Tag Archives: SANCA

What I did at Camp this summer

My summer at Camp Tanuga

This summer I took a sabbatical from SANCA and my day job of being a Registered Nurse in the ER, and ventured to Michigan and a camp called Camp Tanuga. There I got the opportunity to teach flying trapeze full time, an experience I’ve been longing to have since I started coaching at SANCA a few years ago.

DSC_0083Tanuga is located in northern Michigan, about 40 minutes outside of Traverse City, with the closest town, Kalkaska, about 15 minutes away. For someone that grew up in a big city then moved to the Seattle metropolis four years ago, camp was an adjustment. There’s no supermarket around the corner, no redbox down the road, and Internet service was sometimes a bit shaky. That being said, my summer was full of new and fun experiences not involving technology or stores down the road.

Camp Tanuga was established a little over 60 years ago and still carries on many of the traditions that were started back then. In fact, many of the kids are 2nd or 3rd generation campers. The majority of the campers, who are between 7 and 15 years old, live in or around the Detroit area, although there are also campers from Colorado, Florida, California and other states. Tanuga is also somewhat of a SANCA tradition as a few of the staff members from the fly tent have also worked there in the past, including: Paul Peterson, Chris Johnston and Spencer Stevens.

Every day at camp was an adventure, with the schedule often changing at the last minute. To my type A, gotta have a plan self, this was probably the biggest struggle of the summer. Most days, however, my schedule went something like this:

IMG_10768:30 Breakfast
10:00 Instructional 1 (Flying trapeze)
11:20 Cabin Activity (Flying trapeze)
12:15 Lunch
1:00 Rest hour
2:00 Optional (training time for us or sometimes teaching a class)
3:30 Instructional 2 (Flying trapeze)
4:30 Instructional 3 (Flying trapeze)
6:30 Dinner
7:30 Evening Program

Basically, I was immersed in our three-person trapeze team world most of the day. I loved getting to teach new and returning campers new tricks, see them grow as flyers, and see joy in their eyes every time they caught a new trick. In this way teaching at camp and at SANCA are very similar. Both have individuals who have been flying for quite some time, as well as brand new flyers. It has been incredibly rewarding for me working with both types of students.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.03.56 AMThe other part of camp that I loved was getting to grow as a flyer myself. My cabin was about a 10 second walk to the trapeze (give or take a few seconds). It was a dream to be able to walk out my door and fly every day. This summer I faced a lot of fears that I have has a flyer. I was pushed by the people on my team to go to new heights (so to speak), and believe I grew a lot as a trapeze artist, coach, and person. I even caught my double out of safety lines for the first time, something I hadn’t even fathomed I would do this summer.

Camp Tanuga was an experience. Was everything perfect? No. Did I miss Seattle, my friends and the SANCA community? Absolutely. But, this summer at Camp Tanuga was a summer I will never forget. I got to teach some amazing campers, met some fantastic people, and got to explore beautiful northern Michigan.  I also got to do something that I love every single day – flying trapeze.

Meet Duo Straight Up

Nick & Rachel performing at SANCA's Annual Spring Showcase in May 2014.

Nick & Rachel performing at SANCA’s Annual Spring Showcase in May 2014.

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.”

Duo Straight Up performs at SANCA's Circus Festival in August 2014.

Duo Straight Up performs at SANCA’s Circus Festival in August 2014.

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!

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!

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