Spring is here! The birds are singing, the aerialists are swinging, and around the country it seems like everyone is gearing up with new acts, new skills, and new shows.
We've got a slew of events to share coming up, some sad news, behind the scenes snaps from WOW, and an interview with Damian Gordon about touring his family show, Circus Aotearoa.
TE AUAHA CLOSES IT'S CIRCUS COURSE
Image of student Bri McCormack at Te Auaha's opening ceremony.
As most of you are aware, Whitireia/Te Auaha have announced the circus dance course will be closing.
This is of course a huge hit to the industry as a whole and a decision that was not taken lightly by the administration there. During the decision process Whitireia was presented with many letters of support from not only the circus sector but the wider arts community which illustrated their support as well as the need for a tertiary level course in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The decision was a financial one and is a symptom of larger organisational problems which will undoubtedly come out in due course as there has now been a commissioner appointed to Whitireia for an enquiry.
What is does mean is that there will be no intake of first years for 2019, however there will still be the second and and third year programs running in 2019 as Whitireia would like to honor their commitment to the existing students.
Although this chapter of tertiary level circus education is finishing we believe that is presents opportunities to create something stronger that has the potential to stand alone in the future.
Natasha Halliday, one of the original students on the course writes about her experiences on our blog here.
ANZCA would like to acknowledge the hard work and determination by Deb Pope. The work she has done has helped many circus artists on their journeys and her dedication to circus in Aotearoa/New Zealand is unwavering.
Students Georgi Curran and Rama Tapp in Sawdust.
... BUT IT'S STUDENTS GET TO PERFORM IN WoW!
Image courtesy of www.worldofwearableart.com
Whitireia/Te Auaha Circus students have been working alongside circus industry professionals (including our own Chair Eve Gordon) to create a magical spectacle for this 30th year anniversary show of WOW in Wellington. The shows director Malia Johnston is intent on providing opportunities for and engaging with local groups and institutions. The circus students are part of that for the first time this year. With amazing guidance from Rosalie Ducharme as circus choreographer they've been entertaining the masses of people who are flocking to Wellington for the iconic show.
Students have been involved in Pre-show character work as well as acrobatic work on stage. Here's a sneak preview of the rehearsals for the 'Reflective' section of the show.
Currently preparing for their 10th year of touring, Circus Aotearoa has provided the vital training platform for many of New Zealand's current performing professionals, and continues to provide those same chances for the next round of aspiring aerialists, acrobats, and equilibrists.
The man behind the big top, Damian Gordon, and his family have been up and down the country with their traditional touring tent show. Damian was kind enough to answer some questions for ANZCA about how it all comes together.
What compels you to tour, rather that setting up shop in a fixed location?
Touring. It’s what circus does, and needs to do, to continue earning a living for us and the crew we travel with. It is great to take the circus and a crew around these beautiful Islands of ours, making it accessible for every audience, while keeping the traditions of a touring tented show alive in Aotearoa.
You're coming up on a decade of touring. How have audiences shifted and changed since Circus Aotearoa started?
We haven't noticed a big change in them over our 10 years. What we do notice is the regional and geographic differences in the ways they react to the show, and which acts get the most response.
ICOPER International Code of Practice for Entertainment Rigging
As ANZCA has done with it's best practice guide "Rosin Socks, Full Release and the Flash & Gather", a group of rigging experts from around the world have got together and put together an International Code of Practice for Entertainment Rigging.
It is a very interesting read with some very useful information that can be referenced for circus rigging. Although there is little in the way of human rigging in the code, ANZCA will be creating a reference that can be used for circus in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
To prove to the wider community that circus is vital, growing and needs support we need statistics about who we are, how were getting by and how many of us are practicing!!
One of our big tasks across the next 12 months is to complete a census of circus practitioners in Aotearoa.
If you are the type of person who has skills in this area or knows someone who does; please get in touch with Eve Gordon asap.
or find her on FB
UPDATE: SHARES FOR SHARED SPACE WENT OFF
Partner Acrobatics New Zealand, React Studio, Touch Compass Dance Trust, NZ Stunt School and Ludus Magnus are all joining the Dust Palace in their endevour to create a shared model facility for Auckland. The share sales reached their target in less than three weeks, showing a massive amount of support from within the Auckland community. Sharing the space will allow smaller companies a space to train and hire for rehearsals at affordable rates, ideally enabling the sector to grow from the ground up.
The whole community was astounded at how many people were behind this project and The Dust Palace now has a number of life-time members!!
As part of the process in developing a larger facility The Dust Palace have developed and are just about to launch a comprehensive teacher training program.