The Carolina Circus Symposium is in a beta testing mode this year to determine if there is a need for this type of gathering of circus artists in the U.S. and the world.
The Symposium aims to share information, stimulate awareness and engage professionals in the educational and performing careers of circus arts.
The participants will investigate topics of professional performing, dance education, community engagement, social circus, school / studio organization, labor and insurance laws, marketing, and any relevant topics.
$50 per 1.5-hour workshop
$100 per 3-hour workshop
Lunch n learn - FREE!
$20 per class
Please note: You will be able to view the class but the teacher will not be able to view you.
All in person students and virtual audit students will received a recording of the virtual audit.
To sign up:
Click the Registration site VAMP
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From the Main Menu, under Classes and Registration, choose Register for Carolina Circus Symposium 2021
Choose your desired workshop or workshops
Select your Payment Method and click Submit
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Symposium Class Descriptions
Applied Swing, Revolution, and Spin physics for aerialists
This class is designed to teach aerial arts concepts like spin & revolution physics, pendulum theory, and inversion mechanics using principles you probably learned in high school, but in a fun and highly interactive science museum style.
Beat Theory (multiple apparatus)
This workshop is all about making connections and finding our rhythm. We will be analyzing fundamental dynamic technique on a variety of apparatus (bars and vertical) to develop an understanding of how beats work and how we can use them to travel up, under, or around our apparatus. The aim is to demystify all that floaty beat technique that looks so fun!
Prerequisites: good stamina, straight leg inversion, a strong two-handed hang in good form, and a basic understanding of beat pathways on your chosen apparatus.
Middle Split Ministry
This workshop sets its sights on the peach. We will focus on the preparation, strength, and mobility for splitting like a boss. Both instructive and experiential, students will come away with a better understanding of their individual hip limitations, as well as strategies to continue to progress at home in their pancakes & middle splits. This workshop pulls from the latest mobility research to provide a blueprint for a productive and safe active flexibility practice. Find depth that you have never experienced before in your middles.
There are no prerequisites for this workshop.
Equipment: peanut, 2 yoga blocks, light resistance band or miniband, foam roller
Links to equipment:
Applied Balance, Counterbalance, and Leverage physics for ground acrobats
This class is designed to teach ground acrobatics concepts like center of mass, base of support, physical leverage, and physics of falling, principles you probably learned in high school, but in a fun and highly interactive science museum style.
Unlocking the Act Creator
Using your head, heart, gut and technical skills, William Forchion will share with participants how to take what you have and create engaging stories. William has performed with Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Bros. and Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit. This is a unique opportunity to create in new ways.
Teaching Aerial Dance as Dance Class
Over the past year, Caroline Calouche has changed the style of her aerial dance classes to align more with a dance class. The results with her students are astounding!
Vertical Drop Theory
This workshop is for students that want a more complete understanding of drops, rather than simply memorizing the wraps and “squeezing everything” before letting go. In this workshop, you will learn how to control your rotations as well as understand the wraps in order to build your own.
Pre-requisites: Must be able to climb and invert in the air on either side of the fabric as well as double crochet. It is helpful to know a front salto and star.
Release the full potential of your silly inner self. Clowning 101 will lead participants on a journey of discovery into the silly and serious sides of the clown. William Forchion has been an arena clown with Ringling Bros. and a hospital clown with the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit and everything in between. With over 30 years of professional performing experience and slightly fewer years teaching clowning, William has a wealth of knowledge to pass along.
We will put together creative transitions while exploring Lyra Threading to build a fun sequence with your aerial hoop. The goal is to inspire creativity and give you a movement phrase to expand on. *Please note, this workshop moves fast and will incorporate spinning.*
A notebook or camera is recommended for this workshop, anything that you can use to take notes and/or record your progress.
Prerequisites: Intermediate-advanced aerialists who are well versed in aerial hoop and comfortable with spinning.
This workshop explores shoulder mobility and stability for overhead movers like aerialists and handbalancers. Both instructive and experiential, students will come away with a better understanding of their individual shoulder, upper back, and neck limitations, as well as strategies to stay safe in their practices. Drawing from somatic, myofascial, corrective exercise, rehabilitative, strength training, and flexibility methods, this workshop pulls from the newest research to provide a blueprint for circus shoulders.
There are no prerequisites for this workshop.
Equipment: peanut, 2 yoga blocks, stretching strap or heavy mini-band, light resistance band, light mini-band (optional)
Links to equipment:
Handstand Handiwork on Dance Trapeze
Prerequisites: straddle inversion in the ropes & 10-second handstand against a wall.
Equipment: socks, foot coverings, or chevs
Connecting the Ground to the Air
This workshop seeks to explore the infinite possibilities of connecting, joining and intertwining the terrestrial and aerial worlds. Investigate and find transitions that lead us to defy gravity and have fun on the process.
There are no prerequisites for this workshop. You can chose the apparatus that you prefer to work with.
Julianne Bierwirth is a handbalancing, partner acrobatics, and pole instructor based in Athens GA. Nine years ago Juli began her circus career training, teaching, and catching for the flying trapeze. Shortly thereafter she began her training in hand balancing and partner acrobatics, and pole. She is particularly passionate about breaking down complex movements into reliable and predictable physical principles. When movements become predictable in theory they become safer (and faster to learn) in practice, so Juli uses applied physics not only during teaching, but also to model risks, spotting, and biomechanics of novel stunts for herself and her colleagues. Juli primarily teaches at Canopy Studio, but she also teaches and performs around the US and internationally.
Caroline Calouche, CC&DC Director, has taught contemporary dance, Pilates, Gyrokinesis and ballet at UNC Charlotte, Winthrop University, The Belmont School of Ballet, Gaston Dance Theatre and The School of North Carolina Dance Theatre. Her dance and fitness teaching background has allowed her to become a sought after aerial dance instructor. Not only has Caroline developed a safe method and syllabus of teaching Aerial Silk, Sling, Trapeze, Lyra, Corde Lisse and Spanish Web, she is able to teach students how to incorporate floor work with their apparatus to seamlessly move from the ground up and back again. With her strong anatomy and physiology background, Caroline focuses on proper alignment in the air and on the ground to prevent injury and promote efficient movement. Caroline’s aerial and dance training is diverse. In the air, she has worked with Juliana Hane, Nicole Merman, Elsie and Serenity Smith, Christine van Loo, Caroline Wright, Jamie Hodgson, Tanya Burka, Cheetah Platt, Kevin O’Connor, Allie Cooper, Nancy Smith and Susan Murphy. While on the ground, Caroline’s influential teachers range from Leah Cox (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company), Elizabeth Corbett (Forsythe Composition), Libby Farr (Ballet), Andrew Harwood (Contact Improvisation), Fernando Bujones (Ballet), Elizabeth Gillaspy (Ballet), Susan Douglas Roberts (Contemporary), Brenda Daniels (Modern Dance) to name a few on an endless list of amazing teachers!
Gena DuBose is a movement artist, aerial hoop coach, and the founder of SOAR Aerial Dance. Aerial arts, specifically Lyra, have been her passion since 2009. Though Gena is not a classically trained dancer, she has a natural athleticism that she uses to bring her own style of movement and grace to her artistry. She has spent over 10 years navigating her path of creativity with a focus on physical awareness, movement capabilities, and how they pertain to the human body. After gaining certifications in STOTT Pilates, Power yoga, Ashtanga yoga, and personal training, she began to apply the skills she learned to her aerial practice.
Gena has worked with many artists and dance educators to help perfect her aerial skill set. She’s been lucky to have her mentors and coaches; Boleyn Willis-Zeger, Rachel Strickland, Shannon McKenna, and Lori Hernandez, each one helping refine her techniques and patience. Through their guidance, Gena’s passion as a coach continues to grow.
Her performance work with SOAR Aerial Dance focuses on collaborating with professional, local artists to bridge the gap between aerial dance and performance art in her community, telling honest stories along the way.
William Forchion―Director, Producer, Poet, Clown, Acrobat, Stuntman, Father, Friend, Minister, Coach, Writer, and Teacher, all in one package. He is fueled by his desire to inspire and entertain. William Forchion creates art that connects audiences, to promote emotional, spiritual, and mental growth. William is the author of “Billosophy: meditations on God, movement and miracles”, “Sacred & Sacrosanct: a collection of poems” and his latest project “#ApoemAday” a year-long project of daily poems. William hosts and produces the “Billosophy101 podcast and the Billosophy101 vlog on the Billosophy101 YouTube channel. William grew up in Hammonton, NJ where life on a farm nurtured his creative imagination. In 2017 William was selected to be a U.S. State Department cultural exchange Ambassador for the Arts making two trips to Turkmenistan. William was summer camp Director at Circus Smirkus 2019 - 20 William, the proud father of 3 beautiful children, has called Brattleboro, VT home since 1998.
Jessica John (she, her), a CIA analyst turned circus artist, choreographer, and coach is a curious cataloguer and refiner of human movement. Based out of Corvallis, Oregon, Jessica is the founder of Circus Mobility, online performance coaching for aerialists, polers, dancers, and other artistic athletes with big technical, artistic, and flexibility goals. As a coach, Jessica believes that foundational strength and mobility are the underpinnings of full movement expression. She uses her skills as a GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Trainer and movement analyst to push performers beyond their perceived limits while working out of pain and movement restrictions. She is the founder and director of award-winning feminist circus, dance, and contemporary performance company Alter Circus.
Carolina Quirós Otárola, began her dance life at age 6 at the Conservatory of Castella in Costa Rica taking classes in ballet and creative movement. She graduated from this institution in 2005 with a Bachelor in Media Education and a Medium Art Technician with an emphasis in Dance- Ballet and Piano. She graduated from the School of Dance at the National University of Costa Rica. She has danced professionally with the National Dance Company of El Salvador and "Metamorfosis" directed by Sol Carballo Bolaños, where she developed as a dancer and aerialist. She now lives in Mooresville with her husband and two children.
Elise Thea is an aerial originator with a stunning stage presence who blends circus, dance, and theater into compelling acts. She is most often seen on her specialty aerial apparatus, the aerial halo, but also creates art on fabric, hoop, trapeze, and chains. Her aerial work draws upon her extensive dance experience, which includes modern, ballet, Bharata Natyam, and various forms of African dance, as well as her theatrical training. Although she fell in love with birds while getting her B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College, she decided to first take flight herself and attended the New England Center for Circus Arts ProTrack program. A versatile artist, she has filled the Alamodome in San Antonio with her stage presence, entertained lively crowds from bar tops in San Francisco and Chicago, and performed with grace befitting her audience at the distinguished Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Elise’s signature acts include unique, character-driven choreography with strong musicality, whether it’s to classical music or Jimi Hendrix. She has performed as a soloist, in an ensemble, and for some lucky audiences, as one half of Forever Marzipan - the dazzling, dynamic duo with a mean comedic streak. From black box theatrical productions to ballroom gala glitz, Elise brings impeccable professionalism to her work both on and off stage. Currently based in the DC area, she enjoys walking her cat, bird watching, and creating small crafts to please her aesthetically driven heart.