Author Archives: Maia LeDoux

Cirrus Circus presents “Hotel”

Hotel poster FINALsmHOTEL is the tale of a once-grand institution that has fallen on hard times. A thick layer of dust covers the concierge desk and the rooms sit unoccupied. When two unsuspecting guests arrive to stay the night, little do they know, they are in for a wild ride. With portraits that swing out of their frames, a fountain that comes to life, acrobatic bellhops and juggling ghosts, it’s clear…this is no ordinary hotel!

Cirrus Circus is known throughout Seattle as one of the most accomplished youth circus groups in the region. The troupe is in demand locally, performing at many of Seattle’s popular festivals and events, including Moisture Festival, Seattle Center’s Winterfest, the Georgetown Carnival, and more. In July 2014, Cirrus Circus had the honor of performing internationally at the London International Youth Circus Festival in England, at No Fit State in Cardiff, Wales and Island Circus in Sylt, Germany.

HOTEL will feature all-new original numbers on trapeze, aerial fabric, aerial hoop, and Chinese pole, as well as contortion, club juggling, unicycle, partner acrobatics, clowning, and more.

HOTEL is a collaboration between the Directors and members of Cirrus Circus, with costume design by Milla Voellinger, set by Morgan Sobel, acrobatics consulting from Jacob Skeffington and Erica Rubenstein, and select originally composed music by Tristan Moore.

Rachel Nehmer, Interim Cirrus Circus Managing Director
Arne Bystrom, Cirrus Circus Assistant Director

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.

SANCAthon400x600_2013_rope_sq

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

Flight of the Living Dead!

The SANCA School of Flight is welcoming Fall with the Festival of Flight: Flight of the Living Dead! The Open House and Flying Trapeze Shows are a celebration for the whole community. First time flyers are encouraged to try flying on the trapeze during our Open House and to stay for the Flying Trapeze Shows that feature the 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.
Checkout and Share our event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/999929316704508/

The flying trapeze will be open to participants throughout the Open House. Space is limited, one turn per person. Participants must be 4 years old to fly. Please bring a contribution to SANCA’s Youth Scholarship Fund or a nonperishable food item for the Rainier Valley Food Bank if you would like to fly!

Friday, October 2ndFall Fly Show 2015 FB Event
5:30-7:30pm Open House
7:30pm Mini, Jr, & Teen Fly Teams Perform
9:00pm Adult Fly Team Performs

Saturday, October 3rd
12:00-2:00pm Open House
2:00pm: Mini, Jr, Teen Fly Teams Perform
7:00pm: Adult Fly Team Performs

The SANCA School of Flight Open House is a celebration for the whole community! First time flyers are encouraged to try flying on the trapeze. The flying trapeze will be open to participants throughout the Open House. Space is limited, one turn per person. Participants must be 4 years old to fly. Turns on the flying trapeze are available for a contribution to SANCA’s Youth Scholarship Fund or a nonperishable food item for local food bank. Shows are non-ticketed events. Contributions are welcomed at the door.

What I did at Camp this summer

My summer at Camp Tanuga

This summer I took a sabbatical from SANCA and my day job of being a Registered Nurse in the ER, and ventured to Michigan and a camp called Camp Tanuga. There I got the opportunity to teach flying trapeze full time, an experience I’ve been longing to have since I started coaching at SANCA a few years ago.

DSC_0083Tanuga is located in northern Michigan, about 40 minutes outside of Traverse City, with the closest town, Kalkaska, about 15 minutes away. For someone that grew up in a big city then moved to the Seattle metropolis four years ago, camp was an adjustment. There’s no supermarket around the corner, no redbox down the road, and Internet service was sometimes a bit shaky. That being said, my summer was full of new and fun experiences not involving technology or stores down the road.

Camp Tanuga was established a little over 60 years ago and still carries on many of the traditions that were started back then. In fact, many of the kids are 2nd or 3rd generation campers. The majority of the campers, who are between 7 and 15 years old, live in or around the Detroit area, although there are also campers from Colorado, Florida, California and other states. Tanuga is also somewhat of a SANCA tradition as a few of the staff members from the fly tent have also worked there in the past, including: Paul Peterson, Chris Johnston and Spencer Stevens.

Every day at camp was an adventure, with the schedule often changing at the last minute. To my type A, gotta have a plan self, this was probably the biggest struggle of the summer. Most days, however, my schedule went something like this:

IMG_10768:30 Breakfast
10:00 Instructional 1 (Flying trapeze)
11:20 Cabin Activity (Flying trapeze)
12:15 Lunch
1:00 Rest hour
2:00 Optional (training time for us or sometimes teaching a class)
3:30 Instructional 2 (Flying trapeze)
4:30 Instructional 3 (Flying trapeze)
6:30 Dinner
7:30 Evening Program

Basically, I was immersed in our three-person trapeze team world most of the day. I loved getting to teach new and returning campers new tricks, see them grow as flyers, and see joy in their eyes every time they caught a new trick. In this way teaching at camp and at SANCA are very similar. Both have individuals who have been flying for quite some time, as well as brand new flyers. It has been incredibly rewarding for me working with both types of students.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.03.56 AMThe other part of camp that I loved was getting to grow as a flyer myself. My cabin was about a 10 second walk to the trapeze (give or take a few seconds). It was a dream to be able to walk out my door and fly every day. This summer I faced a lot of fears that I have has a flyer. I was pushed by the people on my team to go to new heights (so to speak), and believe I grew a lot as a trapeze artist, coach, and person. I even caught my double out of safety lines for the first time, something I hadn’t even fathomed I would do this summer.

Camp Tanuga was an experience. Was everything perfect? No. Did I miss Seattle, my friends and the SANCA community? Absolutely. But, this summer at Camp Tanuga was a summer I will never forget. I got to teach some amazing campers, met some fantastic people, and got to explore beautiful northern Michigan.  I also got to do something that I love every single day – flying trapeze.

The Circus Animal: a Nature Documentary (Staff Show)

Come see the never-before-revealed mysteries of the circus kingdom! Learn about the mysterious behaviors of the ring reptile, the night time aerial adventures of the spider, and the secret desires of the flamingo in this new mock-documentary show. Visit the wilds of SANCA and witness the strange and wonderful mannerisms of circus creatures in this new show featuring the original circus animal – HUMANS.

This exciting collaboration showcases an amazing variety of traditional and modern circus arts, including Chinese pole, Partner Acrobatics, Aerial Rope, Handbalancing, German wheel, Aerial Rings, Slack Line and more!

Saturday evenings join us for a jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring Late Nite show by the SANCA School of Flight staff and stay for an after-party in our fly tent sponsored by Fremont Brewing Company!

Circus Animal- SANCA Staff show poster

Cast:
Tom Hanna
Sara Havercamp
Stefanie Brendler
Maile Gove
Orville Zharoff
Milla Voellinger
Scotty Walsh
Kelsa Dine
Leslie Rosen
Jane Walters-Cooke
Megan Strawn
Andreas Fetz
Rachel Randall
Nicholas Lowery

Direction & choreography: Rachel Randall
Filming: Sara Havercamp
Sound design: Andrew Wheatley
Lights: Amanda Zwar

August  21-23 & 28-30, 2015 •  All shows 7pm • Saturday Late Nite Fly Show  & After Party 9pm

Tickets at brownpapertickets.com/event/1789695

Meet Dyani, Junior Flyer

Finding Inspiration, Challenge & Greater Confidence Through Flying Trapeze

Dyani board smDyani first learned about SANCA from a friend who was taking classes. She thought that circus looked like a fun and way to get stronger and learn new skills. Watching other people perform circus skills was really inspiring to Dyani, and she wanted to learn it all. It wasn’t long before she started taking multiple classes – including Unicycle, Teen Aerial, and Flying Trapeze.

It’s hard to pick a favorite circus activity; Dyani says she likes it all, but one thing that stood out for her was the idea of wanting to be on the Junior Fly Team. She saw a flying trapeze performance at SANCA and that inspired her to give it a try. Dyani joined the team in the summer of 2014. It was awkward at first, she recalls, because she was new, and an outsider, but getting to know the team as friends and being able to talk with them made it comfortable and welcoming, and she realized that everyone there was working on their own skills and challenges and that they all wanted to get really good at flying.

Her mother, Liliana points out that SANCA has been a great environment for Dyani because it is diverse and there are many good role models to look to for inspiration. Liliana says that she is impressed with the quality of coaching. “The instructors are patient and understanding,” She says. “They give constant encouragement and positive support, and they are really good at helping students face their fears. They pay attention to all the kids they are teaching – not just the ones who stand out as better athletes.”

ft static splits smDyani’s first performance with the Junior Fly Team was in the fall of 2014. She recalls being very nervous and excited about the show, but she felt really good about herself when she heard the audience applauding. One of her most memorable moments, Dyani notes, was her first time flying without spotting lines. She says it was scary at first, but great adrenaline and a huge achievement for her.

“Conditioning was a big surprise,” says Dyani, “It’s really difficult but purposeful and helps you gain strength.” She notes that she also studies martial arts, and that conditioning at SANCA has helped her get better at Taekwondo. Although conditioning is hard, Dyani says her flying trapeze coach, Katie Wagman, really helps out with that aspect of circus training because “She makes it fun and keeps you going on the ground and in the air, and she helps you get better at what you do.”

In turn, Katie points out that “There’s been a huge improvement in Dyani’s skill and attitude since she first started flying with us – she’s very willing to work hard and apply herself, and she’s excited to learn new skills.”

Dyani’s mother, Liliana, thinks that Dyani benefits from circus arts by more than just physical ability. “She believes more in herself now. She has more confidence, and that shows up in all her activities. She got straight A’s in school these past two semesters.”

Dyani likes to tell her friends how much fun circus is – but she doesn’t mention the conditioning because she doesn’t want to scare them off, noting that once you realize the benefit of putting in the hard work, it’s not so bad.

Meet Randi – Active, Fearless, Creative, and Curious About the World.

Randi Morrison 4Randi Morrison discovered SANCA—Seattle’s only nonprofit 
circus school—in 2010 when a friend invited her to come to a circus class. She’s always been an active person, but she’d never done anything like circus before. Randi was delighted with the openness of SANCA and the mixture of people of all ages and abilities learning and working together. The atmosphere was very fun and happy—people everywhere were smiling.

The teaching style of SANCA’s instructors also impressed Randi. They gave good instruction in a safe environment with an eye to detail, and were able to quickly help students learn new skills that many had never imagined that they would be able to do.

“I want others to experience the same joy that I have at SANCA.”

In her career as a hospitalist physician, Randi also teaches residents and students, so it’s no surprise that she noticed SANCA’s instructional style. She says it’s been a great experience to be a student again — it reminds her of what it’s like to be a beginner at a new skill. She’s taken examples from SANCA back with her to the medical setting, and says that one of the most important concepts she learned here is “to imagine what a situation would look like if you introduced kindness.”

Randi Morrison 2Randi’s growth as an aerialist wasn’t always easy. She repeated the Introductory Aerial class until she had the strength and skill to progress to more advanced classes. As her skills grew, Randi had a hunger for progress that outpaced her once-weekly classes. She began taking private lessons twice a week, which eventually led to working with SANCA coaches Tyler and Carey to create a personal, two-week, intensive-training program.

Randi credits her coaches with helping her to work though physical, mental, and emotional challenges while providing a safe, happy space for her—a sanctuary from the stress of her medical work.

“What really excites me about SANCA is that they make this opportunity available to anybody regardless of financial circumstances,” says Randi. “I am so proud to tell people that ‘no one will be turned away’ from SANCA — that scholarships are available to any youth who wants to take circus classes. It’s important to me to ‘put my money where my mouth is’ by contributing to SANCA’s Youth Scholarship Fund.”

Circus is for everybody, Randi points out. She says she really enjoys being an older student (she took her first class when she was 44) because it shows there is no limit to age or ability. Everyone should take a chance and try circus, no matter what pre-imposed limits you think you have, your coaches will guide you to build new skills and experience success.

Randi says that building circus skills provides great lifelong benefits. Students at SANCA learn to be active, fearless, creative, and curious about the world.

SANCA’s Annual Spring Showcase – SASS!

SASS poster 2015 042915SANCA invites you to join us for SASS – SANCA’s Annual Spring Showcase,
May 15-17, 2015.

Every year SANCA presents a showcase of unique circus and variety performances featuring students, alumni, staff, and friends of SANCA. For one weekend only in May, we hold four shows, each featuring a different line up of spectacular local and internationally renowned circus performers alongside SANCA’s tremendously talented student performers. With festive musical accompaniment by Doc Sprinsock & the SANCApators, audiences will be treated to daring displays of acrobatics, high-flying aerials, rolling globe ensembles, juggling, and more!
Including performances by:
• Artists from SANCA’s Youth Performance Troupes:
Cirrus Circus,
Magnificent 7,
and the Amazing Circus 1-ders

Duo Straight Up performs at SANCA's Circus Festival in August 2014.

• Duo Straight Up – duo Chinese pole
• Tom Hanna & Kristen Petersen — duo trapeze
• IMPulse Circus Collective — juggling
• Marta Brown & Arne Bystrom – hand to hand
• Zora Blade – slack line
• Jasmine Manuel — tight wire
• Jeramie Hardi & Zach Homberg – Double Bounce (acro-trampoline)
• Sydney Petersen – aerial fabric
• Rachel Randall, Alyssa Hellrung, Sara Haverkamp, Megan Strawn, Kristen Petersen — A Little Sassy Something
And many more talented artists!

WHEN
May 15th – 17th, 2015
Friday 7pm; Saturday 3pm or 7pm; Sunday 3pm0453 Figments

TICKETS
IN ADVANCE: Youth (12 & under) $10.00 & Adults $15.00
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1265721 1-800-838-3006
AT THE DOOR: Youth (12 & under) $15.00 & Adults $20.00

Meet Amber, The Fatcrobat, SANCA’s hardest-working student

tumblr_inline_ni5hhgFxHT1r600ylWhen Amber Parker, a case manager with the UW Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute, first came to SANCA she expected to learn new things and get some exercise, but she never expected how rewarding it would be to join a community of supportive, enthusiastic people who would encourage her and help her discover abilities and interests she didn’t even know she had.

Amber was inspired to give adult circus classes a try because a friend in Colorado was learning aerial silks. From watching online videos, she thought it seemed like accessible activity for a heavier person. In her Aerial Fundamentals class, she realized that aerial silks were more difficult than she anticipated, but she found many other things that she could do that she hadn’t expected to be able to do. She discovered strength and flexibility that she didn’t know she had, and she fell in love with the Static Trapeze.

Many of the benefits of circus are measurable – she lost forty pounds, reduced her high blood pressure, and reduced her daily stress – but Amber says it’s the intangible benefits that really make the difference. She feels powerful and in control of her own body for the first time in her life. Her past eight months of taking circus classes has increased her self-efficacy and boosted her self-esteem.

tumblr_inline_ngyveb7U6h1r600ylAmber points out that her progress is measured and appreciated on its own merit, and at SANCA, she doesn’t feel compared to others. Every day she trains, she feels supported, encouraged, and acknowledged for her efforts. She credits her aerial coach, Leslie Rosen, and other SANCA instructors with making circus accessible by modifying exercises to accommodate the individual. Smaller, step-by-step progressions have made it possible for her to achieve more and build up to more advanced circus skills.

Amber wants others to know that “Circus is a great way to discover the full range of your own physical abilities. You are always put in a position to achieve success.”

You can follow Amber’s circus success on Tumblr – The Fatcrobat