FYI Vol. V – No. 8

Big Apple Circus Up For Sale. Potential Buyers Express Interest

According to a Wall Street Journal story filed by Jonathan Randles in late November, the Big Apple Circus has received expressions of interest in buying the organization that is plying its way through bankruptcy proceedings.

The circus’s lawyer, Chris Updike, told the court that he has received letters of interest from potential buyers, and the circus is open to receiving offers that would allow the show to go on. Updike also said the nonprofit organization is looking to secure an auctioneer.

The judge said Big Apple Circus could tap a zero-interest loan provided by the circus’s directors that would pay the bills while a team of professionals looks for a buyer for the organization’s intellectual property and equipment, including its big-top tent.

Aside from marketing its circus equipment and intellectual property, Big Apple Circus intends to sell its training and storage facilities in Walden, NY.

“The hope is that New Yorkers will see the Big Apple Circus performed in the city again,” Updike said following the hearing.

Registration Deadline Nears

The deadline to register for the Canadian National Circus School’s entrance examination is January 15, 2017.  Examinations will be held during the month of February in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.  Complete details are available at  or

Trapeze Twins Receive State and National Awards

The Vermont Art Council, in association with the State of Vermont’s Governor’s Office, has awarded the 2016 Walter Cerf Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts to Elsie Smith and Serenity Smith Forchion for their work in bringing circus to Vermont and expanding that vision to encompass a program that offers professional training as well as circus arts to all who are interested.  The award was made November 15 at the Putney School and was presented to the sisters by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.

The sisters, identical twins, specialize in aerial acrobatics as both performers and teachers. They have performed with Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Bros. and Barnum& Bailey Circus, the New Pickle Circus, Cirque Productions, and Cirque Le Masque. The sisters’ duo trapeze act was given a Special Prize at the Wuqiao International Circus Festival in China in 2007 and received a Bronze Medal at the First International Festival of Circus in Albacete, Spain in 2008.

In 2001, the sisters settled in Vermont and founded Nimble Arts, a production company that continues to offer performances and aerial teacher training around the world. Later, Nimble Arts added a professional training program for aspiring circus artists. In 2007, with the school growing quickly, they spun off the school portion of their company, forming the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) under the leadership of a not for profit Board of Directors. NECCA has since grown to be one of the most comprehensive circus arts training school in the United States, offering classes to recreational and professional students of all ages including a “Circus in the Neighborhood” program for at risk and disadvantaged youth and others unable to access the benefits of circus for financial or other reasons.

Smith and Forchion are adamant about sharing the accolades with the 50 plus employees of the circus school that draws students from around the world to train under their expertise and with the administrative leadership in the office.  “The kind of art we make is not made in a vacuum,” Smith said. “Circus needs people – and there are so many people who helped pave the path that has brought us to this point.”  She continued to thank the Board of Directors of the not for profit school for their tremendous visionary work, especially on the new custom trapezium building project, the first of its kind in the United States.  “A huge thank you to the team of people who stand behind the big project in our life right now; we are building the future of circus arts education on Putney Road in Brattleboro, the national center for circus in America. This campus will give us the creative capability to work with students of all aspirations, and give them the space, time and expertise to make circus art like we’ve never seen it before.”

At the September ground breaking, Governor Peter Shumlin said “This is a good business plan. This creates jobs, economic development, opportunity, but most importantly, it changes kids’ lives. . . Without the arts, we would not have the life we have in the state of Vermont.”

The 45 year-old circus artists who still manage to mix performing in between teaching and organizational leadership, were also recipients of the American Circus Educators (ACE) Excellence in Circus Education award given at the bi-annual conference held in San Francisco in September of this year.  Smith says she was ‘completely surprised’ at being pulled aside just before the announcement to be told she and her sister were the 2016 recipients.

A New Virtual Reality Experience from Hideaway Circus

 Hideaway Circus is crowd-funding a new circus and dance show designed specifically to be watched in virtual reality. In the coming months, Josh Aviner and Lyndsay Magid will be traveling all over the United States and Australia to shoot some of the world’s most amazing circus and dance acts in breathtaking outdoor locations. The 360 video experience will be comprised of five short scenes featuring different artists. The viewer, will be placed in the center of the action, watching the events with total control of where to look. They’ll see performers move above, in front of, behind, and next to them.

Ottavio and Naomi Gesmundo will be shooting crossbow arrows from 20 feet away over the viewer and through an apple on top of the camera– it’s an exhilarating experience that is only possible under the safe confines of virtual reality. The experience also features performances by critically acclaimed choreographers, Keone and Mari Madrid. They have started work on a new dance piece that can only be experienced in 360 degrees. A new Australian acrobatic troupe will perform dazzling flips, twists, and stunts all around the viewer; and comedian Spencer Novich will re-imagine his award-winning sound effects act with this new technology. There will be more casting announcements over the duration of this campaign. The collection of scenes will take the viewer on a fun, compelling journey around the world without ever having to leave the comfort of home.

Visit the Kickstarter Page: 

What is virtual reality and 360 video?

Immersive 360 videos also known as spherical videos are video recordings where a view in every direction is recorded at the same time, shot using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras. During playback the viewer has control of the viewing direction. It can be watched on a computer, smart phone, or virtual reality headset like Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear, HTC Vive, or Facebook Oculus. Recent advances in virtual reality headsets and 360 video cameras have opened up entirely new ways to record and watch live performances. Currently, the majority of 360 video experiences featuring dance and circus are recordings of preexisting shows, like our video from the opening scene of our current live production, SLUMBER. By using and modifying techniques learned on that project, they can create an experience designed for viewing in virtual reality from the start, and with the knowledge and ability to execute it.

Josh Aviner and Lyndsay Magid founded Hideaway Circus, a Brooklyn based circus and theatrical production company in 2015, after meeting at Columbia University. Josh and Lyndsay produced and directed SLUMBER, a slasher circus and dance show which premiered in New York City in the fall of 2016, and is now headed down under to the Adelaide Fringe Festival from February 16 to March 19, 2017. Time Out New York described the production as “contemporary, sexy, and a little bit dangerous.”

They also host the Hideaway Podcast, a weekly talk show on which they discuss the week’s circus and theatre news and chat with artists and entrepreneurs in the industry. Recently Josh and Lyndsay have been experimenting with virtual reality headsets, 360 camera equipment, and live circus performance. You can watch a 360 video experiment recorded live on Halloween during a performance of SLUMBER by clicking here.

About the Artists:

Keone and Mari Madrid are choreographers, dancers, and regular collaborators of Hideaway Circus. They have starred in Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself”, and videos including with Mark Ronson, Flying Lotus & Kendrick Lamar, a New York Times Square Billboard, So You Think You Can Dance, the Ellen Show, SKY a 3D musical, Dancing with the Stars and have been nominated for best choreography at the MTV Video Music Awards and the UK Video Music Awards, viral videos, multiple champions at major dance competitions, global dance instructors and more. Their choreography in SLUMBER was described by Time Out New York as “a kinetic blend of hip-hop and modern dance.”

Ottavio and Naomi Gesmundo are professional crossbow shooters and stunt artists with extensive performing credits that include The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, The Britney Spears Circus Tour, Spider-Man Live! At Radio City Music Hall & National Tour, Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde, Paris Television Show and the First International Company of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida Musical in The Netherlands.

Spencer Novich is an actor and clown. Spencer has performed in Cirque du Soleil’s KA as well as their internationally released film, Cirque du Soleil’s World’s Away. He competed in the 33rd Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain, where he was awarded the Medaille de Bronze, Moulin Rouge Prix and Cirque Eloize prix for his own creation. Other performing credits include “Vegas Nocturne” inside Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, “Fear & Delight” – an immersive dinner theater spectacle presented at the Brisbane Festival and the Garden of Undearthly Delights and most recently “Blanc de Blanc” at the Sydney Opera House.

More artists will be announced over the next two weeks of the Kickstarter campaign.



Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Schedules Cabin Fever Cabaret

The Bindlestiff Family has announced a partial winter residency at Club Helsinki, 405 Columbia Street, Hudson, NY. Shows featuring a new lineup of artists in each presentation will be given Friday, January 13, Saturday, February 18 and March 11,  showtime each evening is 9:00pm. Discounts will be given to clowns in make-up.  A special family matinee will be presented on  March 12 at 3:00pm.  For tickets and info: 518-828-4800.

The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Cabin Fever Cabaret presents world class circus, sideshow, vaudeville, burlesque, and variety artists in an intimate stage experience.


A Unique Opportunity to Become Immersed in All Things Circus.

The 10th annual Western Australian Circus Festival and the home of Lunar Circus Summer School will be held from the 27th – 28th of January 2017 in Karridale, Margaret River in the South West of Western Australia.  The event attracts over 90 performers from around the world.  It is a unique blend of world class circus, comedy, theatre, music and cabaret set in a magical circus environment in the heart of the Margaret River Region.  The festival is one of the few events that encompasses all ages and all genres of life.  It is fun, entertaining, participative and inspiring.  If you are interested in the Lunar Circus Show or any of our unique venues please contact is anytime.


If Not Australia How About Austria?

 The International Winter School of Physical Theatre will be held February 21-26, 2017 in the Retzhov Castle, Austria.  This residential program is open to dancers, choreographers, actors and contemporary circus performers working in various genres and styles, interested in the practical creative research of Physical Theatre as a bold, vibrant and multidimensional approach to contemporary performance. The school provides the fascinating and inspiring encounter of artists from diverse artistic backgrounds and techniques; creates the platform for exchange, network and collaboration in multicultural and multilingual artistic environment and encourages the artists to search for the universal “intercultural” language in contemporary performance.

The program includes intensive practical training and discussions guided by Sergei Ostrenko – Russian theatre director, choreographer and teacher, and Gennady Ostrenko – choreographer, movement director, theater artist, designer, painter.

During the lab participants will become acquainted with Ostrenko’s method of performer’s physical training and rehearsal, formed and inspired by the Russian Theatre Tradition, the methods of Stanislavsky, Meyerhold and Chekhov, along with Meyerhold’s principles of Biomechanics, Tai-chi for performers, training in improvisation, and scene composition from exercises to performance.

The working language is English.

Visit IUGTE PHOTO GALLERY for images of past programs.

To apply for participation, please fill in the online Application Form. If you have questions about this program, contact Participation fee is 450 EUR (early bird reduced fee) / 550 EUR. The fee covers participation in all events of the programme – practical training, lectures and discussions.

Accommodation for the participants is at the guest house of the beautiful 15th century refurbished Retzhof Castle in the landscape of natural beauty in Leitring bei Leibnitz, Austria. The group will stay and practice all together in the same venue. The group meals are also organized at Retzhof Castle restaurant.  Click here for transportation details, room information and prices.

 The official arrival day is Tuesday, February 21st from 13:00.