Author Archives: Max Clabaut

Two young SANCA students are in need

We have recently discovered that two young SANCA students are in need.

Two teenage siblings who have been students with SANCA for about 4 years are in need of a home, due to family circumstances. While they are currently living with a friend, this arrangement will end in 8-10 days. Despite this situation, the teens are currently attending high school (virtually); they are committed to continuing study at SANCA (they play a leadership role within their group); and they are sweet, positive and enthusiastic. They are without family financial support, and have no relatives in the area.

We have contacted local nonprofit agencies, youth services organizations, and shelters, however they are unable to assist in the matter. The good news is that a loving SANCA family member has agreed to host these two students in their home indefinitely. Our hearts are encouraged by this, but there is still more to do.

While this unusual situation is not a direct part of SANCA’s “regular” mission, we feel that assisting these students is consistent with our values and important to our community. Therefore, we are promoting an opportunity to contribute to their cost of living, including costs associated with food, utilities, clothing, and other necessities. 100% of all donated funds will go directly to providing these two students with a safe and loving home. Donations are direct and not funneled through a non-profit, and therefore, are not tax deductible.

Donate here to support ongoing monthly living expenses.
If people would like to contribute directly to set-up costs for the students, those funds can be sent to the Paypal account of the host family ( or dropped at SANCA in the form of gift cards. These funds will support the host family directly so they can care for these students.
Helpful donations would be:
  • Visa/Mastercard/Amex gift cards (this is basically like handing us a credit card with limited funds)
  • Grocery gift cards (Safeway, Fred Meyer, and Trader Joe’s are all located close by)
  • Target, Amazon, and/or Walgreens gift cards (stores that carry general merchandise that may be needed).
  • Mid to large sized dressers (we need two – one for each teen’s bedroom).
  • Family room furniture (couches, futons, armchairs, television console table, storage stuff, small table for games, etc) – we’re building out our downstairs area into a lounge area for the kids, so they have a place to retreat to when they don’t want to hang out in the living room with us or be stuck in their bedrooms. We’re pretty open to anything that might work.
  • Board games, books, small electronics, and other items that they may enjoy for entertainment purposes.
From the host family: We’re super excited to have the kids joining us and beyond thankful for all of the support and well wishes we’ve received from the SANCA community.

If any of you wish to contribute but have questions, please feel free to email Executive Director John Tannous. Thank you for considering supporting these two phenomenal young people.

2021 SANCA Tent Hall Transcript

Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Watch the Event:

John Tannous, Executive Director
Tania Nambo-Escobar, IDEA Committee Chair, Coach
Adam Noble, Board Chair for Development Committee
Jeff Deveaux, Development Director
Octavia Graham, Director of Staff Success

John Tannous (JT): Welcome to our second-ever Tent Hall!
(Shares two videos)

Updates from the IDEA Committee

  • IDEA = Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Anti-Racism
  • Tania Nambo-Escobar Chairs the 15-member IDEA Committee

Tania: Since the last tent hall in August, the IDEA Committee has:

  • Developed and adopted a land acknowledgement for SANCA.
  • Created a goal-oriented Anti-Racist Strategic Plan for SANCA, including:
    • Aiding the Board in recruiting diverse Board members.
    • Adding a staff liaison position to the Board (Octavia Graham).
  • Subcommittee developed a selection process that included staff input.
  • Provided educational opportunities for staff and students, including:
    • Discussion groups led by Lilly Baumgart. The group reads and discusses literature during the meeting.
    • Power of Three social media posts to share resources (books, videos, & podcasts) that focus on anti-racism.
    • Black-Out Tuesday social media posts that focus on Black circus artists and other Black artists.
  • Thank you to Manjit Golden for her leadership as co-chair in 2020.

This year the IDEA Committee is:

  • Developing plans to have more forums.
  • Continuing our work to be transparent through the website and increased communication with our community. 

Development Team Update

Adam Noble, Board Committee Chair, Jeff Deveaux, Development Director

JT: The past year probably should have forced SANCA out of business, but we had unprecedented support from our community ― a record-breaking year in fundraising. I’d like to especially thank:

  • Our landlords Orcas Business Park helped SANCA with rent reductions and even rent-forgiveness during the spring closure.
  • King County and 4Culture provided multiple relief grants.

Adam: I’d also like to thank our Youth Troupe families past and present who have continued to support SANCA with volunteering and financial support.

Jeff: I’d like to thank several families who’ve been with SANCA since the beginning and who really helped us in 2020: the McClintock Family, the Forbes Family, The Taft Family, and the Cunningham & O’Leary Family.

JT: In 2020, we more than doubled contributed revenue! Why? What did we hear from the community?

Adam: I heard from several donors that they loved SANCA and felt it had contributed much to themselves or their families — in developing strength and confidence as well as being a fun place to learn cool things. They recognized that SANCA is valuable to our local community and culture and wanted to help make sure we are still there when this COVID crisis passes.  We are fortunate that we have a generous and wide SANCA family, and incredibly thankful for the continued support. In fact, we are very pleased that while the pandemic has changed SANCA in many ways, we are finally at a point where we are able to offer scholarships again and are back to where we are turning no one away who is in need.  That is exciting both because it is one of the tenets of SANCA’s mission, and also because based on the feedback we know how important SANCA can be to help manage the stress and improve the mental health of our extended circus family that is sorely needed right now.

Jeff: Many of our supporters have shared two things that really stand out to me. One is that they feel SANCA went above and beyond in our safety measures to address the pandemic and make sure that our students would be confident in their ability to safely continue circus classes under Public Health guidelines. The other is how many of our families dearly love their circus classes. They deeply appreciated SANCA’s quick pivot to online circus classes in the spring. They’ve even called it “sanity-saving” because it gave their kids fun activities to do, and for themselves, opportunities to get a “Circus-Strong” workout, release stress, and have moments of social connection with their other circus friends and classmates. Ultimately, that’s a testimony to SANCA’s wonderful coaches who take great care of their students, and that’s what I think inspired such strong support for SANCA in a very difficult year.

JT: Adam, I’d like to thank you for your leadership of the Development Committee and all the members of Development Committee who helped us in 2020. I’d also like to thank Jeff for his work as Development Director.

SANCA’s Financial Status & 2020 Annual Report

JT: Our 2020 Annual Report was published on our website today! It covers all areas of the school, and includes messages from our Board President and our Staff Directors, and our donor list.

JT: Back in November when Washington State shut down again, we wondered if we could survive with limited enrollment capacity. Then the fall appeal brought in more donations than we expected. In early January, 2021, we were approved for a second PPP loan/grant, a $209,500 forgivable federal loan, which really helped us start the year in a much better financial position. Now we are able to weather the pandemic through the end of 2021 even if we are under occupancy restrictions for the rest of the year.

Could we be at risk again? Yes if: 

  • If we have to close for a long period of time.
  • If we are not able to raise enough funds this year. Continued support is essential.

We are not budgeting for another year of record-breaking donations and grants. Our planning is in line with 2019-level contributed income. Right now SANCA has an operating reserve of almost $400,000 — the largest operating reserve we have ever had. We would like to hold on to that reserve through the end of 2021, because that is close to industry standard for a non-profit organization of our size. Our eventual goal for the reserve fund is $1M which is six months of operating expenses.

I also want to give an update about our gala fundraiser, Up with a Twist:

  • We are hoping to hold the gala later this year this year in late summer or early fall.
  • It may be virtual or in-person (outside), or we may postpone it entirely until 2022.
  • We’ll make a decision in the next two months, and we’ll also be reaching out to everyone who loves being a part of Twist, because your annual contributions are key to making it through the year.

HR & Staffing Update

Dr. Octavia Graham, Director of Staff Success

JT: Many of you have known Octavia from her role in the Front Office. We’ve recently promoted Octavia to be our Director of Staff Success, where she is part of our directors’ team and responsible for HR and staffing issues. Octavia, can you tell us about the impact of the pandemic on our staff?

Octavia: Early in pandemic, SANCA needed to streamline operations. We furloughed about 50% of our staff.

  • Many staff members left to secure more stable employment, including coaches, front office staff, and Integrated Circus Director Amber Parker.
  • Going into 2021, we are working on attracting and retaining a diverse and energetic staff. We just hired:
    • Two new front office administrative assistants.
    • A new camp coach.
  • We are also currently hiring for a flying trapeze coach to join our team in the tent.

We are working to create the kind of employment environment that allows staff to thrive and enjoy the work they are doing. The connection between coach and student is where the real magic at SANCA happens. We are:

  • Increasing the amount of staff training we provide.
  • Reworking the employee manual and compensation policies to give coaches a better living wage.
  • Actively reducing systemic biases in hiring practices; for example, we’re looking at where we are posting jobs, what can we change in terms of hiring requirements, and how we reach more diverse populations with employment opportunities.

Community Q&A

 Annie Drummond

  • Votes for Up with a Twist outside.
  • Glad to hear about the focus on coaches, including efforts to provide a living wage.

Q: Is there any thought about having a program that is an internship for students who would like to be teachers/coaches?

A: We have had several coaches who grew up with SANCA as students, like Julaine Hall, who is on the call tonight. We’re also exploring the merits of hiring interns to support other functions like Marketing. A coaching internship is a great idea that I’ll take to Tom and Max to discuss.

Michelle Harvey, Orcas Business Park
Q: How is the new space configuration working out for SANCA and students?

A: In some ways, the more room we have to spread out and do circus, the more we can do. The reduced footprint is a little more cramped; but, before the move, we were not really maximizing our space and using it efficiently. Even before the pandemic, we had thoughts about better space use. We are not losing any circus disciplines with less space. Once we are back to full operations, we will still be able to comfortably fit in this space. Some students really like the smaller space because they get to see disciplines being practiced that they haven’t been able to watch before because they were in the other room; for example, tumbling classes can now observe the trampoline classes, and that might even inspire them to sign up for another class.

David Drummond
Q: What about changing areas and parental viewing?

A: Parent viewing will move downstairs and possibly to the blue or green room in South Annex. We’ll be able to create a smaller viewing space, but this won’t happen until we’re after pandemic occupancy restrictions.

Dylan Forbes
Q: Where is the high wire? That’s a valuable apparatus for students who have that focus.

A: It is temporarily put away. Some of our specialty classes, like tightwire, are not seeing many enrollments during the pandemic, but we can bring it out and set it up when we need it. We do have the space.

Announcement – February 10, 2021

Dear SANCA Family,

We were alerted today that individuals who were at SANCA have tested positive for COVID. The individuals were at SANCA on Sunday afternoon, February 7, 2021.

Our team has contacted all the people who were in the building during that time. The email includes instruction from King County Public Health.

When we learned the news, we quickly assessed which staff and students were in the building on Sunday. I contacted King County Public Health (KCPH). We are following their guidance and also going a little further to be safe. KCPH asked us to report the cases to them and notify all close contacts and advise them to quarantine. I asked if we should close the school temporarily and they said no.
However, a handful of our coaches are now in quarantine, so an attempt to keep classes and camps running over the next couple of weeks would be nearly impossible. Most classes would have to be canceled anyway, and Mid Winter Camp could not be held, simply because we will have too many coaches in quarantine.
As a result, we are cancelling classes and camps from today through February 19, 2021. While not required in terms of reducing the spread of COVID, it certainly is the safest route.
For our coaches and students who were not in the building on Sunday (and did not receive an individual email about it), we will remain open for training and private lessons.

We will have more information in tomorrow’s newsletter. Please be patient with us, as our first priority right now is contact tracing and safety.

With love,
John ‘JT’ Tannous
Executive Director

Marketing/Communication Volunteer

Marketing/Communication Volunteer
School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts
Reports to: Artistic Director
Description: SANCA is seeking an experienced Marketing and Communication volunteer to assist with social media management and light graphic design tasks. Responsibilities include content writing, newsletter creation, social media posting, and additional tasks as needed. Approximately 10 hours per week (negotiable).
This is a volunteer position. Applicants will not receive financial compensation!
Job Duties and Responsibilities:
– Social media management
– Content writing
– Newsletter creation
– Graphic design
– Database management
– Other tasks as assigned
The ideal candidate would
– Have a passion for social media
– Experience with graphic design
– Deep knowledge of current social media platforms and best practices
Minimum requirements are:
– Experience with social media and/or graphic design
– Hard-working demeanor
– Ability to work solo or with a team
Apply via SANCA’s Facebook page at
SANCA is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization and an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Hiring: Flying Trapeze Coaches

Flying Trapeze Coach!

Reports to: School of Flight Directors

Description: A flying trapeze coach is responsible for teaching recreational flying trapeze as part of a three-coach team to students aged 4 and up. Currently, these classes are session-based but may revert to single-serving classes as COVID restrictions ease. Regardless, coaches must be able to quickly engage with each student, evaluate his or her individual level, and set out a personalized plan to help progress toward their goals. Your job is to create a fun and friendly environment that fosters a feeling of success and safety in the face of physical and psychological challenges. This is a part/full-time position, depending on the additional coaching skills of the new employee. 

Job Duties and Responsibilities:

– Working all positions on the fly rig: platform, safety lines, catching

– Uphold the highest standards of professional conduct with students, staff, and families

– Support and share SANCA’s Mission and Vision in speaking with students and parents

– Maintain a safe environment for the student, physically and emotionally

– Attend and participate in coach training and meetings

– Maintain equipment including mats, belts, safety gear, and any other equipment used for classes

– Immediately report any unsafe, damaged, or lost equipment to the School of Flight directors

– Set up and break down class space as required by the schedule and weather

– Willingness and flexibility to create success in a class environment with varying levels of skill

– Communicate and enforce SANCA’s COVID protocols


The ideal candidate would

– Have a passion for flying trapeze and a desire to share that passion with students of all levels and abilities

– Have experience teaching flying trapeze to both children and adults in a recreational setting

– Show initiative

– Show good class management skills

– Be able to catch (not required)

 The minimum requirements are:

– A year of experience working with youth

– Working knowledge of circus skills

– Pass a background check

– Patience and ability to deal with stressful situations

To apply, please send a resume to

You’re Invited! – SANCA’s 2021 Virtual Tent Hall

Please join us on
February 23 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
for SANCA’s 2021 Virtual Circus Tent Hall
You’re invited to join us on SANCA’s Zoom for a Tent Hall event on Tuesday, February 23rd at 7:00 p.m. We’re gathering our community of supporters to share a few highlights from 2020 and talk about what’s coming up in 2021. This brief community meeting will include:
  • A Welcome from John Tannous, SANCA’s Executive Director
  • New performances from members of SANCA’s Youth Performance Troupes
  • Our progress on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Anti-Racism with updates from SANCA’s IDEA Committee
  • Some notable highlights from 2020
  • An update on SANCA’s financial status
  • The outlook for 2021 and what’s next
  • Community Q&A
RSVP to to be sent a link a few hours before the event!
The link for the Tent Hall will be emailed to you on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 23rd, a few hours before the event. For questions about this event, contact SANCA’s Development Director, Jeff Deveaux at

SANCA is hiring – Circus Camp Coach

Circus Camp Coach
School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts
Reports to: Camp Manager
The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) is looking for energetic and enthusiastic circus coaches for circus camp. Camps run Monday – Friday, 9am-3pm. All hired coaches will be trained to coach to SANCA’s standards of safety and skill progressions. 
Description: SANCA’s Camp Program provides a fun, engaging, and safe experience for children between ages 6 and 17, with camps grouped by age into 6-9 years old and 10-17 years old. Coaches will instruct campers in trampoline, tumbling, aerial rope and silk, static trapeze, partner acro, juggling, and other circus skills. Coaches will help to create an exciting and fun experience that includes teamwork, a positive atmosphere, and the joy of circus, helping campers through the challenge of learning new things by breaking difficult or complex skills down into steps, and helping their students feel successful, whatever their rate of progression. 
Camp coaches are part-time, with hours ranging from 18 to 33 hours per week.
Job Duties and Responsibilities:
– Present a warm and welcoming demeanor towards campers and parents, and engage with their campers in a fun and constructive manner
– Maintain a safe environment for the student, physically and emotionally
– Supervise and instruct campers in a variety of circus skills and apparatuses, as assigned by SANCA’s camp manager
– Work cooperatively alongside other coaches and communicate effectively with the camp manager
– Provide motivational support and guidance to campers
– Uphold SANCA’s mission at all times (SANCA is dedicated to improving 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. 
– SANCA provides quality instruction in unique physical arts in a safe, supportive, nurturing environment that provides both challenge and reward to the student.)
– Be present and ready to greet campers 15 minutes before camp starts and work with other coaches to clean up camp areas after camp ends (this is paid time)
– Help campers develop social skills during snack, lunch, and other ‘down’ time
– Assist younger campers with an art project
– Supervise campers effectively and safely while in the flying trapeze tent
– Communicate and enforce SANCA’s COVID protocols
The ideal candidate would have
– Working knowledge in movement based activities, especially circus or gymnastics, and willingness to learn additional
  movements and skills required 
– Experience working with children
– Ability to lift equipment and to spot students where appropriate
– Ability to motivate and effectively communicate with co-workers, parents and students
– Exercises mature judgment and sound decision-making
– Demonstrates enthusiastic attitude and positive demeanor
Minimum requirements are:
– Pass a background check
Email resume to: Program Director, Tom Hanna at
SANCA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

SANCA is hiring 

Administrative Assistant

School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts

Reports to: Director of Student Services
Description: The Administrative Assistant (AA) is a member of the Office Staff and responsible for providing
administrative and office support to the Office Manager. The AA position is currently part-time and hours will
fluctuate depending on specific events occurring within the organization.  Hours currently estimated at 15-20 hours per week.
Job Duties and Responsibilities:
– Responsible for daily office operations and must be knowledgeable about SANCA’s programs and policies 
– Interacts with students, parents, vendors and visitors and show new students/families around the gym
– Responsible for answering phone, voice mail, and email inquiries about SANCA and transfer to appropriate 
  staff member when necessary
– Responsible for registering students for classes and/or assisting students to register themselves
– Open, sort and distribute incoming correspondence, including faxes and email; sign for and distribute UPS/
  FedEx or similarly delivered packages.
– Perform general clerical duties to include, but not limited to, data entry, copying, faxing, mailing and filing.
– Create and modify documents using word processing, spreadsheet, database and/or other presentation software 
– Help maintain inventory of office equipment and supplies
– May supervise volunteers and other support personnel
– Assist with special events, such as fundraising activities and productions
– Assist with overall maintenance of the organization and its offices
– Maintain student database
– Attendance: Record attendance during check-in, Follow-up with no-shows
– Inform students/families who are ready to advance
– Flying Trapeze Registration: Communicate with FT Director regarding changes/updates, Manage class closures
– Various projects and tasks as assigned
The ideal candidate would have the
– Ability to operate standard office equipment, including but not limited to, computers, telephone systems, 
  calculators, copiers and facsimile machines.
– Good writing, analytical and problem-solving skills.
– Knowledge of principles & practices of organization, planning, records management & general administration.
– Ability to communicate effectively and professionally
– Ability to follow oral and written instructions.
– Ability to work well alone and as part of a team
-Familiarity with Google Suite


SANCA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Previous administrative experience preferred.

Compensation: $17/hr

To apply, a resume and cover letter should be sent to

COVID FAQ: January 6, 2021

FAQ: How is SANCA Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Dated: January 6, 2021 (new text is in RED)

Yesterday, Governor Jay Inslee announced that SANCA can reopen beginning January 12, 2021, based on new Healthy Washington guidelines. 

When will SANCA start offering classes again?

In order to give students time to enroll, SANCA will open classes beginning Sunday, January 17, 2021. Classes will be offered in a four-week session. Students must enroll in all four weeks of a class. Please see our updated COVID Policy page for details about how we are complying with state COVID guidelines. 

When can we enroll in Winter Session classes?

SANCA will open enrollment beginning Friday, January 8, at 10:00 A.M. Students can enroll online at or by calling (206) 652-4433. This four-week session will run from January 17 through February 13, 2021. Online classes will continue to be available throughout.

Will SANCA survive this latest closure and the uncertain future?

Despite the many challenges the pandemic and closures have caused SANCA, the short answer is YES, we will survive. In 2020, the SANCA community has stepped up generously with record-breaking levels of giving. Individual giving has doubled from 2019 levels ($184,109) to nearly $400,000 this year. Overall, contributed income – which includes COVID relief grants, foundation giving, employer matches, and the federal government’s PPP loan (forgiven) – has reached nearly $1 million. That’s up from $466,088 in 2019. 

This is incredible! SANCA’s supporters and students – all of YOU – have made it possible for SANCA to survive the pandemic’s closures and reduced operations. Not only is SANCA able to survive to now, it has built a reserve that will help us weather the storm even if pandemic restrictions continue for all of 2021. We are so grateful for this generous, loving community!

We still have work to do, though. SANCA’s earned revenue losses exceed $900,000 in total, and will likely continue to grow. So the overall losses are greater than the increased giving, but we have also done everything we can to reduce and eliminate expenses. SANCA will end 2020, somewhat miraculously, with a surplus.

SANCA still needs your help. Our Fall Appeal is ongoing through December 31. Your gift before the end of the year will support SANCA in this time of need, help us continue to offer online classes and limited in-person classes (when permitted and safe), provide scholarships to low-income youth, and support our incredible staff. You can support circus classes for our community at

Since this last update, our year-end appeal has continued this level of success as SANCA supporters like you helped us reach a $15,000 match. We also have been approved for a grant from the State of Washington specifically for COVID relief of $12,500. We will have final numbers on all 2020 giving later in the winter.

What is the plan for the Up With a Twist event?

SANCA’s big glamorous fundraiser usually occurs in February each year. The 2020 event was a huge hit! Due to the pandemic, Twist is postponed to late summer or early fall 2021. SANCA leadership is waiting until later in the Winter or early Spring to make a determination if the event will be held in-person like always, or if it will be conducted as an online streaming show. 

What safety measures are in place when the gym reopens?

To ensure the safety of our students, staff, and surrounding community, and in consideration of public health, SANCA has developed and continually updated new policies and procedures in regards to sanitation and social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Masks are required. No one will be admitted to SANCA without a mask that covers the nose and mouth. Masks must be worn inside the facility, even when working out.

Learn about all of SANCA’s safety procedures during the COVID pandemic.

What else is SANCA doing to recover lost revenue?

SANCA’s leadership has been incredibly busy, even during full closures, as they seek out and apply for relief grants and other means of support. We have monitored and applied for just about every available avenue of support and relief funding, including the State of Washington’s recent offering to support restaurants and fitness centers shutdown by the recent closure.

If you are aware of other sources of support that SANCA should approach, please let us know by emailing Development Director Jeff Deveaux at

If you have additional questions about SANCA’s financial status or wish to see financial reports, please contact Executive Director John Tannous at

Dated: January 6, 2021. This FAQ will be updated regularly.