Workshop & Panel Descriptions

Anyone is welcome to observe workshops without signing up to participate. Sign up for workshops and panels here!

Acrobatics: Gamma Phi Circus
Gamma Phi Circus is the oldest collegiate circus in the United States founded in 1929. Gamma Phi Circus has performed for up to 7,000 people. Gamma Phi alumni are performing or working with several well-known circuses, including Cirque du Soleil, Circus Vargas, the Shrine Circuses, the Circus Kingdom, Roberts Brothers Circus, Kelly Brothers Circus, the Great American Circus, Circus Alleluia and The Runaway Circus.

Acro Sport is a form of group tumbling, balancing and pyramid building. Like most acts in Gamma Phi Circus, Acro sport develops teamwork and trust in between everyone involved in the act. It has been one of the oldest acts in our circus.

 

Act Development: Duo Rose

Duo Rose is a professional trapeze act originally from Chicago and currently based in Kassel, Germany. They have won 11 awards from various International Circus Festivals and have worked in German Varieté and circus for the last five years. Their past contracts have included performances in The Tigerpalast Varieté, Circus Roncalli, Apollo Variete, Flic Flac Circus, Kystalpallast Variete as well as being the first American circus act to perform in Havana, Cuba since 1959.

Come with an act or develop one in the workshop. The primary focus is the development of smooth transitions between skills and maximizing expression of character on stage.

 

Aerial Dance Choreography: Golde (Kathleen Golde)

This workshop explores how we create aerial dance performance. How do we tell stories from ground to air and moment to moment? What is the story we are telling? How does the way we move illuminate the story?  How does our work evolve from trick-to-trick, to transition-to-transition, to a moving story which moves our audience? Using the playground of aerial fabric, participants will learn vocabulary and techniques for creating compelling performance work.

Kathleen Golde is co-founder, Associate Artistic Director and resident choreographer of Buffalo Laboratory Theatre. Her directing credits run the gamut from the devised Breathe: The Laughing Project (Naropa LeCoq), to an all female Kindertransport (Buffalo Seminary). She is the Founding Dance Director of Music is Art Festival (with Robby Takac/Goo Goo Dolls), and co-creator of Hyper Movement Exploration, a rehearsal and training tool for performers. Golde co-created and performed work for Balasole (Dance Theatre Workshop, NYC), and, this year, was commissioned to create and perform aerial dance work for Cirque du Sabres! (Buffalo Sabres Ryan Miller’s Steadfast Foundation), GATSBY! (Summit Educational Resources), and the Annual All Star Gala(Roswell Park Cancer Institute). Also a teaching artist, she initiated and teaches the Aerial Arts programming at University at Buffalo and was the first person invited to teach Aerial Arts for New York State Theatre Educators Association.  Golde teaches theatre and aerial arts residencies nationally and internationally.

 

Aerial Partnering: Duo Rose

Duo Rose is a professional trapeze act originally from Chicago and currently based in Kassel, Germany. They have won 11 awards from various international circus festivals and have worked in German Varieté and circus for the last five years. Their past contracts have included performances in The Tigerpalast Varieté, Circus Roncalli, Apollo Variete, Flic Flac Circus, Kystalpallast Variete as well as being the first American circus act to perform in Havana, Cuba since 1959.

Aerial Partnering starts with the fundamentals of basing partners on aerial apparatus. We will teach proper form and technique for intermediate and beginner skills basing from legs and catch locks.

 

Clowning: Paul Miller

Paul Hallinan Miller is founder of Circus Mojo and recognized internationally as an expert in the growing fields of Medical Clowning and Social Circus. A former clown with the Greatest Show on Earth, Miller holds a degree in theatre from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and serves as an adjunct faculty member at CCM teaching Theatre Movement/Circus Skills.

Every culture has the jester, medicine man or the clown. Miller has assumed the archetypal role of the clown with gusto. The role of the clown is one of resilience and determination. Learn how to make your audience keep laughing with Pauly the Clown.

Pauly at Navy Pier in Chicago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfIRMpItNqw

 

Cyr Wheel: Gabe Gonzalez

Gabriel Gonzalez began his circus life with the Gamma Phi Circus at Illinois State University. He built his own Cyr wheel and joined the wheel act as Gamma Phi’s first Cyr wheel performer. Gabriel is very active within the wheel community, he recently served as a judge for the 2014 US National Wheel Open Championship and plans to compete next year. 

The Cyr wheel is an acrobatic device that consists of a single large, metal hoop. It is similar in some ways to a German wheel with the acrobat spinning inside the wheel while maneuvering around the stage.

Fire-Eating: Erik Kloeker

Erik Kloeker of the Pickled Brothers Circus has been eating fire for 10 years. He has traveled the globe exhibiting his circus talents across Europe, Asia, and North America. Erik and his older brother Travis Fessler recently became the World’s Fastest Fire-Eaters by extinguishing 43 torches each in just 30 seconds. Check out Erik’s accomplishments in the 2011, 2012, and 2014 Guinness World Record Books.

“Basic Fire-Eating Workshop”  (Limit 12 participants at $5 per person for supplies) This is an intense workshop not for the faint of heart. Fire-eating is dangerous and can result in serious burns even when performed correctly. Still reading? Seize a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn the secrets of fire eating as professional fire-eater Erik Kloeker shows you the basics of how to eat fire, including; torch construction, safety protocol, which fuels to use, and the basic extinguish. (Participants must be 18 years or older, you will be required to sign a liability waiver)

 

German Wheel: Wolfgang Bientzle

Wolfgang Bientzle started wheel at the age of six in Taunusstein, Germany. He became the most successful competitor and wheel performer. 8 World Champion Titles, 11 European, over 60 German National Titles, performing for Cirque du Soleil, Disney, NBA, NFL, NHL, Holiday on Ice, and more than 70 TV shows world wide. Besides his accomplishments as performer and competitor he has a Master degree of Sport Science of the Johannes Gutenberg University (Mainz/Germany), worked as director ,producer and choreographer for the Gymnastic Federation, Cirque du Soleil and other companies.

Try Wheel Gymnastics with the best in the world! German Wheel is a sport for everyone on different levels. Recreational, artistic, competitive.No previous experience needed. All you need is a pair of thin sneakers and comfortable sports clothes

Ground Skills Variety: Cirque du K

Cirque du K began in 2006 as a group of students playing out on the quad. They formed a unicycle club on campus and expanded slowly into a group of students who practice and teach a variety of skills including aerials. Every year the club performs a main stage show in the spring in Dalton Theatre on Kalamazoo College’s campus. The group has also performed at local art hops, the college Fall and Spring Fests, in the Radisson Hotel for conferences, and traveled to Ohio for a conference on higher education student activities.

If you’re looking to sharpen your skills, learn something new, or just play around, come visit Cirque du K for a juggling variety class, including diabolo, poi, juggling, and more!

 

How to Build a College Circus Club: Cirque du K

Cirque du K began in 2006 as a group of students playing out on the quad. They formed a unicycle club on campus and expanded slowly into a group of students who practice and teach a variety of skills including aerials. Every year the club performs a main stage show in the spring in Dalton Theatre on Kalamazoo College’s campus. The group has also performed at local art hops, the college Fall and Spring Fests, in the Radisson Hotel for conferences, and traveled to Ohio for a conference on higher education student activities.

Love circus, but don’t know how to get one started at your school? Come talk with Cirque du K, the circus club of Kalamazoo College, and learn the tricks of the trade to help bring circus to your campus.

 

Hula hoop: Amy Nash

Maximum Enrollment: 10 (more accepted if you bring your own hoop)

Amy Nash is a professional circus artist and performer who has performed hula hoop in traditional and contemporary circus shows across America and in Ireland with Circus Gerbola.

This hula hoop workshop will be built to suit the class’s average level. Class will start with a discussion on the different styles of hula hooping and how to incorporate them in your act. The group will receive new skills and vocabulary, choreograph a sequence, and be coached in developing their own, unique style. Participants are encouraged to bring their own hula hoops and are expected to come willing to learn and embrace bad puns.

 

Juggling: Donald Keme

Circus Mojo’s Togolese juggling coach, Donald Keme, has performed and taught circus skills for the past eight years. Donald has performed in thousands of shows for diverse audiences nationally and internationally. Just to name a few shows: Chicago Bulls Half-Time, The opening of Millennium Park in Chicago (2005), Willow Creek Church in Barrington, IL (2007), Chicago Cultural Center on Halloween events for Mayor Daley (2004-2008), and he has performed on TV countless times. His skills include juggling seven balls, five rings, five clubs, torches, and knives, plus unicycling, tumbling, the rolling globe and last but not least clowning.

 

Lyra: Kristi Taff

Maximum Enrollment: 8 for 2 aerial hoops
Kristi Taff is a NECCA and Gamma Phi Circus alumna and Trapeze School New York aerial coach. Kristi has been performing lyra for 4 years and focuses on dynamic and acrobatic movement on the hoop.

The workshop will begin with a group warm up, safety overview and quick level assessment. Skill building will be tailored to each individual’s level. New students will focus on proper form and basic skills. Intermediate students will work on developing skills, learning new skills as well as building some creative sequences. Advanced students we will work on building up to learning acrobatic moves such as drops and twists around the hoop. Wear protective layers and get ready to have some fun!

 

NECCA Panel: Amy Nash & Kristi Taff

Are you interested in a career as a professional circus performer? Cirque du Soleil’s Elsie and Serenity Smith–aka the Gemini Twins–founded The New England Center for Circus Arts (Brattleboro, VT). NECCA offers professional training programs to aspiring circus artists. If you are interested in attending or learning about NECCA and what a professional circus training program entails, this panel is for you!

2012 NECCA graduates, Intensive Track alumna Kristi Taff and Professional Track aluma Amy Nash are here to offer insight and advice through their experience, including the entrance audition. They will answer any related questions you may have in an interactive panel.

 

Silks: Sharon Alvarez-Miller

Sharon Alvarez-Miller has been working with Circus Mojo for three years. She learned silks in Mexico City and took workshops in Florida and Germany.

Sharon will be leading a beginner/intermediate silks workshop. In this workshop you will learn everything from climbing to graceful poses and daring drops (everything at your own pace). If you already do silks you will be able to learn transitions and additions for your tricks.

 

Straps: Shanaz King

Maximum Enrollment: 10
Shanaz started studying aerial arts at the Aloft Loft in Chicago in 2008 where she trained in solo and duo trapeze, lyra, and straps.  She currently trains at MSA & Circus Arts in Chicago focusing mainly on aerial straps. She has performed for El Circo Cheapo, Acrofabulous Circus, and for showcases at MSA & Circus arts.

Come explore the straps as we learn the basic wrist and arm wraps as well as movements that are fundamental in the art of aerial straps. We will work towards stability and comfort in the air while static and in motion. This workshop will also include conditioning and strength exercises that are key for straps training and beneficial as cross training tools for other aerial arts.

 

Stretching Techniques: Kristi Taff
Kristi Taff is a NECCA and Gamma Phi Circus alumna and Trapeze School New York aerial coach. Training flexibility and hand balancing at NECCA, Aloft Circus Arts and Escola de Circ Rogelio Rivel (Barcelona) she is currently performing contortion around the Chicago area.

Whether you dream of putting your feet on your own head, having flat splits or just looking to increase your flexibility for better movement quality, this workshop will introduce stretching techniques that will help you work towards your goal! This workshop will include partner stretching, resistance and active flexibility exercises. We will work on splits, hips, shoulders and back flexibility with a goal of participants gaining knowledge on both partner and individual stretching techniques they can continue to use in their future training. Students should dress warmly, bring plenty of water and be ready to bend!

 

Tightwire: Nena Woo & Gamma Phi Circus
Nena Woo performed tightwire with the Gamma Phi Circus and trained with professional artists from the Chicago area. Gamma Phi Circus is the oldest collegiate circus in the United States founded in 1929. Gamma Phi Circus has performed for up to 7,000 people.

The fine art of funambulism is brought to life in the Gamma Phi Circus. Our wire walkers leap, juggle, and stack partners and pyramids all the while balancing on a wire 5/8 of an inch thick. Learn basic and intermediate techniques of balancing on the tightwire with Nena and her alma mater, the Gamma Phi Circus.

 

Show Presence & Producing a Large Show: Gamma Phi Circus

Gamma Phi Circus is the oldest collegiate circus in the United States founded in 1929. Gamma Phi Circus has performed for up to 7,000 people. Gamma Phi alumni are performing or working with several well-known circuses, including Cirque du Soleil, Circus Vargas, the Shrine Circuses, the Circus Kingdom, Roberts Brothers Circus, Kelly Brothers Circus, the Great American Circus, Circus Alleluia and The Runaway Circus.

Lynn Coleman grew up performing with a foundation in gymnastics, dance, performance, Feldenkrais, and holds a BA in Leadership Development. With her family, she performed with Holiday on Ice and toured Europe and also flew trapeze professionally with the Shrine Circus. She has performed bungee trapeze, and aerial silks and has taught aerial workshops in the US and internationally. In 2011, Lynn created the first Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival for semi-professional aerialists. It was created with a circus spirit of innovation and discovery with the goals to inspire, connect, learn, and have fun!

Lynn Coleman and the Gamma Phi Circus will offer tips on show presence and performance techniques. The students of the Gamma Phi Circus are responsible for their own publicity, community outreach, costume making, rigging and safety. Together, Lynn and the Gamma Phi Circus will share their secrets on how to run a show and what it takes to prepare for thousands of audience members.

Working with Agents and Producers: Paul Hallinan Miller and Golde (Kathleen Golde)

Paul Hallinan Miller is founder of Circus Mojo and recognized internationally as an expert in the growing fields of Medical Clowning and Social Circus. A former clown with the Greatest Show on Earth, Miller holds a degree in theatre from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and serves as an adjunct faculty member at CCM teaching Theatre Movement/Circus Skills.

Kathleen Golde is co-founder, Associate Artistic Director and resident choreographer of Buffalo Laboratory Theatre. Her directing credits run the gamut from the devised Breathe: The Laughing Project (Naropa LeCoq), to an all female Kindertransport (Buffalo Seminary). She is the Founding Dance Director of Music is Art Festival (with Robby Takac/Goo Goo Dolls), and co-creator of Hyper Movement Exploration, a rehearsal and training tool for performers. Golde co-created and performed work for Balasole (Dance Theatre Workshop, NYC), and, this year, was commissioned to create and perform aerial dance work for Cirque du Sabres! (Buffalo Sabres Ryan Miller’s Steadfast Foundation), GATSBY! (Summit Educational Resources), and the Annual All Star Gala(Roswell Park Cancer Institute). Also a teaching artist, she initiated and teaches the Aerial Arts programming at University at Buffalo and was the first person invited to teach Aerial Arts for New York State Theatre Educators Association.  Golde teaches theatre and aerial arts residencies nationally and internationally.

This panel discussion addresses professional aspects of the business side (groan) of the entertainment industry. How do we as circus performers navigate these unclear waters? Our joint discussion will provide tools and strategies to stay safe, sane and positive, and, hopefully, avoid the slings and arrows of outrageous “professionals”.

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