With over 12 years of aerial performance experience, Tanya Brno is one of the most sought after aerialists in the PNW. She uses her classical ballet training along with burlesque and theatrical experience to produce her signature graceful, dynamic, and dramatic style. Her clients have included Club Med, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, USC Events, Hendrick’s Gin, Pronghorn Resort, Hilton, Sound Spirits, and Aston Manor. She holds weekly residencies at The Pink Door in Pike Place Market and Suite nightclub in Bellevue. She regularly graces the stage at The Triple Door with The Atomic Bombshells Burlesque and appears in the holiday extravaganza “Land of the Sweets” with Verlaine/McCann Productions. She has passed her auditions for Cirque du Soleil, Dragone Productions, and Cavalia, and has instructed the circus staff at Club Med resorts in aerial arts.
Don’t miss her captivating shows for Moisture Festival at Hales in Fremont on Wednesday April 4th at 7:30pm, Thursday April 5th at 7:30pm, and the festival’s closing show on Sunday April 8th at 7:30pm.
You’ve worked so many different kinds of gigs, from the Atomic Bombshells and Super Geek League, to corporate gigs. How do you negotiate working with such different audiences?
“I love something about every kind of performance I’ve done, but I’d have to say my favorite kind of performance these days is improvisational. I have a couple of weekly gigs that I am very comfortable choosing a song in the moment and going for it. I love being authentic with my audience, and having the freedom to choose my apparatus, costume, song, and presentation as I am feeling it is very freeing and even cathartic. I use my performance as a place to process things quite frequently. It’s hard to do that when you have a set and themed act you have to do every night no matter how you’re feeling.
“I feel lucky that I’ve had so many opportunities to become versatile in my presentation. There’s always something new to learn or something to be inspired by. You also learn to negotiate going between different types of performance because you are getting paid to do so, and hopefully there’s something engaging about the style that you enjoy, although that’s not always the case. Sometimes it is just a paycheck and you have to just go up and do your job. You find something to pull from. I am very grateful that this is my job and I just try and be thankful for the life I get to live. I always love shows at The Triple Door with the burlesque troupes I perform with because it’s such a great venue and you are really taken care of. I joke that the Triple Door is my second home because I spend four months out of the year onstage there in different productions. I love the burlesque community as well. From my experience, it can be a lot less pressure. I like things a bit more laid back in vibe around me, onstage and backstage, because I can get pretty intense in my own world.
“Yes, and no that my presentation changes, I feel like my natural presentation is very balletic, emotional, and somewhat sensual in nature; these qualities tend to play out in whatever role I take on. Sometimes my characters are more playful and innocent, or flirty, or showgirl-like. You don’t find me playing comedic roles very often, although that’s something I’d like to explore as I go on.”
How do you feel your history has a classically trained ballet dancer has influenced your aerial work?
“I am very grateful for my intense ballet training; it informs a lot of movement choices for me as well as my work ethic. It never leaves my body. I like the way I move; it feels good to be in my body and to be able to use every piece of it for expression. Ballet dancers are very hard workers; hard on themselves and those around them. You tend to have very high standards for yourself and a high threshold for pain and pushing through discomfort. It’s work later in life to let some of those tapes in your head go. That it’s ok to be human and make mistakes, and take a day off.
“I guess that depends on how you define contemporary performance. I’ve dabbled in performance that was modern dance based, with street clothes or workout clothes for costumes and no sets, but I’m at heart a sparkly, graceful showgirl. I try to bring characters to my ambient sets even in the club or for the dinner crowd. I try and pay attention to what my lighting is, my song choice, the vibe and flow of people in the room, my mood, and choose a song that weaves those things together.”
You work on a unique aerial apparatus, coined ‘aerial spiral’. Where did you first see it or what gave you the inspiration to create it? What do you like about it?
“I designed the aerial spiral in 2011 by taking a sharpie on lined yellow notebook paper and making an approximate shape. I did not see that anyone had created one yet. I had to shop the idea to about 10 different welders before I found someone willing to take it on. It was just a fun idea I had that I wanted to bring to life. I never thought it would be as big as it got. I thought it would set me apart in terms of an act to hire, which has happened as well, but mostly people want to build their own. I get inquiries every day.
“It’s a sculptural apparatus, so you are never doing anything at the upper limits of acrobatics, but it lends itself to bendy people, or very expressive people. It is asymmetrical and the bars are on a diagonal line, so you have to pay attention to where all the gaps are at all times. There are no flat bars or verticals to work with.”
Thank you Tanya! Don’t miss her shows at Moisture Fest!