Tag Archives: Moisture Festival

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 moisturefestival.strangertickets.com.
More information about IMPulse Circus Collective can be found at impulsecircus.com.

A talk with aerialist Jonathan Rose, part of Moisture Festival 2013

Originally published March 17, 2013 at 5:47 AM | Page modified March 17, 2013 at 7:52 AM

  • Seattle aerialist Jonathan Rose, who’s had a thing for the circus life since he was 18, will be happily spinning and dangling from a rope at the Moisture Festival, which runs March 21-April 14, 2013.

    By Michael Upchurch
    Seattle Times arts writer

Seattle aerialist Jonathan Rose can ascend a rope so smoothly that it looks as easy as riding up an escalator. His five-minute routine takes phenomenal strength, but you’d never guess it from his calm demeanor as he turns himself over, under, sideways and down in midair.

“I do kind of like the heights,” Rose said last month, while taking a break from training at Seattle’s School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts (SANCA). “I can’t be right-side up for too long. The blood starts to leave the brain.”

Rose, 33, is one of dozens of gifted performers taking part in the Moisture Festival, Seattle’s grand circus-arts bash that celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. It opens March 21 at Hale’s Palladium in Fremont and continues for three weeks at various venues.

Looking at any Moisture Festival act, you find yourself asking: How did the exotic figure onstage get into this business? Surely there has to be a story behind it?

In Rose’s case, there is.

He grew up in Seattle where, he says, he played “all the usual sports, but never got real passionate about team sports or competitive sports.”

So far, so average.

When he went off to college in Indiana, however, major restlessness set in.

“I was really bored,” he says. “Bored out of my mind.”

So he decided to drop out and take a bicycle tour of the Southwest: “I wanted to see all the national parks. I’d never seen the desert before.”

On a detour to see Mexico’s Copper Canyon, his bike was stolen, so he hitched a ride to a small town where, one day, the circus arrived.

“After the show,” he recalls, “I asked them if I could join.”

They told him to show up the next morning with his bags packed. Rose wound up spending more than a year and a half with Mexican circuses, first as a roustabout, then as a performer: “They gave me small parts in the show, clowning bits. Eventually I had a hula-hooping act.”

He was also put in charge of the elephant, Maurice, and the hippopotamus, Pepe, despite the fact that he’d had no previous experience looking after pachyderms.

“It was when I was in Mexico that I first saw a video of Cirque du Soleil,” he says. “It was one of their early shows and I was just totally blown away.”

He soon realized he had a greater interest in performing than in shoveling animal dung. Searching online, he learned that SANCA had just opened in Seattle. So he came home and signed up for aerial lessons — at age 24.

That, he admits, was a late start. It’s also unusual for anyone born outside the circus world to enter it. But nowadays, with more and more circus schools popping up, outsiders entering the fold are discovering and mastering circus disciplines later in life.

Between performing and teaching, Rose is getting by.

“At this point, it’s definitely at least a part-time job,” he says. He also works part-time as a bus driver for King County.

How do Rose’s parents like having a circus performer in the family?

They’ve gradually accustomed themselves to the idea, Rose says. “I mean, by now, over the course of my life, I’ve made all kinds of decisions that they’ve disagreed with. … When I first left college to ride a bike to Mexico and join the circus down there, that was kind of the beginning of the end for their expectations of me,” he says with a big laugh.

About a year ago, he had his own second thoughts about his career choice.

“I actually had an extended moment of doubt and thought I needed to get a ‘real job’ — so I pursued firefighting for a while,” he says. “It was a lot of fun … really satisfying work. But I missed the artistic expression, and I missed the culture of circus, the community. It’s two completely different types of people. So I came back — and I’m glad I did.”

Michael Upchurch: mupchurch@seattletimes.com

Grab a front rug seat at Moisture Festival


Published 10:00 pm, Thursday, March 12, 2009

  • Sally Pepper is one of several aerialists performing at this year’s Moisture Festival. Most of the performances are family-friendly, but there is a series of late-night burlesque shows for the 21-and-older crowd. The festival’s producer said there is a live band at each performance. Photo: Michelle Bates
    Sally Pepper is one of several aerialists performing at this year’s Moisture Festival. Most of the performances are family-friendly, but there is a series of late-night burlesque shows for the 21-and-older crowd. The festival’s producer said there is a live band at each performance. Photo: Michelle Bates

It’s these dark days at the end of winter that have people crying out for something fun to do, and the sixth annual Moisture Festival delivers.

Combining traditional European vaudeville and variety acts such as aerial artists, jugglers, dancers, comedians and can-can girls, the Moisture Festival is a monthlong celebration of physical arts taking place at three different venues: ACT Theatre (700 Union St.), Hale’s Palladium (4301 Leary Way N.W.) and the SIFF Cinema (McCaw Hall, Seattle Center).

Most shows are family-friendly, but the festival does have a series of late-night burlesque shows for ages 21 and older. The family-friendly shows feature a variety of performers, such as bubble magicians, jugglers, comedians, musicians and others not so easily categorized.

“It’s a return of live, variety entertainment that builds on old traditions but is updated for current times,” festival producer Tim Furst said. “There is a mix of 10 different acts and a live band at every show and each show is different, so people can keep coming back and they’ll see something new and different every time. This is their only chance to see some of the world’s best performers in one place.”

Furst is no stranger to vaudeville, having been one of the original members of the Flying Karamazov Brothers. He is retired from full-time performing with the group, but occasionally fills in and will perform as Fyodor Karamazov at the Moisture Festival. Fellow former Karamazov performer Sam Williams, known as Smerdyakov Karamazov, also will perform and emcee at the festival.

When asked how to explain the Moisture Festival concept to a first-timer, Furst says it’s similar to Teatro Zinzanni — minus the dinner theater and high prices. Moisture Festival tickets range from $7.50 for children to $25 for adults, making it an affordable indulgence for a family.

Children and their parents can sit up front on a rug instead of in chairs, and some acts encourage audience participation.

“It’s great for kids just to have the experience of seeing live performance, and to experience a performance surrounded by hundreds of other people experiencing the same thing,” Furst said. “It’s sort of the antidote to television.”

The March 21 matinee is a collaboration with the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts, which is providing all of the performers for that show.

Terri Sullivan, a former circus arts performer and now a part-time instructor at SANCA, says the school has 600 students of all ages, from age 2 to 60-something.

“We wouldn’t turn away anyone who was older, we’d just make sure they didn’t get hurt,” Sullivan said. “But the bulk of our students are in the 7 to 10 age range.”

The idea behind the school is to provide a noncompetitive atmosphere in which people can try new things — and the school doesn’t let finances get in the way. Last year, SANCA provided $35,000 in scholarships to students.

“It’s great fun, first of all, and anything that’s physical and fun builds self esteem and just joy,” she said. “Some kids are great at competition, but others are not and they won’t really blossom.”

Sullivan says circus arts are perfect for all ages and interests because there’s such a wide range of skills. You can do acrobatics, juggle or be a clown, or walk a tightrope or a rolling globe.

The March 21 performance will feature instructors and students from SANCA, including its Youth Performance Company (ages 8 to 18) and the Amazing Circus Wonders (ages 5 to 8).

“They are super, super cute and fun,” Sullivan said of the littlest ones.

“The kids who are at their shows go, ‘They’re the same age as me. I could do that!’ So that’s very inspiring for them, seeing someone who’s just like them.”