Executive Director Job Search

Dear friends of SANCA,

Good news!  The ED job search posting was released on October 1st.  Now we need to get the word out!  Please take a few minutes to pass the posting (link below) on to anyone in your network that may be interested or able to forward the announcement on to others. Applications for the position will close October 31st.

website: https://sancaseattle.org/about/who-we-are/join-us/

Thanks for your continued support,

SANCA Board

A Message from the Board of Directors

To all SANCA Staff, Students, and Supporters:

Kristina Wicke has stepped down as Executive Director of SANCA to focus on family life, following the recent passing of her mother.

On behalf of SANCA’s Board of Directors, we are saddened at her departure, and want to thank Kristina for her dedication and leadership. As SANCA Executive Director (ED) for the two and one-half years, she worked tirelessly to advocate for circus as an art form locally, nationally, and internationally. During her tenure she strengthened SANCA’s partnership with Cirque du Soleil – including hosting two-week national Social Circus trainings taught by Cirque professionals at SANCA – that set the stage for further trainings and collaborations. Kristina also helped forge new relationships with Kaiser Permanente and the Special Olympics, and led a team of SANCA’s Social Circus coaches at the 2017 Circus Folk Arts Festival on the National Mall. Before that, she served as a dedicated Board member, volunteer, and leader. Kristina is working with the SANCA Board of Directors to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.

The Board decided to engage an Interim ED, someone who will assist in the search for a permanent ED and who will help us prepare SANCA for that new leadership. We interviewed several excellent candidates for an Interim ED, and one has been chosen. It is my pleasure to welcome Dan Bridge as the Interim ED of SANCA.

Dan will:
• Supervise staff and building operations to ensure that SANCA maintains its daily activities and good work.
• Help staff and Board assess and strengthen organizational structures and processes.
• Work with stakeholders to finalize a strategic plan.
• Advise and participate in the process of hiring a permanent ED.

The Board has hired Dan solely on an interim basis; he will not be a candidate for the permanent position. The permanent ED search will include the creation of a search committee and will involve a national call for applicants. Board, staff, and the SANCA community will be represented in the process, one expected to take several months.

Dan has strong experience in leading organizations in similar transition. He served as the Interim ED of Seattle Audubon Society, Eastside Baby Corner, Hearing Speech & Deaf Center, Austin Foundation, and Northwest Girlchoir. In addition, he was the long-time Executive Director/Rabbi at Hillel, Foundation for Jewish Life, at the University of Washington.

His education includes both a BA and a BS from the University of Washington and an MHL and Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew Union College. Not only all of that, but Dan is a SANCA student!

Although his start date is May 1, 2019, Dan is already beginning to meet with staff and community members. We hope you will be able to meet him soon – we are counting on your engagement to help move SANCA into the future we all welcome.

Sincerely,


Bruce A. Ritzen, SANCA Board President

Circus Fun without Funds for Furloughed Friends

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22nd, 2019

Circus Fun without Funds for Furloughed Friends

SEATTLE, WA – The School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts (SANCA) is pleased to announce the opportunity for Federal Employees to enroll at no cost in a SANCA Winter Session class. A furloughed federal employee and/or an immediate family member(s) may enroll in classes with space available, provided any class-specific pre-requisites are met.

SANCA provides quality instruction in unique physical arts in a safe, supportive, nurturing environment that provides both challenge and reward to the student. We offer classes for kids of ALL ages, from 2-adult. Circus Arts include acrobatics, trampoline, juggling, tumbling, unicycle, tightwire, aerial arts, and rolling globe balancing.

SANCA will waive the enrollment costs (tuition and registration fee) for these Winter Session classes. We will extend our enrollment period for furloughed employees and their families until February 2nd at 5pm. This offer is for students not yet enrolled in our Winter Session. Enrollment in our one-time Intro to Circus classes and weekly Winter Session classes is available, but you must sign up by February 2nd. Flying Trapeze classes are excluded.

Visit our class schedule https://www.sancaseattle.org/classes/ to see which classes are not yet full, and then call our front office at 206-652-4433 to enroll. On the first day of class please bring your Federal Employee ID or furlough notice and state ID with you to SANCA. Waivers must be completed prior to class for all students: https://sancaseattle.org/classes/waiver-student-information-form/

This a first come first serve opportunity

ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF ACROBATICS & NEW CIRCUS ARTS
SANCA is the largest circus school in the United States, recognized nationally as a leader in youth circus arts education, safety, and instructor training. The school is located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, an area with limited access to arts and cultural opportunities, especially for children. Founded in 2004 with five students, more than 1,000 students now take classes at SANCA every week.

SANCA offers experiences that are physically challenging, socially enriching, and teach physical literacy to people of all ages. SANCA’s services to the community include recreational classes and day camps to provide youth with a safe, social, constructive environment for physical arts. Our programs broaden community engagement, reach diverse audiences, and encourage participation in the arts. SANCA’s programs for youth reach those with the least access and opportunity to participate in healthy, creative, physical activities.

SANCA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Established in the heart of Georgetown in 2004, we serve youth and families with a highly innovative array of circus programs. SANCA’s mission is to improve the mental, emotional, and physical health of children of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities by engaging them in the joyous creativity of acrobatics and circus arts.

674 S. Orcas St. Seattle, WA 98108 206-652-4433 www.sancaseattle.org office@sancaseattle.org

Meet the new coaches of the Transformational Women’s Circus

As we close in on the new year, our social circus staff have been hard at work creating a new curriculum for the Transformational Women’s Circus! Transformational Women’s Circus (TWC) is an integrative social circus program which incorporates circus arts, drama therapy and therapeutic group process to support the personal growth of students who wish to explore their physical and mental health in a supportive, creative, safe group environment. Students in the TWC program will meet for 21 classes, once a week for three hours over a 24 week period and engage in trauma informed group work and circus arts training, with a creative culminating event at the end of the quarter. TWC is rooted in social circus and focuses on self awareness, self esteem building, creative expression, and exploring personal story.
 
For TWC 2019, creator and lead facilitator Amber Parker is working with new TWC staff to plan for creative, expressive, and fun new activities for the group, such as mask making, mixed media collage, clowning, and yoga flow. Please meet our TWC staff, all of whom are excited to start making magic in the new year!
 
Sarah Wells: Stage Manager, Arts Facilitator 

Sarah Wells-Ikeda is a creatrix, community-builder, and connecting force. Her passionate pursuit of life and learning has recently landed her in Seattle after a decade in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was initially introduced to circus and clown during her years with the neo-vaudevillian trickster brigade Fou Fou Ha! Born into the world deeply connected to nature and spirit, Sarah has chased her dreams and passions to create an ever-unfolding life full of meaning and magic. She holds a M.A. from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology focused on women’s connection to spirituality through the body, with a specialization in creative expression.

She is deeply excited to expand her life’s work and service through the social circus coaching role at SANCA, and as the production manager and creative co-facilitator of the Transformational Women’s Circus. She believes in the inherent power of women and girls, connected to source through our bodies, lived experiences and inner wisdom. She looks forward to supporting the TWC through forging meaningful connections, imbuing life with the sacred, facilitating play as spiritual practice, and leading a vast array of creative expression modalities, helping the participants to identify strengths, build community, and thrive.  

Emma Curtiss: Circus Coach, Body Worker 

Emma Curtis discovered Circus in 2009 after seeing a moving performance by two local trapeze artists. Inspired by their emotional performance, she felt compelled to explore the world of circus, despite the fact that she was not a physical person at the time. Over the next few years she discovered pieces of herself that had been hidden for most of her life and through constant physical and emotional challenges, emerged with the renewed purpose that performing and teaching Circus was her true calling. She has performed with various companies and developed her own performance troupe, IMPulse Circus Collective, where she was able to develop shows with like-minded artists who shared her passion for creation. Currently she is a coach at SANCA where she continues to groom new skills and projects for herself as well as her students. Her disciplines include Aerial Silks, Aerial Hoop, Cyr Wheel, Fan Juggling and a general enthusiasm for all things Circus.

Amber Parker: Lead Facilitator, Group Therapist 

Amber Parker is SANCA’s Social Circus Clinical Coordinator and the creator and lead facilitator for the Transformational Women’s Circus Project. Amber is a therapeutic circus coach and circus artist at The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts, a Master’s in Couple and Family Therapy Candidate and Master’s in Drama Therapy, and she is currently a clinician with the Child, Youth and Family program at Navos, a community mental health agency based in Southwest King County. Amber specializes in working with women and children in recovery from trauma and is currently adapting social circus as a trauma informed creative arts therapy for adults through the Transformational Women’s Circus Project. Amber has presented her work at the 2016 American Circus Educators Conference, at The Smithsonian’s 2017 Folk Life Festival, and has been published in American Circus Educators Magazine and Seattle Magazine. Amber has over 14 years of experience as a counselor, facilitator, and trauma worker, and she has advanced training and education in Motivational Interviewing, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Child Centered Play Therapy, Drama Therapy, Psychodrama, and Clinical Psychotherapy.

SANCAFEST Spotlight: Beth Baker

When it comes to being a top banana in SANCAFEST, SANCA’s new Board Member and longtime student, Beth Baker, sure knows a thing or two! She has been a student since the very early days in the fly tent, and Beth is consistently one of our top SANCAFEST participants, raising $1,000 every year for the youth scholarship fund.

I feel that my success in fundraising is due to persistence. I post on Facebook often, and give my Facebook friends and family interesting tidbits about where and how their donations help at SANCA. I like to send out reminder emails as well. I target those who have donated in previous years, and also try to expand my email list with new possible donors every year. If it is coming down to the wire, a simple giveaway, like a favorite recipe, can help. It can aid in making the decision for those donors on the fence. Lastly, posting fun videos, GIFs, or pictures periodically, with your donation link, show your Facebook community what you do at SANCA and gives them an idea of what they are helping support. Personalization is key!

Beth, do you remember how you first heard about SANCA?

On Living Social actually, back when that was popular. I moved to the Seattle area, from upstate New York, in the summer of 2005 after my husband and I had both graduated college. I didn’t know anyone out here, and most of my new coworkers were much older than I was, so it wasn’t easy to make friends.

Back in high school, I used to dance, do musical theatre, and color guard. I had mentioned to my husband about wanting to get back into a creative activity like that. He came across a two-hour flying trapeze class on Living Social, and thought it might be the perfect fit for me. I brought a friend with me to my first class, but she got too freaked out to try it. She did the warm up but wouldn’t climb up to the platform. I was scared to death the whole time, but pushed myself, thought it was fun, and couldn’t wait to try it again.

It was about six months later when I returned with a different friend, and she loved it as much as I did. We came back together monthly until we got into harder tricks, and then started coming twice a month because we needed more practice.

Eventually, she couldn’t come as often, so I had to step out of my comfort zone enough to say, ‘Ok, I love doing this, I’m just going to come by myself,’ and slowly started meeting people in the tent and making friends with other regular flyers.

Then I began taking classes inside, starting with trampoline class, which I totally hated. After that, I found the aerial program and took classes with Coach Alyssa for static trapeze, and I’ve been doing that for about six years (minus two hiatuses to have my kids).

What is it you like about flying?

Flying Trapeze is really about getting out of your comfort zone, embracing the fear, and challenging yourself. Once you finally get comfortable with a trick or skill, you switch it up to learn something new, and have to go through the whole getting comfortable and confident process all over again. It’s a new experience every single class.

I’ve never been an athletic person. I love the work out and mental and physical challenges of wanting to be better at something. The community we have in the fly tent is really encouraging. We push each other to do our best and to do the things that scare us when it comes to flying.

One of the first circuses I ever went to was Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus, when I was six or seven. It was such a great spectacle to witness. It’s something that you have a hard time wrapping your mind around, where do people go to learn all of these amazing things? It’s so great to see how recreational circus has exploded in the last few years and how more and more people can run away with the circus in their own way. It’s such a cool, unique, and different activity to be a part of. It’s very exhilarating, and it’s very challenging in the best ways.

Now that you are a mom, have you done any baby and me classes?

Beth & her son Jett Baker

When my older son, Jett, turned two I couldn’t wait to start taking him to the baby and me classes. We did that class together for almost a year. Now, he’s graduated to Tot Circus 1 and has been in that class for almost a year. As soon as Bennett, my younger son, turns 2 we’ll start taking the baby and me classes together. I’m so excited to share SANCA and all the circus fun with both my boys.

Jett is also dying to try Flying Trapeze. When he turns four in November, I’ll be taking him to the fly tent for Pay-Per-Flight so he can get started!

What do you hope your sons will get out of taking circus classes?

Right now? Patience and listening. Jett, compared to his younger brother, is my wild child. Bennett is so easy going and chill. With Jett, it’s about harnessing all this exuberant energy he has. It is my hope that directing his enthusiasm into a movement based, creative, and challenging activity will turn into something positive for him as he grows.

It’s great to be able to expose them to classmates and coaches from all different backgrounds and lifestyles. It’s this kind of positive exposure that all our children need to grow up to be kind, respectful, and loving human beings.

I also love that I am able to introduce them to the arts at a young age. As an graphic artist myself, I like giving them the opportunity to try out different creative avenues and find different ways to move their bodies and express themselves.

It is my hope, that they will want to stick with circus as they grow, and that they find their niche and passion in it.

What drew you to want to be on SANCA’s board? Are you on any other boards?

This is the first time I’ve ever been on an executive board, though I’ve been involved with other non-profits, in the past, as an active volunteer. In college, I was also in a co-ed, national honor fraternity where we volunteered with our college, non-profits, and local community.

I love how inclusive SANCA is. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what your background or ability is, there is always something you can do or try. It’s a very creative and social environment, whether you’re a kid or an adult. I also appreciate all of the ebc and outreach programs that work with youth with different abilities. I know so many parents who have kids on the spectrum and are differently abled that could/would benefit from the programs and coaches here.

For me, as a work at home mom, I come to SANCA by myself to have my personal time, away from kids, a few hours a week. It’s my outlet, my relaxing time; I choose to be here and to be involved in any way I can.

So, how does she do it? Check Out Beth’s Recipe for SANCAFEST Success:

  1. If you have participated in SANCAFEST in the past, the best way to begin a new SANCAFEST fundraiser is to reach out with periodic targeted emails to donors who have given before.
    Share ongoing information about the impact of their gift and what it means to you.
  2. Offer to give away something simple. (You could do a recipe like Beth’s example, or even offer to do a trick. Coach Faye last year offered to sing any song of the donor’s choice while upside down and Programs Assistant Veronica has offered to try any apparatus of the donor’s choice).
  3. Make it fun! Share fun GIFs, videos, and pictures. You can even live stream your a-thon events and people can donate directly to your live stream!
  4. Be sure to thank your donors! Giving a public Facebook shoutout not only is a nice thing to do, but it will also give your donors warm, fuzzy feelings so they will be more likely to donate to you and SANCA again in the future.
  5. You can check out Beth’s Facebook fundraising page here.

Thanks, Beth, we’re so happy that you are a part of our circus!

Pregnancy and First Time Motherhood as a Professional Circus Performer

How becoming a mother changed one circus artist’s perspective on performing

You may know Wendy Harden from her mystifying A Unicycle Built for Two duo act with her husband, Nick, or as one of the incredible coaches of Cirrus Circus. Recently she added mother to her list of identities (coach, circus performer to name two). She sat down with us to talk about what it’s like to be a circus performer while pregnant and then being a new mom, and how that experience has changed her outlook on performing.

A Unicycle Built for Two (Nick & Wendy Harden)

What was it like performing and touring before having a child?

Wendy: Before Felix, Nick and I would have 4 or 5 hours every day to train and everything was geared towards a performance in our act. After Felix, we train about 45-60 minutes a few times a week. So our training times have really decreased. Luckily, we are at a spot where it’s pretty easy to maintain our unicycle act. So, instead of putting a lot of time into new skills and act creation, we’re putting a lot of time into healthy bodies and maintenance.

Has your performance changed since you had Felix?

Wendy: We’re putting a lot more time into solo acts so that I can work out and Nick can take care of Felix, or Nick can work out and I can take care of Felix.

What was it like training while being pregnant?

Wendy: Being pregnant and training was strange and very hard. You are essentially going through a sped up puberty and everything is changing almost daily. I feel like in regular life if you keep your output the same, you’ll get stronger. But it was clear that if I did the same workout every day it was just going to get harder and harder. It was weird to have your body change so much on you. Especially for me since I came into circus with my adult body, I never did circus through puberty or any growth spurts.

But logistically being a pregnant circus performer worked out fine because we still had a contract, and Marta Brown [former SANCA Coach] was able to step in and do my role with Nick. This was really great, so he could keep performing and keep the contract, and I could be pregnant.

Did you feel at all sad when Martha took your spot in performing with Nick?

Wendy: Not really. I didn’t because my pregnancy was something I really wanted. If it had been an injury and I had been replaced, my feelings would have been different. But because it was something I was fine and it was great that Nick could keep performing.

How did your obstetrician respond when they found out that you are in the circus for a living?

Wendy: The first doctor I went to said, “you can just continue your normal activity until about 5-6 months.” I’m like, “that makes me feel uncomfortable because you don’t totally understand what I do. I’m doing stomach slides on a Chinese pole.”

I tried to explain it to her, but she couldn’t really understand it. I didn’t end up going back to that first doctor that we saw, but I felt pretty in tuned with what I could and couldn’t do. Nick and I made the call that I wouldn’t be performing after 5-6 months pregnant, and that was the right call. It would have made his job very hard, if we were still performing then.

How so?

Wendy: Just because the balance is way off! I couldn’t be tight and standing on his head when I have fifteen pounds of weight sticking out. It is so much different than when my center of gravity is actually inside my body, and every week my center of gravity was growing and changing and getting farther out.

How is performing different now that you are a family of three?

Wendy: The actual running of our act is such a small part of doing shows. Getting on stage and performing is the easy part, life all around the performance is the harder part. Making sure Felix is fed, then putting on makeup, then putting Felix down for a nap, then getting in costume and making sure Felix doesn’t spit up or rub avocado all over my costume. Oh, and not forgetting to warm up or take my glasses off before I go onstage. It’s much less focused on us. And also, it makes the stage time feel even more special because it’s just Nick and I and it feels like before we had kids. We are giving all of our attention to one another and that feels really special.

What is it like to be a coach and a mom?

Wendy: SANCA is a really great place to have kids. It’s a really baby friendly place. People are always willing to pick him up and watch him so I can train. I’m really grateful that I don’t have to put him in daycare for nine hours a day to do what I want to do.

Is that the same for the circus community at large?

Wendy: Yes, there is always someone backstage who will hold him while we go and do our act. And everyone we’ve come across is more than delighted to have him backstage with us.

Do you think you’ll be able to keep the same lifestyle as he gets older?

Wendy: This is something Nick and I think a lot about but don’t have a clear pathway yet. Our goal right now is to continue to perform. I think we will know what the right choice will be as we get there. We have thought of a lot of options anything between travel and homeschool to regular school and just performing during the summers.

Are there other performing parents you’ve been able to talk to?

Wendy: Yeah. There are the Gentiles who perform with their kids and homeschool them and then there are people who work at Teatro ZinZanni and have their kids in regular school and just drive to work. We also know some people who just travel during the summer, so I think there aew examples of every different kind of situation.

Have any of your plans changed since you were pregnant? Is there anything that has come up in actually having the baby with you that you didn’t plan for?

Wendy: Our plan has always been to perform as long as we can and want, and that hasn’t changed. There is just a new set of challenges and things to consider. Being a mom is way more fun than I thought it would be! I feel so connected to another person in a way that I have never felt before. I’m not religious at all, but this is a very spiritual journey.

Whenever we do shows and tent set ups and I have to set up with him strapped to my back, it makes me feel strong and powerful, like I have this strange mom-power that lets me do anything. Training is definitely harder. It’s pretty surprising to me how little we train and can still keep everything up and improve. We are just really focused.

What do you think Felix will get out of growing up in the circus?

Wendy: It feels like he will grow up in a world where he feels safe and he knows that people love him. Also, hopefully, he’ll just know that the world is a really creative and playful place. You know, I try not to have too many high hopes about him being an acrobat, or when he’s going to join the unicycle act because I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on him. But I’m sure he will develop some sort of athletic skill, just hanging out in a place like this. Since he’s started crawling and standing, it’s been really nice that we have a big, soft place to bring him to and let him play.

Has having a kid changed your coaching at all?

Wendy: Yes, I take much more note of the tots the come in here and wonder what it will be like when Felix is that age. My favorite thing about bringing Felix in is to see Cirrus (and other kids) connect with him. A lot of them don’t spend time with babies and it’s been fun to watch them watch Felix grow. Some of them have really bonded with him. Felix goes to all the gigs and just hangs out backstage with the kids. They take turns holding him and making sure he doesn’t put anything dangerous in his mouth. That’s been a really sweet thing to watch.

Another thing that has changed is the amount of social time I have at SANCA. Before I was able to come in and spend most of the day training and chatting to community members. Now, I come in and often only have an hour to get my workout in and so I spend that time training rather than chatting. And sometimes I miss the casual feel of spending hours at SANCA.

I love what you said about teaching Felix that the world is a creative and fun place. I feel like in general that’s not what we really teach kids – we tend to grind the creativity out of them.

Wendy: Yeah. But that is one of my goals as a parent is just to keep this bubble of love around him for as long as possible, and SANCA is a great place to do that. Even moms that come in and people I don’t know are like “Oh, do you want me to hold him? Do you need a hand?”

Anything else you want to add?

Wendy: [Having a kid] has really realigned my priorities. I used to feel a lot more pressure with performing. My day would be terrible or great depending on how I felt the show went. Now that that isn’t my only priority, so I feel like there is a little bit more freedom. I feel like my value isn’t just in how well I perform on stage, but how present I am for Felix and Nick.

Be on the lookout for more stories in our parenthood series.

If you are a parent in the circus, or you just have a circus story to share, we would love to hear from you

 

The Circus Doc Created a Book for Aerialists

Our very own resident physical therapist, Emily Scherb, has written the first ever aerial anatomy book: Applied Anatomy for Aerial Artists, published by North Atlantic Books. You can get a your copy early at the book launch August 21 at Third Place Books Ravenna.

Emily shares how she convinced the publishing world that the circus community is a thing and that we need anatomy books! No one else has really laid out the physicality of the work we’re doing, so she took it upon herself to prevent injuries and help us all become better students, instructors, and performers.

How did you originally get into circus?
Emily: Well, I was a competitive gymnast as a young kid and when I was eleven I found circus summer
camp. That was it! I loved it. By the time I was 16 I was teaching at the camp and trained independently with my trapeze rigged up at a gymnastics school throughout the year. When I finished high school, I moved to Portland and joined a local aerial dance company, Pendulum Aerial Arts Dance, and interned with Do Jump! Extremely Physical Theatre. After spending some time in Portland, I went to college in St. Louis where I worked with Circus Harmony during the year and in the summers taught flying trapeze. I interned with Elizabeth Streb as a dancer after my sophomore year, and after graduating I moved to New York City and became the Assistant Manager of the Trapeze School of New York and worked at the Espana-Streb Trapeze Academy. Then, I went to
graduate school back at Washington University in St. Louis where I was able to continue training and teaching throughout my studies. When I heard SANCA had just opened a flying trapeze rig the timing was perfectly coordinated with my graduation, and I headed to Seattle.

Clearly circus is an integral part of your life! How did you get the idea for writing a book?
Emily:
In 2012 SANCA was hosting what was then called the AYCO Educators Conference (now ACE). Jo Montgomery asked me if I would create a four-hour long anatomy course for the educators who were attending. The questions they had and the deep interest everyone expressed about the topic really inspired me to start thinking about writing a book. It took a few more years and quite a few more workshops until I felt knowledgeable enough to approach the logistics of actually making it happen.

Once you had conceived of the idea for your book, how did you start the process of getting it published?
Emily: I did some research on publishers who have published similar things (anatomy, sports textbooks, etc.)
and with a friend’s guidance, I wrote up a book proposal. Circus has been growing exponentially so it was a great opportunity for a book like this.

My book is really focused on injury, injury prevention, self-care and building a training plan. It includes exercises for aerialists and education on what injuries they prevent.

Was it hard to get publishers to listen?
Emily: Definitely, I really had to make the argument that there is a huge community out there that is hungry for this information – about how the body works and how it allows us to do the things we do. No one has really broken down how aerialists are moving!

How long did it take to get a book deal?
Emily: I sent out the first proposal to a publisher in the summer of 2016 but didn’t get a contract until April of 2017.

What was your incentive for creating the book?
Emily: I hope it’s going to be a resource for aerialists and instructors to increase safety and awareness in their training. I hope it helps people have a better understanding of the body mechanics behind [aerial] so we can all be better students, instructors, and performers.

Muscles are made to work together either in pairs, or dynamically with other. Often when there is pain, it means there is over use of one group instead of balance.

What are common injuries in aerialists that you are hoping this book will help prevent?
Emily: The most common injuries are over-use injuries, especially in the shoulders – then hips and backs. The most common acute injury is sprained ankles and back.

What do the exercises focus on in order to prevent those injuries?
Emily: Muscles are made to work together either in pairs, or dynamically with other. Often when there is pain, it means there is over use of one group instead of balance.

 

Did you work with anyone to get the book done?
Emily: I worked with medical illustrator, Tiffany S. Davanzo, photography by Danny Boulet and used
aerialists from the community as my models.

You can find Applied Anatomy for Aerial Artists at your favorite bookstore and online at Amazon. Are you interested in working with Emily as your physical therapist? Check out her business website, Pure Motion Physical Therapy, for office locations and booking an appointment.

The Creative Life of Miranda Troutt

It should come as no surprise that for many SANCA coaches, circus is just one of many creative endeavors. To celebrate the artists who make up our hardworking staff, we’d like to introduce you to some of their lives outside of SANCA.

We’ve been having such a great time with our camp coaches this summer, so it’s sad to know that our time with many of them is almost done (for now). Before she’s whisked away to her next adventure, we wanted to share with you a peek into the creative life of one of our camp coaches, Ms. Miranda Troutt.

She is a singer, aerialist, costume designer, and self-proclaimed Sci-Fi nerd, who has managed to find a way to make it in Seattle as a working artist.

Meet Miranda!

 

How did you get involved in circus?

Miranda: I took a silks class at Emerald City Trapeze and then got involved with athletic/dance pole. A friend connected me to Teatro ZinZanni and I was hired to teach in their camps. I learned as I went. I came to SANCA a few times because I worked with Amanda (Thornton) and she gave me a few private lessons – it was really fun. When the Teatro ZinZanni camp program was on hold last year I really missed being involved with circus. I was very excited to find out that SANCA also offers summer circus camps… so here I am!

What are your hobbies outside of circus?

Miranda: Ha! Well really almost every one of my hobbies has turned into a job, so, I guess I just do everything that I love!

What is one of the things you do that people might not know about you?

Miranda: My career is musical theatre, which I studied at Cornish. But I do a lot of types of singing. I’m a professional Christmas Caroler with the Dickens Carolers. I sing opera at a restaurant downtown, Pasta Freska.  I sing at weddings and have been featured on several albums. I also do burlesque, perform at the Washington Midsummer Renn Faire, and design/sew.

Tell us more about your sewing and clothing design!

Miranda: Wedding gowns are my most popular commission, but I also make burlesque, Renn Faire, and other costumes. Really anything someone asks for. The past few years I’ve really gotten into alterations and Frankenstein clothing and making full garments from recycled materials. You can find her custom costumes and gowns at Miranda Antoinette Designs on Facebook and Etsy.

How did you learn to sew?

Miranda: I taught myself. I started sewing when I was 12. My grandma helped me with my first project to make a costume for a character from a fantasy book series. I love fantasy and sci-fi; Star-Trek, Star-Wars, Firefly. I also love the Abarat Series, and Weave World (both by Clive Barker). I love Cloud Atlas. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss.

So how did you get into musical theatre?

Miranda: I always loved musical theatre, Gilbert and Sullivan, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire. So, my parents one day said “Hey, Seattle Children’s Theatre has a summer program for kids to do musical theatre do you want to do it?”

I auditioned singing “Think of Me” from Phantom of the Opera, not realizing that Footloose was more of a rock opera. So I sang it, and they asked me to sing it again, but angrily, and I got cast! I’ve pretty much been doing musicals ever since. [See her sing here]

What is something you did recently?

Miranda: I just did Silhouette which was a world premier science fiction acapella musical at the Annex Theatre. Before that, I worked with Village Theatre understudying several parts for Into the Woods. I also did some stuff with Seattle Children’s Theatre and I’m excited to start working with them again in 2019.

What are you working on right now?

Miranda: I’m collaborating on an album right now, kind of poetic new age, but a lot of layers of sound. The composer calls the genre electronic dreamsong. Classical choir, string instrumentals, synthesizers. Very cinematic. I’m also doing some music for new musicals coming out.

Do you have a favorite composer?

Miranda: Picking favorites or one big thing I’m inspired by doesn’t really work for my brain. I’m a huge fan of traditional Irish music. One of my favorites is Carrickfergus. I also love Mika and Queen. And I’ll expose my stereotypical musical theatre nerd by admitting that I love Llyod Webber and Sondheim.

Photo Credit:
RAW SEATTLE PHOTOGRAPHERS | Jared Ribic & Memphis Ribic – Identity Crisis Studio & Framed for Life Photography

Did you learn how to read Gaelic?

Miranda: No, but I can listen to it and pick it up by sound.

I’m also really involved in dance. Socially. And I taught for a time too. I dance salsa and bachata (another Latin dance) as well as fusion.

Where do you dance?

Miranda: Century Ballroom  and Om Fusion.

 

Thank you for sharing more about you, Miranda!

Nick and Rachel Hit the Road

Coaches Nicholas Lowery and Rachel Randall are Duo Straight Up, an energetic, light-hearted Chinese pole duet, and they’re off in their new trailer to perform with a traditional traveling circus!

The last time we checked in was 2015! What has been happening with Duo Straight Up since then?

Nick: That was when our act just started out! We were still doing the original version of our act, with different music, which we performed in Up, with a Twist that year.

Rachel: We performed at two fairs in Hawaii , at “Ciudad de Las Ideas” conference in Mexico, and with the Venardos Circus for the Greater Gulf State Fair in Alabama.

Nick: Yes! We also were Tweedledum and Tweedledee for the Venardos Circus at the LA County Fair, which was an Alice in Wonderland-themed show.

What’s next for you?

Nick: We just got a giant truck and trailer and we’re ready to live the traditional circus life! We’ll be performing with the Zoppé Family Circus.

 Have you been wanting to do full time circus performing for a while? This is your first major traveling show, right?

Rachel: Yeah, we’ve been wanting to perform full time. It’s tricky staying in shape and keeping your act current when you have three weeks of work and then nothing.

How do you feel about living in the trailer for six months?

Nick: I lived in a trailer [which belonged to the show] for six weeks doing the first leg of their tour and it was fine! Honestly, the trailerhas more space than our current room in Seattle and we’re excited to have our own little house on wheels.

Was it hard for you guys to be apart for the six weeks Nick was touring with Zoppe?

Rachel: Yes! I was directing the P3 show at that time so I had a lot going on, and it was hard to not have Nick there.

Nick: Of course. I think it will be much better to travel and perform together this time!

What has changed in your act?

Rachel: It’s sexier!

Nick: And the skills have improved! But older versions of the act were more comic and whimsical and now it feels a little more adult. Still PG-rated! And we’ve had to rework our act a bit to get it to fit with the theme and new music for the show.

What’s the theme of the show?

Nick: It has a traditional Italian circus vibe. All the costumes are period-looking, less modern

Rachel: Think ribbons instead of sparkles

Photo by John Cornicello

How has your act and style changed over time?

Rachel: Initially we wanted to make a playful act (our first idea for a name was “Duo Squirrel”).

Nick: It’s a simple story that we tell with the act. It’s a love story, kind of messing around with each other. There’s always little adjustments to go from one show to the next.

Rachel: But there will still be flirting! I can’t not be flirty on stage. Before it was more silly, almost slapstick. It’s gotten more and more refined, more streamlined, elegant.

Nick: Definitely our skills have gotten better.

Rachel: We have a release move we call the “princess bomb,” and I do a handstand on his head on the pole. We still have the jump-over, where I slide down and Nick jumps over me.

Photo by John Cornicello

You guys performed at Twist this year, how was that? 

Rachel: Twist is always really fun.

Nick: It’s cool to do a show where there’s so many friends in the audience. The Teatro Zinzanni tent is awesome to perform in. I love that show.

What were you doing before performing and coaching was your career? 

Rachel: I was a professional dancer. I’ve always coached circus as my day job. I got a catering job in January this year (that’s my first ‘real’ job).

Nick: I started working at SANCA pretty fresh after getting my bachelors degree in math. My plan was to hang out here for a year and then apply for PhD programs, but then I had so much fun doing circus stuff that I never did that.

Any advice to others who would like to get more involved with performing and possibly who want to follow in your footsteps? 

Nick: Try to have a good idea of what kind of show you want to be a part of. Go see shows, try to get an idea of what kinds of opportunities exist, talk to people who are doing different kinds of shows. When I started I didn’t really have a good idea of what kinds of shows were out there as possibilities.

Rachel: It’s a little bit of a complicated question. Do you want to make a living at it, or do you want to just perform? It’s really hard to break into the full time performing, in any field. Circus does pay better than dance! Even if you do want to perform professionally in the future, you have to go out there and start performing, with the skills that you have today. Don’t think, “I’m not good enough yet, I can only juggle six balls!” You are good enough!

Nick: Yeah, get on stage! Then you learn what works and doesn’t work. You learn a lot from being in front of an audience. When you find a discipline in which you want to perform, it’s then really important to find a coach that you can work well with and trust them. Then be dedicated to practicing.

How do you stay motivated to have such a dedicated training schedule?

Rachel: We have a constitution. The Constitution of the United Forces of Duo Straight Up!

Haha, that is amazing. Can you share anything on it?

1. If you aren’t barfing, you have to train.

2. Don’t be too grumpy in the morning.

(Rachel: I hate training in the morning).

3. Push each other.

4. Stay positive.


Those are some great guidelines!

Bon voyage! Merde! and we’ll see you down the road!

 

Terry Crane on “The End of Rope”

Terry Crane, the rope expert and Artistic Director of Acrobatic Conundrum , is joining us at SANCA as our Artist in Residence for the end of July. He will prepare for and workshop his new show, which will debut at the San Francisco Aerial Arts Festival in August. For the residency, Terry is creating aerial and floor choreography for a new piece, “The End of the Rope,” which features six rope artists and a live musician.

“The End of the Rope” uses a large pulley with a rope threaded through it, a new apparatus that builds on movement research developed while using the “counterweight loop” featured in previous Conundrum shows — “Love & Gravity,” “The Way Out,” and other collaborations. For those unfamiliar with the counterweight loop, it is made up of 12-strand rope threaded through two large wooden pulleys, with the ends spliced together so it forms a vertical circle. In order to climb one side, the other side needs to be counter-weighted, which makes it an apparatus that is inherently relational; two or more people are needed to operate it. Tickets available here.

The new apparatus operates with similar principles but also a unique property — the rope has two ends.

The “End of The Rope” is a constellation of suspended stories, with the ending of each acrobat’s vignette hinting at the beginning of another. Loftily dancing, speaking from their aeries, and descending to dance, the circus artists of Acrobatic Conundrum share glimpses of their interior selves even as they defy gravity. The world they create is equal parts grace and humor, aerial acrobatics and careful mise en scène [a visual theme; or “telling the story” in a visually artful way]. Spectators are beckoned into the plot to pursue trails left by poets-in-motion, and the fourth wall fades away as audiences and performers share moments of wonder together. Terry is performing with Yuko Hata, Kip Jones, PJ Perry, Sommer Panage, and Xochitl Sosa, with musical accompaniment by Kip Jones.

In describing the aerial ensemble work that Terry creates and choreographs, he shares his perspective on the importance of collaboration and how he imbues this symbolism into his art:

“In the context of the moment, a symbol’s meaning shifts. On stage we’re a microcosm of humanity; a small ocean in a bottle. And in every show, in every moment, we need to be attuned to each other. We need to pay attention and rely on each other.

Terry Crane & Xochitl Sosa on Corde Lisse. Photo by Marc Hoffman.

“I’ve fallen in love with, and been dear friends with, and collaborated with talented artists who have been denied entry to the U.S. As well as being bad for art, a wall designed to exclude hurts the needy and puts one more division in our own hearts. I categorically oppose this symbol.

“It’s vitally important, now more than ever, to share our art, ideas, and stories across cultural, linguistic and national lines. Touring work to other countries means flow of information both ways. We inspire each other. Perspectives broaden, the perception of diversity grows. We discover new ways [for] people to navigate the same questions: of how to get along, create home, [and] build community. Places on maps become places we have lived, people we meet while teaching, [and] audiences who react in unexpected ways. These places become part of our own stories. We cross-pollinate. We see how it’s possible to live otherwise than we do. Long distances shrink and we become closer.

“Much as it might temporarily satisfy our angry, aggrieved selves, there can be no denying we are one thing. One species. Sharing one planet. In my mind, inclusion and exclusion are two answers to the wrong question. Something like, ‘How can I belong?’ They both stem from the illusion of our separateness, from each other, from what’s around us. I think because we are here, belonging is implied.

“I’m dedicated to holding up a mirror to our community, to reflect as accurately as I can the fact of our interconnectivity. I encourage all my fellow U.S. circus artists to do similarly; it’s time to put all that training to some use. Now is a moment for truth. Let’s make some art that means something.”

To read more about Terry’s process of apparatus creation and symbolism, visit the Acrobatic Conundrum blog .