FYI Vol. II, No. 7

 Circus World Names New Director

The much traveled Scott O’Donnell has been named the new executive director of Circus World.  He was chosen from a field of 25 candidates.  He had previously served as Circus World’s operation manager from 2002 to 2005.  Prior to that he was a boss clown and talent manager with Ringling, a vice president and general manager with the Big Apple Circus.  He began his management career as producer with his former wife with the Vidbel Olde Tyme Circus.   He replaces Steve Freese who left the top post at Circus World  after a six-year run.

 

LAVA Takes a Turn in New Direction

From LAVA, the women’s circus company comes news that this fall the group begins its evolution  into a professional performance company and will be opening its performance space to partners with similar and aligned organizations.  “As the Brooklyn we moved into transforms itself daily, literally, we are grateful and appreciative of the special spaces we have created for artists, innovators, activists and families,” reports company founder and artistic director Sarah East Johnson.  For more information about the companies new thrust go to www.lavabrooklyn.org.

 

A New Circus with Familiar Talent Emerges in Texas

The Texas based Cirque Musica has announced an autumn tour of United States arenas.  The show will feature David Larible, who knows a thing or two about playing large venues and has spent the last several years in Europe with Circus Roncalli.  Its performance will be rounded out by a number of thrill and circus acts all of which will be accompanied by a full symphony orchestra.  Its website www.cirquemusica.com lists no personnel with circus background on the creative team, which is currently made up exclusively of musicians.

 

Another Try at Creating a Professional Circus School

The Circus Conservatory of America, a degree-granting college, would be the first tenant in a $100 million Portland, Maine development project.    Or at least it hopes to be.  The principal force behind this project is Peter Nielsen, a name unfamiliar to these pages.  If he can make it work, the school will be the first of its kind in the United States.

The newly formed conservatory intends to occupy a 33,000 square-foot brick building that it will convert  into a performing arts school where students will be able to earn a bachelor’s of fine arts in contemporary circus performance.

“This isn’t Ringling Brothers, we’re talking about,” says Nielson. “We’re not going to use animals.  The audience is going to be sophisticated and therefore willing to pay more, and the performers are going to be artist and incredible athletes.”  Judging from these comments the school intends, besides granting degrees, to be a performing arts center as well.

Nielson also points out,  correctly, that most such programs in the United States are part-time learning centers, mainly geared toward children and avocational activities.  To set the new program apart  from these  the founders are seeking accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. ( I thought you had to have a program up and running before it could be accredited. ) Current plans call for an enrollment of 120 students.

Nielson’s background includes a stint as executive director of marketing and enrollment for the Vermont College of Fine Arts.  He has also produced theatre, music, performance poetry, dance, and visual arts festivals.  Another founder Amity Stoddard has experience working with Circus Smirkus, the Big Apple Circus and Cirque du Soleil.

Portland, Maine was chosen as the site for the new school because “We felt Maine would know what to do with this,” Nielson concluded.

Meanwhile in San Francisco the Circus Center has lost both its executive director and Chairman on the Board, who were married at the time of their coup, but have subsequently divorced and departed.  Consequently the school is once again in a crisis of leadership as it begins looking for a new executive director.  In the meantime it has renameddubbed its monthly online newsletter with a French title.  What is one to make of that?

At the time of the last take-over Jan Rok Archard, who guided the circus school in Montreal to its pre-eminent position, made several suggests as to how the school might turn itself around, but none of his ideas were ever implemented.

 

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Two students of the Canadian National Circus School, Lindsay Culbert-Olds and Kia-Melinda Eastman, who also happen to be Americans, are among a group of nine young circus artists who have created a new circus collective,  which they are touring during the school’s summer break.  The two women began performing together with Circus Smirkus, but went their separate ways to different colleges before deciding to follow their passion and audition for the Canadian school where they are once again working as a duo on the trapeze  They have dubbed their new circus FAQ. The other co-founders are all circus friends and classmates.  Their mission is to establish an American contemporary circus, so that  similarly passionate young performers will not have to leave the country to secure first class training.  As a true collective their show was created without a director, each contributing to the final product.  More info at www.faqcircus.com

 

CDS Casting Info

The Casting Office of Cirque du Soleil reports that if there are no planned auditions for your discipline in your geographical area, you can apply online at any time.  Applicants are assured that applying online is an effective way of being evaluated by a casting team talent scout.  Applicants are advised that in order to be evaluated they must absolutely submit a complete application which includes a resume, C/V, photos, video, demos, etc.  For more information concerning what to include in one’s application based on your discipline, consult the casting office’s website at  cirquedusolei.com/en/jobs/casting/home.aspx

 

Getting All Twisted in Germany

One of the most unusal conventions will take place from September 9 to 11 in the German city of Bergisch Gladbach, near Cologne.
The ICC International Contortion Convention is coming back to Germany after many years of being held in Las Vegas.
Contortionists from all over the world, as well as pole acrobats, fans and trainers of the genre flexibility will meet again in this city in 2013.

For those of you who read Spanish here is an interest press release from Cuba.

Novedades del circo en Camagüey

Yanetsy León González /

Camagüey.- No espere al domador en la boca del león ni busque animales amaestrados, el circo hoy estimula mayores desafíos al cuerpo humano. Esa es una lección del espectáculo Circuba 2013, con su elenco de lujo por lo que sugieren los premios, ciertas miradas internacionales y su propuesta para el público.

En la “carpa” temporal del Palacio de los Deportes Rafael Fortún Chacón anima las dos funciones diarias el camagüeyano José Manuel Cordero, colaborador de Adelante en asuntos de ballet, y promotor incansable del arte circense, a quien se debe en parte el rescate de tradiciones en esta centenaria práctica cultural.

Hacía más de 22 años que la orquesta acompañante no recorría el país, incluso era una vieja deuda con el circo que en la sede nacional pudo saldarse el pasado año. La agrupación, premiada por el Golden Circus Festival 2013, de Roma, como parte de la celebración del festival en La Habana, dedicó su concierto en el Parque Agramonte al cumpleaños 500 de la ciudad. Con esa presentación en noche lluviosa abrió el Circuba veraniego.

Basta una rápida mirada a los componentes del show, para comprender las novedades y el entusiasmo que impulsa a los jóvenes muchachos, aunque entre ellos uno encuentra su excepción, como Fennis, un cincuentenario del Circo Areíto que impresionó al auditorio con su salto mortal en la onda aérea. El otro lugareño invitado es Osmani Maceo, avezado en los juegos malabares con balones.

El programa principal incluye números de lo tradicional a lo contemporáneo, propuestas antológicas con sello de actualidad como la de “Los chicos tropicales” en la barra rusa acrobática, muy seguidos por los empresarios del mundo, aseguró José Manuel.

Al ritmo, el color, el virtuosismo a toda prueba y la complicidad del público que logran esos integrantes de la Compañía Havana se suma la elegancia del dúo Acrodance, recientemente premiado en Circuba por la Universidad Mesoamericana de Puebla, debido a su fantástico número de equilibrio sobre un dedo y varios taburetes.

Por supuesto, no faltan los payasos con sus trastadas. Chori y Felipón lideran el espectáculo concebido para los niños en el Teatro Principal, escenario donde confluyen los camagüeyanos Florecita, Cebollita y el dúo Karisea. Este último recibió una mención especial en el 6to Concurso Internacional de Payasos Erwin Fernández in memoriam, y al decir de José Manuel, “están siendo bastante pillados por el Circo del Sol”. Para los pequeños también actúan los magos, las contorsionistas, el malabarista y el dúo mexicano Hermanos Parra-Tony, con su número de equilibrio.

De la tierra azteca, pero insertada al espectáculo de la Polivalente, es Azahalea con su sombrilla volante. Otros integrantes del elenco son los gimnastas de la Compañía Havana, diestros en las barras fijas con ranca en vuelo.

Aplausos y asombros ha logrado Circuba en Camagüey, señales de que el circo aun convoca, de que nacen artistas interesados en entretener con sus habilidades y sus riesgos, porque hay público que los espera.