CIRCUS INDUSTRY THRIVING AFTER WALLENDA WALK
According to Sarasota’s Herald-Tribune, Nik Wallenda’s walk across Niagara Falls was a huge winner. More than ten million viewers watched as the Sarasota native made his way across the wire. It was the most watched Friday night show on ABC since 2007.
For the first time in a very long time the paper also acknowledged the fact that Sarasota has been at best ambivalent about its circus heritage. (Not unlike the attitude in Baraboo, WI. See Steven Freese’s comment in Editor’s Fanfare.) Now the paper acknowledged that “The circus is an important part of our culture and a big business here in on the Suncoast.”
Sailor Circus’s summer camp opened on the Monday following the walk and had a packed house.
This day camp in circus arts for kids 6 to 15 is a sellout, attracting kids from all over the country, and Wallenda’s walk is a part of the draw.
“This renewed interest in circus that had lost some of its glitter in recent years is expected to pay off big time in Sarasota,” the paper asserted. “For one thing, it increased ticket sales at Circus Sarasota’s Summer Show that opens in the historic Asolo Theater in the Ringling Museum on Tuesday.”
It’s also expected to bring an increase in interest and an increase in paying customers at the Circus Museum of the Ringling Museum, to which Nik Wallenda donated the outfit he wore when he won a Guinness world record for the longest bike ride on the high wire,reported Circus Museum Curator Deborah Walk.
Howard Tibbals, founder and creator of the Tibbel’s Learning Center at the Circus Museum, says all this publicity is great, but Sarasota had better act now to take advantage of it. “I think the city needs to put some signs out on the road, Sarasota is the home of Nik Wallenda.”
Workshops in Physical Comedy Being Offered in New York City
Aspiring clowns and comics are invited to join members of the Drama Desk-nominated company Parallel Exit for a week of physical comedy training that promises to excite, inspire, and challenge. These sessions should prove useful whether you’re an actor, dancer, singer, or variety performer. The work is catered for you and your performance needs.
To Parallel Exit, physical comedy is an all-inclusive performance style, as subtle as a raised eyebrow or as broad as a floor-slamming pratfall. The company believes the art of silent storytelling – with a special focus on clarity – results in a highly effective performance.
The Intensive will cover: Character work, Comic timing, Body control and expression, Moving and dancing, with intention, Creating and developing material, Honing an act, Solo, duo, and trio roles and dynamics, Physical improvisation, Working with a musician and music
Come play with us! All levels welcome. The workshop runs Monday August 27 – Thursday August 30, 10am-6pm, and Friday August 31 – 12-8pm (including a special informal showing), at DANY Studios, 305 West 38th Street. Tuition: $750, Special Early Bird Rate: $600 (if sign up by June 30), RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot. Mark Lonergan, Artistic Directo, Parallel Exit, www.ParallelExit.net
Seven Fingers Involved in New Project that Could Come to Broadway.
Buried deep within the Arts, Briefly column of the New York Times was this fascinating tidbit about the proposed revival of the musical Pippin, which will be directed by Diane Paulus (currently represented by Cirque’s AmaLuna on tour and Porgy and Bess on Broadway). Paulus’ collaborators on the show will be the Canadian circus company Les 7 Doights de la Main (known in the U.S., simply as Seven Fingers. The revival is currently scheduled to play a preview in Cambridge, MA on Dec. 5-Jan.20,and if the reviews warrant, it will be moved to Broadway.
It has been many years since I saw the original starring Ben Vereen which was staged and choreographed by Bob Fosse, but thanks to the latter’s contributions the show did have a manic style that could very well be translated into circus, and with the direction Canadian circus and circus in general seems to be moving it would be a good fit for Seven Fingers, two of whose founders, Gypsy Snider and Shana Carroll are Americans coming out of the Pickle Family Circus.
Frequent Flyers Productions to stage 14th annual International Aerial Dance Festival
The festival will run from July 19 through August 11 in Boulder Colorado at The Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St. Telephone 303-440-7826.
Festival performances will be given Aug. 3 and 4 at 8pm and Aug. 4 and 5 at 2pm.
Featured artist will be Kevin O’Connor, from Ontario, Canada, whose Beginning and Intermediate Rope classes will explore different climbing principles and ways of finding rest in the air. These classes will bring a new approach to working on a vertical apparatus, while learning rope from this master teacher.
Other showcase artists include Laura Stokes from New Mexico, Jayne Bernasconi from Baltimore, Colleen McKeown and Amy Christian from Wise Fools, New Mexico, Susan Murphy from Georgia, Steven Hornsher and Gretchen Spiro of the Frequent Flyers company.
Auditons will also be held for the Frequent Flyer company as well as for Le Reve, the Las Vegas production at the Wynn Hotel and Casino. These will be held Aug. 5 at 9 am. at the Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance Studio. The auditions are open to experienced dancers and aerialists. Call 303-245-8272 to register for the auditions.
For more info go to www.frequentflyers.org
Helping Those in Need
A little known but important charity has assumed the mission of assisting show people with age or health problems in their search for affordable housing in Southwest Florida. Its goal is to obtain property and establish a community where show people can live and share their tradition. This is similar to the retirement home funded by Actor’s Equity, which makes a special pitch from the stage of every Broadway show during the Christmas season for donations. Circuses might consider doing the same for this charity whose chairman is Father Jerry Hogan, National Circus Chaplain. The group’s title is The Circus and Traveling Shows Retirement Project. (CATS for short.) It is a non-profit organization so all donations are tax deductible. The Project’s address is P.O. Box 361 Tallevast, Florida, 34270. Email email@example.com