SANCA Coach Spotlight — Duo Straight Up
Rachel Randall & Nick Lowery
Coaches Rachel Randall and Nick Lowery are the latest in a longstanding SANCA tradition of students and coaches who dream big and reach for the stars as professional performers. They first started crafting their Chinese Pole duo act in the fall of 2013, but prior to that they have both spent many years as circus coaches for SANCA.
Rachel joined SANCA in October 2007 after graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in Dance. She started as a Circus Tot instructor and quickly added a repertoire of teaching that includes unicycle, German wheel, tumbling, and general circus classes. She is also the dance instructor for SANCA’s Professional Preparatory Program.
Rachel says, “I teach students from ages 2 to 70. When I first started teaching Tot Classes at SANCA I was teaching a young 2-year-old named Nina. Now, seven years later, she is a Magnificent 7 youth performer, and I am once again her coach. It’s been amazing to see her progress. I am so proud of my students and how much they grow as individuals and performers through circus arts.”
Nick came to SANCA in 2009 from Oberlin College in Ohio, where he was involved in a student circus club. He took a few classes at SANCA, and was interested in becoming an instructor. After training as a coach and teaching general circus classes, he became interested in Chinese pole and started to specialize. Now Nick teaches SANCA’s pole classes; he also works as a catcher for flying trapeze, and does the coach quarterly schedule on the administrative side.
“I never expected circus to be my life. It started as a hobby,” Nick says. “Being at SANCA gave me the inspiration and opportunity to pursue circus arts in a way I never expected.”
After the 2012 Staff Summer Show Rachel and Nick started dating, and not long after that they decided to create a duo act. Rachel says, “I wanted to spend more time with Nick, but he was always busy teaching and training Chinese pole. I decided to take his class, and it turned out that I picked up pole skills really quickly.”
“I asked Rachel if she wanted to create an act together,” says Nick. “We started working together in November 2013 and had our first performance at SASS – SANCA’s Annual Spring Showcase in 2014.”
Since then, Duo Straight Up has appeared at the Vancouver Circus Festival, at the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Backstage Bash, and SANCA’s Up, with a Twist at Teatro ZinZanni. They’re aiming to take their act to the professional circus circuit. They say that circus can be more entertaining and accessible to the public than other art forms, and that makes it more fun to perform and connect with audiences.
Keep an eye out for these up-and-coming Circus Stars!