On the weekend of March 4th and 5th, I was honored to share a stage with some veteran as well as many very promising young circus artists. I travelled to Brattleboro, Vermont, where the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) presented two performances of a delightful Circus Spectacular Gala and invited me to host as the ringmaster for both shows. Serenity Smith Forchion and Elsie Smith, the founders of NECCA, brought together a fabulous and diverse group of performers, from hand balancers to rola bola masters. They came from far and wide, from Canada to Tennessee, and all of the performers were somehow affiliated with the NECCA school as teachers or professional trainees. Enjoy some photographs of the acts in action below:
Photo from NECCA’s Facebook page
The Circus Spectacular, performed at the vaudeville gem Latchis Theater, was a gala to raise money for a new building under construction for the school, as NECCA’s popularity grows and their facilities expand. I was happy to participate in this wonderful venture! And what a blast, to spend a few days onstage and backstage with these performers.
The acts included NECCA’s Advanced Youth Performance Troupe opening the show with a charivari, Alicia Dawn on the cloud swing, Jan Damm & Ariele Ebacher’s eccentric partner acrobatics act, and Liv Morrow on aerial straps. Jan Damm reappeared in the second half on his rola bola, along with Molly Graves on aerial rope, “Kinetic Kristin” Leophard performing on the cyr wheel, with Ariana Ferber Carter, a Vermont local, sharing her contortion act. Mario Diamond, a mime from Quebec who has performed on five continents, had two performance slots in the show. They were true circus folk, who had performed with such companies as Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey, Cirque Eloise, Cirque du Soleil, the Bindlestiff Family Circus, the New Pickle Circus, and Vermont’s own Circus Smirkus. Troy Wunderle, the Artistic Director of Circus Smirkus, performed a beautiful version of the breakaway bike (you might remember this act from Justin Case at the Big Apple Circus). Rounding out the performances were hand balancer Marieke Dailey, Doug Stewart on aerial rope, a juggling duet by Tony Duncan & Melissa Knowles, and the identical twin sister and co-Artistic Directors Elsie and Serenity on double trapeze.