several new students enrolled. Guided by SANCA coach and licensed Social Worker Alex Daves, we now offer individual and group therapy using circus as a therapeutic medium. To give you an idea of the extraordinary level of commitment to this work, every SANCA employee — about 70 of us — have become certified under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). That’s a $5,000 investment to ensure the privacy and security of individuals participating in the EBC program. SANCA is united behind this work.

This is only the beginning — there are countless unexplored avenues of circus transformation. Looking forward, we will expand our therapeutic and outreach work with adults, strengthen our connections with current students, and discover new communities interested in the benefits of circus arts.

SANCA is more than a school — it’s a community made rich by our broad cross-section of students. Thank you for making SANCA the wonderful community that it is!

Meet Julaine – Cirrus Circus Student Spotlight

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Interview by Amber Parker,
Every Body’s Circus Coach

 

In March our youth performance company, Cirrus Circus, held try outs for students to display their skills and earn a coveted spot in the dynamic ensemble. Cirrus welcomed several new students to the troupe, one of whom is 12 year old Julaine Hall. I sat down with Julaine to talk about her experience at SANCA, her devotion to circus, and this exciting next step in her career as a performer.

Julaine (center) basing a pyramid of Cirrus Circus acrobats.

Julaine (center) basing a pyramid of acrobats.

Amber: How long have you been at SANCA?

Julaine: I’ve being doing circus since I was about two-and-a-half years old and I’m 12 now. I’ve been performing since I was five, and I’ve never taken a quarter off. Not even summer.

Amber: Wow! You’ve been coming here since you were a toddler. Can you remember a time when you didn’t have circus in your life?

Julaine: No!

Amber: You’re having the coolest childhood! So, after you began at age two, what happened next?

Juliane: I started with general circus classes and then I went on to the Amazing Circus 1-ders, then on to the Magnificent 7, and I just got into Cirrus Circus on March 4th.

Amber: Congratulations! That’s a great achievement. So, what do you love about circus?

Julaine: Well, when I was little, before I began at SANCA, my mom tried putting me in gymnastics but they had too many rules. Circus is much more about of the box, it’s more fun. I’ve always loved doing tricks but when I got to perform and make acts it was even cooler!

Amber: What was the first circus skill you ever felt really good at?

Julaine (bottom left) performing with other members of Cirrus Circus.

Julaine (bottom left) performing with other members of Cirrus Circus.

Julaine: Forward rolls probably, when I was really little. Now I can do front flips, back flips on the trampoline, and if I warm up enough, I can do a back flip off the edge of the tumble track. I also do Chinese pole, tumbling, and juggling. Those are some of my strongest skills. Now I’m learning a sequence – round-off/back handspring/back layout/half twist on the tumble-trak, and new tricks on Chinese pole.

 

Amber: What do you think is challenging about circus arts?

Julaine: Well, I’ve never gotten seriously hurt, but if something seems new and scary, sometimes you just have to power through and keep on doing it. That’s a challenge when you’re scared, it’s hard to just do it again.

Amber: What do you imagine for your future in the circus?

Julaine: I think it would be fun to go all the way through Cirrus Circus and then become a circus coach. I really want to be a coach in my 20’s and maybe in my 30’s. I think it might be fun to be in something like Acrobatic Conundrum as an adult. But mostly I want to be a coach and work with kids. It’ll remind me of the good ole days!

When speaking with Julaine, her passion and excitement for circus and her career at SANCA was palpable. It was amazing to meet a young person with so much commitment, discipline, and vision for the future. Julaine was a scholarship student for a period of time while her family dealt with expensive medical bills on a tight income. Because of SANCA’s scholarship program, Juliane did not have to give up with her passion for circus. Her commitment and achievements speak to how vital SANCA’s scholarship programs are in our community.

Community Letter – Spring 2016

2016 Community Letter Header150223_cornicello_0548Spring is here — juggling balls are dropping like rain, smiles are blooming like flowers, and trapezes are swinging like … well, trapezes!

I am happy to report that the first quarter of 2016 has been great for SANCA! Our students, parents, patrons, coaches, and staff have continued to build an amazing family, all of us supporting each other as we discover the places in ourselves and others that are transformed by circus arts.

Our annual fundraising gala was a tremendous success! Thank you to all who joined us on Leap Day or were with us in spirit. Your support helped us raise nearly $200,000, beating last year’s event fundraising by more than $35,000! You continue to validate our direction and commitment to our mission by helping to directly fund SANCA’s increased investment in Social Circus, our Youth Performance Companies, and our ongoing scholarships for youth in Circus Arts classes.

We’d also like to extend our gratitude to our generous friends and hosts at Teatro ZinZanni and our wonderful group of event sponsors. A big thanks also to our performers who carried us on an amazing metaphorical journey from a bleak, black & white world into the vibrant, joyful, and colorful world that SANCA embodies!

Here at SANCA we’re calling 2016 the “year of Social Circus.” Our pilot program with the Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA) has been a huge success — they’re asking us to expand our partnership to include additional sites this summer. We’re also beginning new partnerships with organizations like Garfield Community Center and the Broadview Emergency Shelter.

Circus 1-ders Twist 2016SANCA’s therapeutic circus arts program, Every Body’s Circus (EBC), is thriving — already this year our EBC student population has grown by 25%. In March, we kicked-off EBC Outreach with two special education classes from the Highline School District, introducing them to the challenge, joy, and triumph of circus arts. Stay tuned — we’ll keep you posted on our progress. In the meantime — read more about Social Circus and our partners in SANCA’s online Spring Newsletter.

Many of you have probably seen a flurry of announcements for our new workshops. These workshops provide higher-level training and specialty skills instruction from SANCA coaches, guest performers, and visiting artists giving students the opportunity to dive deeper into their chosen circus art! Check the Workshop page for a full listing.

Leap into Spring with a class or workshop and celebrate with us! Take an Intro to Circus or “single serving” class or finish out your week with a Friday night Pay-Per-Flight on the flying trapeze! We also have a bevy of performances upcoming: the Spring Festival of Flight, SASS — SANCA’s Annual Spring Showcase, and the P3 Demonstration. Come on down!

I have the privilege of being here at SANCA every day, but it wouldn’t mean anything if you, our amazing SANCA family, weren’t here, in person or in spirit, to challenge yourself and grow and help others to do the same.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

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Carl Bystrom
Interim Executive Director
SANCA — School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts

P.S. You can also read or download a copy of SANCA’s Spring Newsletter.