Happy New Year! – Community Letter

Happy New Year!

It’s been just about four months since I stepped in as the Interim Executive Director at SANCA and I wanted to give you an update on the organization and a brief wrap-up of 2015.

First, I want to say that it has been a delight working with the staff, coaches, students, and parents here at SANCA. The sense of community and family runs to the heart of the organization. Everyone that works (and plays) here embodies a deep commitment to the students and to the personal growth, mental and physical health, confidence, and simple joy that the circus arts brings to our lives.

Since my arrival, I have been working to formalize the structure of our programs and organization to streamline our processes and focus our energies efficiently. Our organizational structure now reflects SANCA’s three distinct program areas: Circus Arts, Performance, and Social Circus. I want to share with you our progress in each area and where we plan to go in 2016.

Circus Arts Programs
C1A_2012_student_globe_01_smSANCA’s Circus Arts Programs — including 12-week session classes, single serving classes, and flying trapeze classes for youth and adults — continues to thrive with energy and excitement. These programs operate at near-full capacity with a steady year-over-year enrollment of more than 1,000 students per week. In 2015 SANCA granted over $136,000 in scholarships to youth in circus classes.

In 2016, Crystal Campbell and our Circus Arts Program staff will continue the spirit of fun, safety, and accessibility originally established by co-Founders Chuck Johnson and Jo Montgomery. They will also optimize our class offerings, schedule, and staffing to better serve the student body and grow our capacity to meet the needs of the community.

Performance Programs
We had a booming performance year at SANCA including our annual Spring Showcase—SASS; the annual Staff Show, “The Circus Animal: A cornicello-sass2015-902smDocumentary”; and Cirrus Circus’s fall show “HOTEL.” All of our youth troupes — Cirrus, the Magnificent 7, and the Amazing Circus 1-ders – performed at various community events and festivals throughout the region, including the Georgetown Carnival, Whirligig, and Seattle Center’s Winterfest.

Our Artist-In-Residence program fostered two original productions from IMPulse Circus Collective (“Figments” at the Moisture Festival and a Pacific Northwest mini-tour of “We All Fall Down”) and continuing works from The Acrobatic Conundrum — including a trip to Egypt for the BackStreet Festival and a talk/performance at TEDxRainier. I hope you were able to catch at least one of these fabulous performances.

Kicking off 2016, we welcome our new Youth Performance Companies Director, Audrey Spinazola. Audrey has joined us from Circus Center and Prescott Circus in San Francisco and we look forward to her creativity and leadership working with our youth performers in the coming year.

Our current crop of seven Professional Preparatory Program (P3) students are all thriving and eager to move forward with the creation of new acts. Look for their end-of-year performance in early June. We will also expand and formalize our Artist-In-Residence Program to accept applications from aspiring circus artists from around the world.

Social Circus
Ben VanHouten VanHouten Photography, Inc. 206-933-8753 ben@vanhoutenphoto.comOur Social Circus programs represent the heart of SANCA and make circus available to those who have the least access and opportunity to participate in healthy, creative, physical arts. In 2015 SANCA granted more than $18,000 in financial aid to our Every Body’s Circus youth and our Circus Outreach partners.

At the end of 2015, we began expanding our Social Circus initiatives, building on the great work that our co-Founder Jo Montgomery began, and continues to provide, in Every Body’s Circus. 2016 promises to be the year of Social Circus at SANCA as the program grows to include:

  • Social Circus Outreach to build additional partnerships in the greater Seattle area that bring circus to underserved and at-risk communities that want to use circus for social, emotional, and physical growth.
  • Every Body’s Circus to bring circus to youth who have learning differences, trauma-related or mood disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, hemiparesis, spina bifida, and vision or hearing impairments.

Our new Social Circus Director, Ian Jagel, is building new connections in our community to reach more underserved and marginalized youth with outreach circus programming — look for an update on our pilot program with the Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA) in the first quarter of 2016.

I am also delighted to introduce Alexandra Daves, MSW, LSWAIC, who will lead Therapeutic Circus Arts program moving forward. Alex brings her knowledge and expertise in mental health services as a Licensed Social Worker to compliment the physical health services offered by our co-founder Jo Montgomery, ARNP. Alex looks forward to incorporating mental health services into Every Body’s Circus as we expand our therapeutic circus offerings.

Thank You
In 2015, we raised over $150,000 dollars in individual contributions from our generous community of supporters. Your contributions provided financial scholarships for youth and made it possible for SANCA to offer our Social Circus and Youth Performance programs to the community while keeping circus accessible to all who want to participate.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

I’d also like to thank our institutional supporters who provided general operating and program support in 2015: 4Culture, Boeing, ChenSteinO’MallySven Foundation, Cirque du Soleil, Nesholm Family Foundation, Newground Social Investment, Orcas Business Park (SANCA’s Landlords), The Ruddell Kroll Charitable Fund, Seattle Children’s, The Seattle Foundation, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Teamtrio, Teatro ZinZanni, Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund, and the Windermere Foundation.

Looking Forward to 2016
tightwire sqIn 2016, we will expand our Social Circus programs, grow the capacity of the Circus Arts Program, and raise the level of excellence in our Performance Programs. Simultaneously, we will focus on optimizing staffing for programs, tightening up administrative processes and costs, and updating our technical infrastructure to improve efficiency. Your gifts of support in 2016 will guarantee the success of the expansion of our Social Circus programs and community partnerships, ensure continued support of all youth who want to take circus classes via our scholarship program, and will keep the heart of SANCA beating strong.

Whether your support comes as a gift of financial support, attendance at one of our shows, volunteering at an event, participating in SANCAthon, or taking one of our amazing circus classes, we appreciate every one of you and what you bring to SANCA. You are all part of the SANCA family, and you are why we are here.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2016!

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

Who’s on that Unicycle?

Nick and Wendy

You know them as Coach Nick and Coach Wendy, two friendly faces around SANCA that will help you enroll in the right class or learn how to stay upright on your unicycle. Wendy and Nick are also A Unicycle Built For Two, the duo circus act that blends the unicycle, acrobatics, and light-hearted romance, and last fall they were absent from the SANCA gym while they were on a national tour with Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk.

Nick Harden started training in the circus arts at the Illinois State University Gamma Phi Circus under the direction and coaching of Al and Lin-Veronica Light. He has performed in a variety of acts including partner and group acrobatics, German wheel, juggling, Russian bar, teeterboard, tightwire, and unicycle. Nick finished college in 2008 with a degree in physical education. However, he had been bitten hard by the circus bug, and knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his days in the circus. He came to Seattle in 2009 to work at SANCA as the Assistant Program Director, a perfect marriage of his college degree and love of circus. While Nick was not focused on performance it wasn’t long before he found himself back onstage on the unicycle in SANCA’s Annual Spring Showcase.

Wendy Allen grew up flipping and twisting at a gymnastics center in Northern California. After getting a BA in Film and Digital Media from UCSC, Wendy was invited back to Northern California to teach tumbling with an after-school circus program. She loved it, and quickly decided she wanted more circus. In 2010 Wendy moved to Seattle and fully immersed herself in the circus world. SANCA quickly realized that Wendy needed to be more than a student and hired her to work in the office; it wasn’t long until she was asked to coach as well.

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Though a concussion had Wendy temporarily forgetful of the fact that she and Nick had just started dating, since 2010 they have been together, both as a couple and on the unicycle. Nick began training Russian Bar with Coaches Erica and Marta and in the summer of 2012 performed in Circus Bella on their California tour. Nick was in the Russian bar trio and with Wendy as a unicycling duo. The four of them had a fabulous time and, though they came back to work at SANCA again, performing had taken hold of their hearts.

Nick and Wendy continued to work on their duo act, performing locally in Moisture Festival and in SANCA shows, before leaving once more, in 2013, to tour the nation, this time with the Zoppe Family Circus. This was their first time being a part of a tent circus tour- living out of an RV, building and dissembling the circus as they moved from town to town. They loved it.

As Seattle had become their home and SANCA held dear in their hearts, they returned once more to live, teach and train in the Emerald City. They joined the IMPulse Circus Collective, adding teeter board and banquine to their skills and creating and touring a new show, Figments. In 2014 Nick and Wendy got married and bought a house.

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The adventures just kept coming their way! During the summer of 2015 they toured California with the Flynn Creek Circus, and though they had planned to return to coaching that fall, they were offered a chance to tour the nation with Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk.

Meet SANCA’s P3s! (Part 2)

SANCA is very excited to welcome the latest group of young circus artists to the third year of our Professional Preparatory Program (P3)!

The P3 program, now in its third year, offers training for young adults seeking professional careers in the circus arts. The 9-month program provides 30 hours per week of coursework designed to prepare artists for auditions and entry into multi-year circus programs. Training includes four areas of focus:

  • Acrobatics (handstands, tumbling, trampoline, partner acrobatics)
  • Aerial (static trapeze, rope, fabric, hoop, Chinese pole)
  • Dance (ballet, modern, choreography)
  • Theater and Act Creation (improvisation, physical storytelling, acting, mask and clown)

The 9-month academic year is divided into five sessions, during which students first learn a baseline of skills, and then create two acts in the specialties of their choice. In the final session, the students create and perform an ensemble show. Throughout the year, students have the opportunity to assist in the production aspects of other SANCA productions and present works in progress in informal settings for development and constructive feedback.

P3 Group Acro

SANCA’s 2015-16 P3 students get to work on their first day at SANCA!

Coming Blog Posts will introduce SANCA’s P3 students. Today, please welcome Chris Bess and Aleasha Lynn Rosette Holtby to SANCA and the P3 Program!


Chris Bess HSChris Bess hails from Raleigh, North Carolina. He began his is career in physical arts as gymnast, later branching out into parkour, free-running, dance, and tricking. Tricking is a multi-disciplinary art that combines tumbling, martial arts, breakdancing, and strong sense of aesthetics.

Chris says that in Circus Arts, he’s found a way to put all these disciplines and skills together as a performance art that has diversity and creativity that’s not always available in other disciples.

He wants to communicate with movement, and feels most expressive through circus as a medium for making art and putting it into the world. Chris is interested in pushing boundaries, innovating, and creating things that people have never seen before.

Chris discovered SANCA when a physical theater teacher at UNC Charolette, Carlos Cruz, told him about circus and SANCA. Carlos is a circus and aerial straps artist originally from Do Jump! Dance Theatre and Imago Theatre in Portland, Oregon.

Of SANCA, Chris says the first few weeks have been really good and that it’s great to be in a regular training schedule. He wants to focus on Circus Arts at SANCA, with a vision of performing circus and making a living performing. He’s been primarily a soloist, but is interested in doing more partner and ensemble work.

He plans to take what he learns at SANCA back to Raleigh, where he’s involved with Raleigh Culture Project – a group dedicated to bringing all the movement disciplines together and fostering connections with musicians, visual artists, media, video, and the Internet.

Aleasha Holtby HSAleasha Lynn Rosette Holtby is 26. She was looking for new challenges after practicing yoga for five years, and discovered contortion. Shortly after that she started taking aerial classes and fell in love with all of it. She is specializing in Lyra (aerial hoop).

Aleasha wants to master the Lyra and learn intense tricks like elbow rolls and the one-foot toe hang. She’s very excited to expand her acrobatic and dance skills to create a captivating acro-dance. She also is excited to develop more skills all aspects of circus arts so that she can bring her knowledge home to teach it to others. One of her professional goals is to open her own aerials/yoga studio.

She chose to study at SANCA because it offered a full time program, and she wants to spend a full year immersed in circus! Aleasha looks forward to becoming proficient in each discipline, mastering the Lyra, and discovering passions in the circus arts.

AleashaHoltby

Aleasha performing a Lyra and contortion act.

Bad Taste, Good Sense, and Dazzling Deeds of Daring-Do

Or, 3 Things about Old Circus to Embrace in New Circus

     — SANCA Blog Post by Jenna Barrett, SANCA Administrative Director

 

There’s no doubt about it, working in contemporary circus is fun!

The physical feats are impressive, styles are anything from bold and brassy to thoughtful and sublime; and the jokes are usually pretty funny. It feels like we’re part of the reinventing of circus, bringing a genuine, compassionate, perhaps more intelligent (and less exploitive) facet to the cut glass of this physical arts form, and making it shine like diamonds in the spotlight — or forgoing the spotlight altogether and practicing circus for the joy of it alone, no audience necessary. Like the Beat Generation of the Big Top, or something. Surfing the effervescence of dreaming up liberated yet playful crowd-pleasing acts to a beloved ancient entertainment is exciting, but if we’re going to bedazzle this particular top hat we should acknowledge the history of circus is our history — all of the history, even the seedier parts.

It seems sometimes there is a push to careen forward into New Circus, and by doing so distance oneself from “old,” or traditional, circus. The fact that the demarcation of “New” Circus is necessary at all highlights this; some of how contemporary circus defines itself is by not doing stuff that traditional circus undeniably did do, and those elements are ingrained enough in the recognition of it that they must be forsaken. Let the mistakes of the past be in the past then, my friends, but before we lock old circus history away in the attic I’d like to point out a few antiques that may be worth tucking carefully in the caravan and taking with us as we move on.

1. But Where Are the Elephants?

An Acrobatic equestrian act in Cavalia.

An Acrobatic equestrian act in Cavalia.

First things first: animals are rarely featured in contemporary circus. This makes sense from a chronological, technological point of view; we don’t use dray horses to till fields anymore, either. While New Circus is largely focused on the physical and entertaining feats of the human animal, it is important to recognize that not all of the relationships between performers and performing animals are exploitive and abusive. Acrobatic equestrians (say that three time fast) are responsible for much of the historical success of circus in the West, and the contemporary blockbuster Cavalia serves as a shining example of promise for future circus that can include performing animals in a positive, mutually beneficial way.

 

2. Funhouse Mirrors

Funhouse Mirrors at Playland - Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library.

Funhouse Mirrors at Playland: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library.

Audiences seek entertainment that thrills and entertains, and the things we pay to see on stage and screen are cultural mirrors of each age. Our fears and delights are reflected in other mediums as well, like monster trends in horror movies. If zombies — creatures that were once like us, but are now undead and monstrous — are popular at present because they embody the vile possibilities of the human without the humanity, then could it be that dreamlike aerialists in the sky and cavorting acrobats represent living heroes who show us the dazzling feats that are possible the stranger beside us on the bus?

 

 

3. Live Girls

Sells Floto circus M'lle Beeson, a marvelous high wire Venus.

Sells Floto circus M’lle Beeson, a marvelous high wire Venus.

How did circus women help the suffrage movement? In those charming vintage posters there is an unmistakable patina of the seedy, the salty, and risqué always seeming to almost topple into raunchy. However, circus athletes of the early 20th century could not perform in the puritanical trappings of women’s dress of the day, and so they were some of the first women to wear short skirts in public. This gender-inclusive trend continues to this day, where studies show that circus is one of the few sports activities that create success for all kids who put their mind to it, regardless of the social influences and differences that typically separate boys and girls in athletics.

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In circus, the only limits are imagination.

Besides, it’s not like traditional circus went anywhere, as the continued prosperity of centuries-old traditional circus outfits indicates. However, it is heartening to see traditional circus quietly reform their menagerie to reflect their audience’s desires, and do away with the more distasteful elements in their shows. Many “circus traditions” are little more than marketing gimmicks dreamed up by the show outfit themselves, to create fondness, and are easily swayed by modern trends. Like circus peanuts. Peanuts? In public?! Where children that may possibly have allergies are present?!? This is America, buster. That’s just a nonstarter. But these days there is room in the theater for both traditional and contemporary, and that emergence is exciting.

SANCAthon: it’s back, and bigger and better than ever!

Thank You to everyone who made SANCAthon a success!

Here’s the annotated Catch-athon video by Kristen Petersen

SANCAthon_2013_meghan_cornicello_01medSANCAthon is a super fun community celebration! We’ve got exciting plans for this year’s SANCAthon and you don’t want to miss it!

Four hours of excitement including:
· Catchathon!
· The Buskers’ Challenge!
· Team Events!
· Circus Performances and Drawings

Participants can register today, join a team, and learn more at www.sancaseattle.org/sancathon! (must preregister by Friday, October 30th)

MEET THE SANCATHON TEAMS!

Read about all our exciting team events at the SANCAthon Team Page. You can make contributions in support of teams or individual participants from their team and personal pages.

SANCAthon catch sqTeam Catchathon:

Our goal is to make as many catches in one hour as we can! Join us in the SANCA School of Flight Tent to kick off SANCAthon at 12 p.m. on Sunday, November 1st.

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Team Aerial:

We’re taking on the challenge of climbing the height of the Space Needle as many times as possible in one hour! Are you a climber? We’ve got your apparatus– rope, fabric, trapeze, or Chinese Pole, this event’s for you!

unicycle2_051212_student_unicycle_BensonSquire_sqTeam CANYONATHON:

Wire Walkers and Unicyclists: We’re going to cross the width of the Grand Canyon in a relay-style event especially for tightwire walkers and unicyclists!

SANCAthon_2012_staff_handstandrelay_Maia_13sqTeam Handstand:

We will attempt a wave of handstands around the whole gym where everyone will hold a handstand for 15 seconds before the next person goes up in a relay fashion!

SANCAthon_2013_SW_AA_juggling_sqTeam Juggler:

The SANCAthon juggling team is all about three things: Throwing, catching & raising funds for the SANCA Youth Scholarship Fund. We are setting our sights on achieving the group goal of 2,015 catches in any juggling pattern and with any juggling prop, be it bean-bags, balls, rings, or clubs. It is as the old juggling saying that we just made up goes: You gotta throw ’em if you wanna catch ’em.

Team Tumbling: SANCAthon_2013_diveroll_cornicello_sq

SANCA’s tumblers are going perform a demonstration of the awesome skills we’ve learned for everyone to see! We’ll dazzle you with rolls, handstands, cartwheels, or crazy tumbling passes.

baby&me_2008_chloefierstein_rope_01sqTurbo Tots:

SANCA’s 2 – 4 year-old tots are going to tear it up at the TURBO TOT OBSTACLE COURSE! This incredible, super fun obstacle course will include Wacky Wall Walkers, Balancing Feathers, Juggling, Monkey Jumps and More!

MEET THE SANCATHON PERFORMERS!

Contribute in support of performers at their team & personal pages from the SANCAthon Team Page.

The Amazing Circus 1-ders and the Magnificent 7 – accompanied by the SANCApators Band — will close out the day by with some amazing new performances. You may be witness to the debut of AcroVengers: Origins, as well as an amazing aerial ladder act, a tumbling and springboard act, and a new ring juggling act.

The Buskers’ Challenge:

Cirrus Circus and our staff performers will give it their all for you! Challenge our performers to achieve amazing feats of daring do by putting down a donation for a trick. Want to see an acrobatic three-high? Juggling 7 balls? A dueling unicycle challenge? Show us the $$, we’ll show you the tricks!

Random Acts of Circus will happen throughout the day, and you’ll have opportunities to enter drawings for fabulous prizes. See you Sunday, November 1st for SANCAthon!

SANCAthon header 1

Meet SANCA’s P3s! (Part 1)

SANCA is very excited to welcome the latest group of young circus artists to the third year of our Professional Preparatory Program (P3)!

The P3 program, now in its third year, offers training for young adults seeking professional careers in the circus arts. The 9-month program provides 30 hours per week of coursework designed to prepare artists for auditions and entry into multi-year circus programs. Training includes four areas of focus:

  • Acrobatics (handstands, tumbling, trampoline, partner acrobatics)
  • Aerial (static trapeze, rope, fabric, hoop, Chinese pole)
  • Dance (ballet, modern, choreography)
  • Theater and Act Creation (improvisation, physical storytelling, acting, mask and clown)

The 9-month academic year is divided into five sessions, during which students first learn a baseline of skills, and then create two acts in the specialties of their choice. In the final session, the students create and perform an ensemble show. Throughout the year, students have the opportunity to assist in the production aspects of other SANCA productions and present works in progress in informal settings for development and constructive feedback.

P3 Group Acro

SANCA’s 2015-16 P3 students get to work on their first day at SANCA!

Coming Blog Posts will introduce SANCA’s P3 students. Today, please welcome Cameron Clarke and Katheryn Reed to SANCA and the P3 Program!


Cameron ClarkeCameron Clarke is 19 and hopes to become a circus generalist and expand on every discipline that he can while at SANCA because there is so much variety and so much to learn. Cameron says:

“I became involved in circus when my family moved to Belgium for three years. I joined an afterschool circus program called Circus Avanco in Aalbeke, Belgium. I hope to audition at École de cirque de Québec in 2016 and attend their three-year professional training program. I chose SANCA for my preparatory study because the facility is excellent and it will be a good way to accomplish all of the training I seek in one place. The circus community in Seattle has been very welcoming and I am excited to live here.”

Katheryn ReedKatheryn Reed is 28 and has been a dancer all her life, but she says it didn’t always feel like it was a viable career, that something was missing, and that her body felt disconnected.

“About 5 years ago” Katheryn says, “I started training in partner acrobatics focused in L-basing with the Seattle Acro group. My whole world opened up, and with the increase of strength in my core and upper body, I finally felt like one piece when I danced.”

Katheryn has been involved with the circus community in Seattle for some time now, working closely with The Acrobatic Conundrum, stage managing for their show The Way Out, and choreographing their show Secret Passages.

“Through continuing to meet new people I became the Captain for the Seattle Chapter of Circus Now, and over the past year we have produced over 10 fantastic and free circus-related events supporting Seattle’s amazing circus community.”

“I chose to train with SANCA because it has always been my circus home, says Katheryn, “It’s welcoming and friendly with amazing facilities and talented teachers. I love ground acrobatics, hand to hand, and Cyr wheel. I just felt like I could not take enough classes to see the progress I wanted, so the full-time P3 Program seemed like the perfect fit!”

Katheryn hopes to continue to perform in Seattle and tour in the longer term. She loves choreographing for circus and hopes collaborate and produce circus in the future. You can also find her dancing and performing professionally with Cafe Nordo and Marxiano Productions.

What’s UP at SANCA? – Aviatrix!

If you look up at SANCA, it’s not unusual to see the high-flying quartet known throughout Seattle as Aviatrix hanging from the rafters. Often they are “flying” from their triple trapeze in a retro-circus homage of aviator Amelia Earhart and wing-walking women such as Ethel Dare, the “Queen of the Air,” from the barnstorming airshows of the 1920’s.

Carri Andersen, Cathy Sutherland, Esther Edelman, and Martha Enson as Aviatrix! Photo by John Cornicello

Carri Andersen, Cathy Sutherland, Esther Edelman, and Martha Enson as Aviatrix! – Photo by John Cornicello

The members of Aviatrix are Carri Andersen, Cathy Sutherland, Esther Edelman, and Martha Enson. In their combined pasts they have been gymnasts, actors, dancers, and directors. They have performed across the United States and in Europe & Mexico, on the outer edge of the Space Needle, and in the presence of kings.

The inspiration for the troupe came from the 1920’s barnstorming airshows, and Sutherland says after they first got the idea they did a lot of research on aviation and design. It turned out that finding the right costuming was one of their biggest challenges. They searched for months for costumes that fit their theme and could be worn on the trapeze. One of the best finds they made was the Federal Army & Navy Surplus store on Seattle’s First Avenue in downtown. It turned out the store had much of the costuming the troupe needed.

Another challenge the quartet faced in putting the act together was synchronization. With four people working up in the air on a trapeze, but no outside director; how to get the timing right? Lots of video recording turned out to be the answer, and it’s not uncommon to see a tripod aimed at the quartet during rehearsals.

Too Many Martinis! Photo by John Cornicello

Too Many Martinis!
Photo by John Cornicello

In addition to their wing-walking classic, Aviatrix have devised a “bottoms-up” burlesque act called “Too Many Martinis” that features 5-foot-tall, martini-glass-shaped, stainless-steel trapezes dreamed up by Enson and constructed by musician-sculptor Ela Lamblin of the Vashon Island troupe Lelavision. It’s not every day that you see a new-fangled aerial apparatus appear, so when the martini glasses first came to SANCA, it attracted a lot of attention – everyone wondered what they were going to do and how it would work.

Aviatrix regularly appears in Moisture Festival and many other local Seattle events and shows, but it wouldn’t be far from the mark to say that SANCA is home base for them. When the group was first getting started they trained at the Georgetown Ballroom, but as business picked up at the ballroom, scheduling open training time was getting difficult. SANCA’s founders, Chuck & Jo, invited Aviatrix to train at SANCA.

Sutherland notes that if it weren’t for SANCA, they might not still be training together as a group – it’s that hard to find training space large enough to accommodate their apparatus in Seattle.

“SANCA has been so outstandingly kind and generous to us,” says Enson, “It’s really set up for the circus and aerial training we do, and it’s got a great ceiling height.”

Enson also points out how flexible it is at SANCA and how good the community it is. It’s easy to move their trapeze and rigging to different parts of the building to accommodate classes without missing out on their regular training schedule, and there are often opportunities for feedback and act discussions with staff.

The Aviatrix at Moisture Festival. Photo by Michelle Bates

The Aviatrix at Moisture Festival. – Photo by Michelle Bates

“It’s great to see the range of ages training and taking classes here,” Enson says, noting that her own daughter, Ruby, has taken classes at SANCA. “All the staff at SANCA does amazing things. It’s very inspiring to see the staff here training and teaching.”

SANCA staff and students are amazed as well by Aviatrix. Every time they turn on their music to run through their act, people in the gym all stop what they are doing to watch the impromptu performance.

The High-Flying Aviaxtrix! Photo by John Cornicello

The High-Flying Aviaxtrix! – Photo by John Cornicello

Keep your eyes peeled for Aviatrix’s next public performance and make sure to catch them throughout the run of Moisture Festival every spring in March and April.

Meet SANCA’s Doctor of Physical Therapy and Circus Coach – Emily Scherb!

Emily Scherb - SANCA's Doctor of Physical Therapy!

Emily Scherb – SANCA’s Doctor of Physical Therapy!

Emily started her circus career when she was eleven years old at a summer camp in Pennsylvania. She began by learning static trapeze, mini-tramp, and tumbling. Then moved on to partner acrobatics, swinging rings, aerial cradle and flying trapeze, and became a flying trapeze instructor when she was 15 years old.

She moved to Portland, Oregon and joined Pendulum Aerial Arts and DO JUMP! Physical Theatre, where she performed for several years. Her career eventually led to Saint Louis, where she went to college for a degree in physical anthropology and dance. While there, Emily taught circus skills at Circus Harmony, a youth social circus program.

After college, Emily worked for a time as the Assistant Manager for TSNY – the Trapeze School in New York. During that time she apprenticed with STREB Extreme Action Company – a dance-based physical action performance school and production company and helped start the Espana Streb Trapeze Academy. She then returned to Saint Louis for graduate studies at Washington University to complete her Doctorate in Physical Therapy.

Emily always knew she wanted to be involved with physical movement and combining working with performance arts and physical therapy was a natural fit for her. She enjoys teaching people how to move – both everyday movement and performance movement. Emily says that physical therapy is really about teaching people how to recognize limitations in movement and retraining to overcome the limitation to return to normal movement and ability.

She thinks that the combination of circus and physical therapy makes treatment accessible at many levels:

  • For the general population circus-based physical therapy creates opportunities to develop strength, health, and flexibility in a way that empowers you and builds confidence at the level you are at – and it’s a fun way to stay active!
  • For people with disabilities, it’s a way to approach working with a limitation that creates a new perspective and enables a person to do things they couldn’t do before by providing a new, different, or unusual stimulus that wakes up the neurological system.
  • For performers and circus artists, Emily shares her knowledge of anatomy and physical therapy to teach artists how to train using good body mechanics and in a holistic manner that keeps the body healthy and avoids injury.

“It’s important to me that I support the circus community and help the community grow in a healthy and sustainable way,” says Emily, “Teaching circus has been a good foundation and education of how to communicate about movement to patients, and the importance of treating the whole body to create coordinated movement.”

At SANCA, Emily keeps active in circus as a part-time Flying Trapeze Coach. She also works with SANCA’s Every Body’s Circus Program, helping to run summer camps for youth with disabilities.

“It’s such a unique opportunity,” Emily says, “Because SANCA has so many medical and sports professionals present as staff, and even as students, that it becomes a very safe and welcoming environment for kids who haven’t had the opportunity to participate in sports. Here at SANCA, they get to participate and they don’t have to feel different from their peers – they get to be like everyone else who is learning circus. At SANCA, their therapy becomes fun – it’s no longer a chore to learn how to use their bodies – and they receive a level of focused attention that’s not always available in other areas of their lives.”

Emily points out the changes that kids experience in the program:

  • They’re more confident and determined.
  • They learn better weight bearing movement.
  • They learn better oppositional (cross-body) movement.
  • They improve their coordination and their ability to achieve skills that others often take for granted, like being able to jump, or walk up stairs.

As part of her practice as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Emily holds clinic hours at SANCA two days a week, and also at her office on Westlake at Lake Union. She is also a touring lecturer, presenting workshops on anatomy and injury prevention for circus performers and students all across the United States.

Hanging out on the flying trapeze net.

Hanging out on the flying trapeze net.

Emily can be contacted at the following numbers and locations:

Pure Motion Physical Therapy
www.puremotionphysicaltherapy.com
Phone: (206) 316-0457

Westlake Office
2130 Westlake Ave N, Suite 2
Seattle, WA 98109

Georgetown Office (inside SANCA)
674 South Orcas Street
Seattle, WA 98108

Back to Sports with Title Nine and SANCA!

SANCA Board Member Kristina Wicke

SANCA Board Member Kristina Wicke

SANCA Board Member Kristina Wicke recently sat down with Circus 1-ders Coach Terri Sullivan to chat about SANCA and Title Nine—a women’s athletic sportswear store in Greenlake—and the upcoming Back-to-Sports Fundraiser benefiting SANCA on Thursday, August 27th.

SANCA Coach Terri Sullivan

SANCA Coach
Terri Sullivan

Kristina and Terri have been friends and circus fans since their days performing as members of the New Old Time Chautauqua. They’ve both been part of SANCA since the beginning – Terri as our first hired Circus Coach, and Kristina as a founding Board Member. Outside of their roles at SANCA, Terri is the District Manager for Title Nine, and Kristina is Store Manager for Title Nine’s Greenlake location.

Kristina Wicke: Why do you think SANCA and Title Nine a good match? And what do they have in common?

Terri Sullivan: You and me for starters! Seriously, there are a ton of things that the organizations share. A SANCA woman IS a Title Nine woman. There is a shared sensibility, style and attitude. I think I’ve told you before, but when I first found the Title Nine store I was excited. I said, “Finally! Here are my clothes! I’ve been looking for you everywhere!”

KW: What’s your favorite thing about SANCA?

TS: I love EVERYTHING about SANCA. The most exciting thing is the way that I’ve seen it empower kids to be confident in their bodies. It’s a HUGE skill. That physical confidence allows kids, especially girls, to become capable, strong people – both physically and mentally. Also the Circus 1-ders are awesome!

KW: You are clearly passionate about SANCA. What do you love about Title Nine?

TS: The people. The people that work and shop at Title Nine are awesome. It’s the reason I work there – plain and simple. There’s a wonderfully quirky sensibility at T9. When I first interviewed for my job, I wasn’t really sure if it would be a good fit for me. Then I met all the fabulous folks that I would get to spend time with and I was sold. Just like at SANCA we celebrate out victories and learn from our mistakes. And did I mention that the clothes are pretty great, too?

SANCA Coach Terri Sullivan - keeping in shape at Title Nine!

SANCA Coach Terri Sullivan
keeping in shape – and style! – at Title Nine

KW: Do you have some current favorite T9 outfits?

TS: Oh, heck yeah …. Right now I’m living in the Standby Capri, Alpha-Omega Top and Shift Jacket. They are great for coaching! And I also love the Performance Jean, paired with the Mixologist Tunic.

KW: Why shop at the T9/SANCA Back-to-Sports Event?

TS: First, it’s a great way to support the school. SANCA continues to offer scholarships for kids who can’t afford the tuition on their own. And that work can’t continue without donations and support. Also, you’re going to walk away with fabulous outfits from a great shopping experience. Title Nine is committed to finding the right clothes for you. It’s a win/win! You get a terrific clothes and SANCA benefits!

We’d love to see you there!

SANCA Back-to-Sports Fundraiser at Title Nine
Thursday, August 27, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Anyone who shops at Title Nine and mentions SANCA at checkout will have 9% of their purchase value donated to SANCA in support of all our youth programs.

You can preview Title Nine’s selection of sportswear at: www.titlenine.com

Title Nine – Greenlake
7000 Woodlawn Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115