The Improbable Return of the Amazing Scotty Walsh!

With a magician, anything is possible, including reappearing at SANCA just in time for the school’s annual Staff Show – The Circus Animal: A Nature Documentary.

SANCA is delighted to welcome back Scotty Walsh – one of our earliest circus students and coaches. Scotty is visiting SANCA from Cork, Ireland during the month of August, working in collaboration with Kelsa Dine. Together, they will debut a new act called “The Smiths.” Scotty and Kelsa took time out from their busy training and performing schedule for an interview with SANCA.

Scott Walsh attempts to read Kelsa Dine's thoughts in their new mentalism act, "The Deans."

Scott Walsh attempts to read Kelsa Dine’s thoughts in their
new mentalism act, “The Smiths.”

SANCA: Scotty, you’ve been a performer for some time now, how did you get your start?

Scotty: I was eight when I saw my first magic show. It was Mike the Magic Janitor. He was the janitor at Pomeroy Elementary School in Pomeroy, Washington, but he also did magic shows for the school at Halloween and for the town’s Tumbleweed Festival and County Fair. I was really inspired and started inventing magic tricks to show him, and I pestered him constantly about learning more magic.

At one point Mike had a gig at the town Vaudeville Show, but he was unable to attend and asked me to do a magic show in his place. He helped me choreograph a show and taught me how to do it. That was my first magic show – for 400 people – when I was eight.

That’s one of the reasons that I love to do shows for kids, because Mike the Magic Janitor had such a huge impact on me as a kid.

SANCA: What came next in your magic career?

Scotty: The Market Magic Shop at Pike Place Market had been an annual pilgrimage for me for years when visiting Seattle from Eastern Washington. I started working in the Magic Shop and also working as a street performer at the Market when I came to Seattle to attend the University of Washington for a degree in Political Science.

SANCA: Political Science seems a far cry from magic and performance, what sparked that interest?

Scotty: I lived in Kosovo for a year and I’d become really interested in humanitarian issues, and Political Science seemed a natural fit for that kind of work. I was also very active in the performance and circus community in Seattle at the same time – busking at the Market and juggling with the Cascade Jugglers. I also founded the Emerald City Circus as a student club at U.W. to create more community on campus for circus.

SANCA: You were one of SANCA’s first adult students, and later even coached classes for SANCA. How did you discover SANCA?

Scotty: I saw the Cirque du Soleil show “Dralion” and was very inspired – especially by Joe de Paul’s clown act in that show. I wanted to go to the École Nationale de Cirque (ENC), and started teaching myself dive rolls from Hovey Burgess’s book, Circus Techniques.

At about the same time, Jason Williams and Evelyn Bittner (Dr. Calamari & Acrophelia of Circus Contraption) attended one of my shows where I was recreating Houdini’s Water Tank Escape. They told me about SANCA and I started taking classes to prepare for my audition at ENC.

SANCA: After your time at SANCA you went to study physical theatre in Italy. What took you there?

Scotty: I didn’t pass my audition at ENC, but SANCA was giving me everything I wanted to learn about how to perform acrobatics. There is a painting by Picasso which depicts the acrobat/clown Harlequin who descended from the Commedia dell’Arte – a copy of this painting, The Family of Saltimbanques, is hanging in Chuck and Jo’s [SANCA’s founders] office. That painting was always very inspiring to me and I felt my next step as a performer was to train in physical theater and the commedia. I discovered a school called the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo – in the Tuscany region of Italy. I was accepted to their 2-1/2 year MFA program in Physical Theatre.

SANCA: Kelsa, how did you get started as a performer?

Kelsa: I had an interest in theatre from an early age, and did performances in grade school, but the High School I went to didn’t have a drama department so I took voice lessons and sung in the choir. I went to college in Baltimore for a degree in Acting and Playwriting, and it was there that I also took classes in single-point trapeze.

SANCA: What took you to Italy to study at the Accademia?

Kelsa: During college I had the opportunity to do a one-month intensive at the Accademia dell’Arte. It was a really amazing experience that stuck with me. After college I decided to continue my studies at the Accademia.

Scotty: Around that time I was planning my next degree – a Doctorate in Drama and Theatre with a focus on performance in mentalism. After graduating the Accademia I went to University Cork College in Cork, Ireland to begin my Doctorate.

SANCA: Why mentalism? And what is mentalism?

Scotty: Mentalism is a performing art that uses, or seems to use, highly developed mental or intuitive abilities. Mentalism is traced back to tales of the supernatural – clairvoyance in Greek myths or legends of second sight and witchcraft which emerged from the Scottish Highlands.

I was very interested in the intersection of mentalism and physical theater because physical theater can develop heightened nonverbal communication to the point where it might be said to resemble “telepathy.” I want to reinterpret mentalism through the lens of physical theater.

Kelsa: Much of physical theater is the study of proprioception – total body awareness – understanding the space surrounding your body and where you are in that space. It’s a type of sensitivity training. It’s this type of heightened sensitivity that often connects to acts of mentalism, which people can confuse with ESP or supernatural ability.

SANCA: What brings you back to SANCA just in time for our summer staff show?

Scotty: Last year, Jo invited me to perform at SANCA’s 10th Anniversary Circus Festival, and I had such a great time returning to SANCA and performing last year that I wanted to do it again. I was on summer break from UCC, so I called and asked if I could come back for the month of August, and if I could take part in the staff show and they said yes. Working at SANCA is such a positive and rewarding experience. I knew I wanted to find collaborators for a new act and SANCA seemed like the right place for that.

My proposal to Jo was to have training time at SANCA to create a new act, and in return teach workshops for the SANCA community and the youth troupes. It is really important to me to give back to the community that has given me so much. Participating in the staff show is a bonus and I’m very grateful that they are letting us take part in the show.

SANCA: You’ve been training at SANCA for a couple weeks now. What’s that experience been like?

Kelsa: I’m really inspired by the collective circus groups you have training here – IMPulse and The Acrobatic Conundrum. Watching them create new work and how they are developing their acts through a group devising process is really exciting.

SANCA Smiths 5smScotty: SANCA is an incredible place. There’s nothing else like it, and it’s changed my life immeasurably. I am always astounded at how the school enriches the people that come through its doors. For us, it’s been a positive and welcoming training environment. We’ve been able to get feedback on the act we’re working on, and that’s a really important part of the process – having constructive audience feedback in a safe environment while creating new work.

Kelsa: Thank you for welcoming us. This is a fantastic place to work and train.

SANCA: What can audiences expect from your new act, “The Smiths?”

Scotty: A show equal parts comedy and mentalism leading to an unexpected and inexplicable moment of truth.

SANCA: How does it relate to the show theme – The Circus Animal?

Scotty: There’s been some interesting research recently about telepathy in animals, examining the potentiality of animal telepathy, or really, methods of nonverbal, nontraditional communication that we are only just starting to understand.

Kelsa: We’ll be representing that most unusual of animals: The Human Animal.

SANCA: Is there anything else you can tell us about the act?

Scotty: We’re liars, cheats, and frauds, and by the end of the show, you’ll wonder if we’re even telling the truth about that. You be the judge!

Scotty Walsh and Kelsa Dine will appear as “The Smiths” for two weekends, Fridays through Sundays in SANCA’s Staff Show – The Circus Animal: A Nature Documentary, August 21-23 and 28-30.

They will also appear at the family friendly August Vaudeville Revue at Kenyon Hall on Tuesday, August 25th at 7:30 p.m.
7904 35th Avenue SW
Seattle, WA 98126

You can visit Scotty at his web page and learn more about mentalism at

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

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

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!

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

IN ADVANCE: Youth (12 & under) $10.00 & Adults $15.00 1-800-838-3006
AT THE DOOR: Youth (12 & under) $15.00 & Adults $20.00

Festival of Flight!

Festival of Flight! May 2 & 31V0A8364
Spring Fly Show & Open House


Join us in the SANCA School of Flight flying trapeze tent for the Festival of Flight: Open House and Spring Fly show Extravaganza!

SANCAthon_2012_woman_FT_NonFictionMedia_02From 1-3pm each day we welcome flyers ages 4 and up to bring a non-perishable food item to support the Rainier Valley Food Bank & take one free swing during the open house! One turn per person. No advanced reservations. Flyer must be present to sign up for a turn.

On Saturday May 2nd, at 3pm we will welcome you to watch our Mini & Junior & Teen Fly Teams perform feats of derring do and amazing aerial tricks! We welcome you back to the tent again at 7pm for our Adult Team to show off their stuff.

On Sunday May 3rd, at 3pm we will invite you to watch our Adult Team perform acrobatic aerial tricks. Return to the tent again at 7pm to watch our Mini & Junior & Teen Fly Teams as they fly, twist, flip and dive through the air.

Lunch and treats will be available for purchase from some of Seattle’s favorite Food Trucks!

fly teams 1600x300

IMPulse Circus Collective presents Figments

FIGMENTS.poster.v2IMPulse Circus Collective, a Seattle-based circus troupe founded in 2013, will debut a new contemporary circus show as a part of the Moisture Festival. Shows will be at Broadway Performance Hall in Capitol Hill on April 10-12. This exciting, acrobatic show is appropriate for audiences of all ages.

Figments transports the audience into a world populated by imaginary friends that have been forgotten by the children who imagined them. This quirky group of imaginary friends must navigate the real issues of finding a place to belong in a make-believe world. Performers fly through the air and showcase amazing feats of acrobatic grace, strength, and beauty as they weave a whimsical tale.

IMPulse Circus Collective, artists-in-residence at Seattle’s School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts, presented their first self-titled show in 2013, and returned in 2014 with their production entitled Bonkers. Members of IMPulse Circus have performed on stages and in circus rings throughout the world. They draw inspiration from the worlds of contemporary circus, vaudeville, and theater to create accessible and exciting circus shows.

Featuring artists Arne Bystrom, Emma Curtiss, Jasmine Manuel, Jonathan Rose, Marta Brown, Nick Harden, Reed Nakayama, Wendy Harden, and Zora Blade.

April 10 & 11 @ 7:30pm, April 13th @ 3pm

Tickets are $10 for youth, $15 for seniors, and $25 for adults. Tickets can be found at
More information about IMPulse Circus Collective can be found at

Acrobatic Conundrum presents “The Language of Chance”

Acrobatic Conundrum presents “The Language of Chance”

January 30 – February 8

For all dates and times and ticket link please visit

SSCF_081514_Conundrum_TC_rope_cornicello_04Acrobatic Conundrum premieres “the Language of Chance”: two takes on contemporary circus, one extraordinary evening of new works.

Since its debut in 2012 Acrobatic Conundrum has taken artistic risks to inspire and connect with audiences through the medium of circus arts. “The Language of Chance,” follows suit on a grander scale, with two new works created exclusively for the troupe. Both pieces are inspired by themes from an enigmatic story from magical realist author Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel.

Seattle choreographer/director KT Niehoff created the first piece, “A Book is not a Ladder,” in which contemporary dance and circus meld in a visually stunning world. Niehoff designed the striking set and costumes, and made the original sound score in collaboration with electronic musician Pietro Ravanni. In the piece, the acrobats find themselves at odds between the sensations of falling forever, and the Sisyphean task of looking for story in a nonsensical world.

Elizabeth Klob—director of the UMO Ensemble—created the second piece in collaboration with the company. The work evokes a tale of missed connections and serendipitous endings, told using through physical theater, clown, and circus arts. With an original scenography and additional music by Ravanni, the piece transports viewers on an unexpected, labyrinthian journey.

This group of acrobats blur the lines between dance, theater, and circus, inventing their own form of storytelling. This piece is the must-see circus event of the season.

Wasting Away

Wasting away tells the exciting and bizarre story of an idyllic small town that is slowly overrun by their accumulation of garbage. Seemingly oblivious to their predicament the town carries on with its joyous and acrobatic daily routine until the problem becomes too big to ignore. Full of humour and heart, this show presents an action-packed tale of conflict, growth, and cooperation that simultaneously offers social commentary and manages not to take itself too seriously.

Wasting Away includes all-new original acts on the Chinese pole, high flying partner acrobatics, tumbling, aerial fabric, contortion, club juggling, aerial rope, clowning, and much more.
Wasting Away is created and devised by the Directors and members of Cirrus Circus, with additional dance choreography by Rachel Randall, aerial choreography by Bridget Gunning, costume design by Milla Voellinger, set by Morgan Sobel, acrobatics consulting from Jacob Skeffington and select originally composed music by Tristan Moore.

Erica Rubinstein, Cirrus Circus Managing Director

Arne Bystrom, Cirrus Circus Assistant Director

SANCA’s Summer Circus Festival opens August 15th

SANCA’s Summer Circus Festival opens August 15th

by Maia LeDoux last modified Sep 04, 2014 10:44 PM


Join us for our first Summer Circus Festival, August 15-24, 2014, including the SANCA Staff Show, “Everyday Miracles” and SANCA Goes Late Nite Variety Shows, curated and directed by David Crellin aka Armitage Shanks.

SANCA’s staff show, “Everyday Miracles”, transforms everyday actions through the beauty of circus, elevating the mundane into the marvelous. Circus artists are superheroes performing these little miracles every day, affecting other people, spreading mystery and joy.

Audiences will be treated to the beauty and athleticism of contemporary circus arts. Festival performers include: Tanya Brno, Kari Hunter, Acrobatic Conundrum, Adrienne Jack-Sands, Oliver Parkinson, Armitage Shanks, IMPulse Circus Collective , Sara Sparrow, Vivian Tam, Jill Marissa, Scotty Walsh, Lara Paxton, Mick Holsbeke and many more talented artists.

STAFF SHOW Everyday Miracles
August 15th – 17th with Acrobatic Conundrum
Friday 8pm, Sat. 8pm, Sat.y 10:30pm, Sun. 6pm

August 22st – 24th with IMPulse Circus Collective
Friday 8pm, Sat. 8pm, Sat.y 10:30pm, Sun. 6pm
WHERE: SANCA 674 South Orcas St. Seattle, WA 98108

SANCA goes Late Nite, an evening of raucous thrills with live music & special guests, including: Vivian Tam, Adra Boo, Duo Finelli, Marta Brown, Esther deMonteflores-Webner/Laura Burch, Bridget Gunning, Tanya Brno, Professor Scotty Walsh, Jenny Penny, Caela Bailey, Nash Fung, Florial, with music by Bucharest Drinking Team on August 15th and by Chaotic Noise Brigade on August 22nd.

WHEN: Friday 10:30pm, August 15th & August 22nd
WHERE: SANCA, 674 South Orcas St., Seattle, WA 98108

SANCA Summer Circus Festival is August 15th – 24th, 2014.

SPONSORS These shows are supported by grants from 4Culture and the Office of Arts & Culture | Seattle.

SANCA’s Summer Circus Festival

SANCA is honored to present our talented staff in their own show. Everyday Miracles, transforms everyday actions through the beauty of circus, elevating the mundane into the marvelous.  Circus artists are superheroes performing these little miracles every day, affecting other people, spreading mystery and joy.

Artists performing in the SANCA Staff Show include: Rachel Randall & Nick Lowery, Bridget Gunning, Professor Scotty Walsh, Noa Schnitzer, Leslie Rosen, Mick Holsbeke, Zach Holmbergh, Orville Zharoff & Lauren Kettner.

SANCA resident collective Acrobatic Conundrum will be appearing as the second half for the weekend of August 15-17.

IMPulse Circus Collective will be appearing as the second half for the weekend of August 22-24.

Also part of the Festival: SANCA is proud to produce it’s first late night variety show directed by David Crellin aka Armitage Shanks.  An evening of raucous thrills with live music & special guests.

Our Friday August 15th Show includes: Armitage Shanks, Marta Brown, Esther de Monteflores & Laura Burch, Nash Fung, Duo Finelli, Jenny Penny, Miss Adra Boo, Professor Scotty Walsh,  Bridget Gunning with live music by Bucharest Drinking Team.

Our Friday August 22nd Show includes:
Professor Scotty Walsh, Bridget Gunning, Tanya Brno, Duo Finelli, Vivian Tam & Gunnar Field, Esther de Monteflores & Laura Burch, Jenny Penny, Armitage Shanks, Marta Brown, with live music by Chaotic Noise Brigade.

Full Spectrum

Take a break from fall doldrums and treat yourself to a splash of early spring with this high-energy, acrobatic show. Follow the characters of Cirrus Circus as they each discover their own distinctive personality, evolving from a monochrome daily drab to a prismatic burst of colors.

Cirrus Circus (formerly the Youth Performance Company) is one of the most accomplished circus troupes in the region, and is in demand at many of Seattle’s popular festivals and events, including Moisture Festival, Seattle Center’s Winterfest, the Georgetown Carnival, and more. Cirrus Circus has been invited to perform in 2014 at the London International Youth Circus Festival in England, and InselCircus in Sylt, Germany.

Full Spectrum includes all-new original acts on the triple trapeze and the trampoline, as well as aerial contortion, acrobatic unicycle, juggling, tumbling, partner acrobatics, and much more. This show also features guest performances by SANCA’s younger performing ensembles, the Amazing Circus 1-ders and the Magnificent 7.

Full Spectrum is created and devised by the members of Cirrus Circus, with additional choreography by Rachel Randall of RandAll Dance.
Erica Rubinstein, Cirrus Circus Managing Director
Kari J. Hunter, Cirrus Circus Assistant Director