Ringmaster takes circus skills into schools
Circus art workshops
September 22: Intro to Ropes & Silks
Participants will learn to climb, invert in the air, and hang upside down using aerial silks and ropes.
September 23: Juggling & Acrobatics
Participants will be taught the fundamentals of juggling and the foundations of acrobatics. New and experienced students will learn to condition and stretch and learn the basics of handstands and tumbling.
September 24: Ropes & Silks
A short review of the introductory workshop with more focus on technique and short sequencing.
September 24: Everything & Choreography
Participants have the opportunity to use their new aerial, acrobatic and juggling skills. Collectively or individually they will be guided to create their own style.
Reserve a space at www.cirqlebda.com. Bundle $200. Individual workshops $75. Classes will be held between the Kinetix Berkeley studio and the new Kinetix advanced aerial studio on Union Street.
If you’re not into javelin, long jump or track and field, then physical education can be the toughest lesson in your timetable.
But Tara Cassidy is bringing circus arts to schools after discovering how much it did for her own wellbeing.
She and Kallie Marcus of Kinetix, Natural Movement Ltd have launched Cirqle, a circus arts collective aimed at fostering local talent and international collaboration.
The partners are gearing up to offer after-school classes in performance and illusion starting this autumn. They will also facilitate a three-day workshop from September 22-24, taught by Montana DeBor of Streetlight Circus.
Ms DeBor will introduce participants to aerial silks, corde lisse, aerial rope and juggling.
“I want to see circus arts at the forefront of artistic and physical education here,” Ms Cassidy said.
“It’s not just art; it’s not just a workout; it’s both. Had I had that when I was younger, my life would have been different.”
At the end of 2015, Ms Cassidy, owner of jewellery design and arts studio La Garza, was constantly run down. Battling a persistent cold, she was looking for ways to feel healthy.
On top of that, the artist and guitarist was having a hard time using her hands.
“I had a project where I was stuck in front of a computer for 16 hours a day and I got really bad carpal tunnel [syndrome]. I wondered what I could do to fix it and try to get healthy.”
Because she didn’t love traditional exercise, she sought inspiration online.
“I can’t exercise without it being an art,” she said. “I can’t do anything without it being artistically related. I watched a ton of videos and said, okay, these are the things I want to do,” she recalled.
She ordered an aerial hoop, contact juggling balls and a flow wand, commonly known as a levitation stick.
“I just started watching YouTube videos and had a natural inclination to it,” she said.
“I love all three of them and they have completely cured my carpal tunnel.”
The hoop is a daily ritual. It hangs in the middle of her St George’s studio.
In the two years, she’s seen improvements in back pain and is more active.
“To have an activity that is both artistic and physical has been of great emotional benefit to me. I’m way healthier as a result.”
She said her and Ms Marcus’s mission was “to bring cirque arts to the forefront of artistic expression and physical education to the island’s youth”.
“If you’re not into long jump, javelin or track and you want to do the Cyr wheel or you want to do Lyra [aerial hoop] — that should be an option,” she said.
“We want to create an inclusive environment that people can create freely in.”
The 31-year-old built La Garza with jewellery “upcycled” from Bermuda’s land and sea. She uses washed up shells, sand, fins and coral for her dramatic earrings and headpieces.
“When I was growing up, there was little to do and I found it all so painfully structured anyway,” she said.
“I wanted to express myself creatively but found I could only do that within a prescribed box. As a result, I’ve spent my adult life seeking out exciting forms of art and design, determined to make viable businesses from things I love to do.”
From its inception five years ago, Ms Cassidy has kept social and environmental sustainability at the core.
“We are an arts collective first and foremost,” she said. “Our mission is a social one but we recognise for that to be truly sustainable we have to maintain a viable business model.
“I’ve been obsessed with Cirqle for a while now, but teaching is even more rewarding than I expected.
“I want to set an example for kids and adults alike, proving there is value in the arts and successful careers are more than possible. I intend to broaden the collective with other fabricators and teach costumery workshops as well. I want to see more people making their own carnival costumes and for costumery to become as standard as kitebuilding in our culture.”
In addition to classes in aerial silks and illusion performance, Cirqle can be booked for aerial performances and “mesmerising illusory acts guaranteed to captivate audiences”.
Packaged travelling shows feature mermaids, stilt walkers, acrobats and fire dancers.
According to Ms Cassidy, the “end game” is trapeze.
“And having a real space to do more advanced circus arts, bringing in more and more international collaborations,” she added.
“We have a long list of people that we want to bring in — from contact juggling to aerial to cardistry; there’s a kid who does really crazy card tricks.
“The more community involvement and support we have, the more successful this will be. Whether it’s venue options, advance performance bookings, costume commissions, attending our workshops and classes or assisting us in scouting new talent, we welcome it.”
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