The Backstage Blog
(Chicago, IL) - With it’s second annual festival now complete, the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival has already become a must-attend event for circus performers, spectators, enthusiasts and recruiters alike. For five days, we were inspired by other performers, trained tight wire out of Aloft Loft and enjoyed the company of the best ‘family’ around - our circus family. Here are my Top 4 Highlights from the midwest-does-it-best circus weekend:
1. Training Gives Perspective
One of the best parts about traveling is the opportunity to train with those you admire most. Also known as the "traincation". And, Ariele Ebacher might be one of the sweetest people you have ever had to walk a fine line around. Having the opportunity to train with this tight wire dancer and watch her perform in The Girlie Show was motivating, constructive and leaving me wanting more (as usual). A sample of my training - a moment of deep focus on "pushing through the toes".
2. Travel Draws Us Closer
I was out in NYC training at Circus Warehouse two days before the Chicago festival when I looked over when a buff tattooed brunet flying on the trapeze caught my eye. Prior to moving to NYC, the lovely Dakota taught out of Xelias Aerial Arts (my aerial home in MSP) and was also on her way to the Chicago Circus Festival the next day, meeting up with the owner of Xelias, Meg. Meg was traveling down with head wire coach and my right-hand-man, Jonah. Meg’s daughter was also performing in the Girlie Show rocking her hoola-hoops. Check her out. It is with all of these relationships and so many more connections we had over the weekend that I’m reminded just how small the Circus Family truly is. It was a joy to watch our friends and family perform their hearts out and meet new friends all at the same time.
3. The Shows Inspire
The Girlie Show shot an arrow into my heart with acts in wire, burlesque, contortion, pole, web, hula-hoops and so much more. Beautiful performers with a top-notch MC off Broadway. Then there was Cirque Mechanic’s Pedal Punk. From that show, Jan Damm, gets my #1 weekend performer pick for his bring-us-to-our-knees-crying stationary bike race. This show differentiates with their inventive rigging and systems for the modern day circus.
With smiles on our faces, circles under our eyes and rips on our hands (and feet, legs, arms….basically everywhere) the show is back on the road. This festival is well positioned for many years to come. We'll be back. And, if you didn’t get there this year, make sure to check them out sooner next time by checking in here.
Looking forward to what the contemporary circus community comes up with next.